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Shemar Moore leaves ‘Criminal Minds’ after 11 seasons

LOS ANGELES, March 24 (UPI) — Shemar Moore, who spent the last 11 seasons of CBS’ Criminal Minds as FBI agent Derek Morgan, is leaving the show.

Wednesday night’s episode, “A Beautiful Disaster,” marked Moore’s final appearance on the drama alongside Matthew Gray Gubler, Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna, A.J. Cook and Kirsten Vangsness.

“To my homies, to my fans, to my baby girls: Cry if you have to, scream and yell if you have to, smile, smile, laugh, celebrate,” Moore, 45, said in a video statement to audiences Wednesday.

“This is not goodbye; this is goodbye to this part of a dream, this chapter. I’m not going anywhere. You guys haven’t gone anywhere,” he continued. “Without you, my dream is not possible. I can dream all day everyday, but I can’ t make it work unless you support me, unless you root for me, unless you watch me and you believe in me… With whatever success I may have, it means nothing unless I inspire others. So whoever you are, I’m just like you.”

Showrunner Erica Messer also released a statement on Moore’s departure, saying her team is “sad to say ‘see you later,'” to the popular character.

“It was definitely a surprise that he wanted ‘To leap,’ as Shemar said, ‘to try new things.’ For those reasons, we have nothing but love and respect for him and his choice. But it doesn’t mean we can’t also be really, really sad,” she wrote.

The cast of the show also appear in another clip discussing what they will miss about Moore as he moves on from the crime drama. Actor Gubler likened him to an older brother, a friend he would have never met without Criminal Minds.

“The special thing about family is a lot of times…[they are] people you wouldn’t necessarily hang out with in real life,” he said. “I feel like with Shemar I never in a million years would have met him because I don’t lift a lot of weights.”

The final three-episode story arc centered on Derek Morgan was a group effort behind the scenes, with Kirsten Vangsness co-writing the script, and directed by Thomas Gibson, Joe Mantegna and Matthew Gray Gubler respectively.

Messer also hinted at the finale of Criminal Minds, assuring fans the show will remain strong despite the absence of Moore’s Agent Morgan. “The surprising finale will leave you knowing our fight for good has only just begun,” she said.

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