Why Did Derek Morgan Leave Criminal Minds? Where is Shemar Moore Now?

Portrayed by Shemar Moore, Derek Morgan is an important character in ‘Criminal Minds’ (2005-2020). In the series premiere, Morgan is introduced as a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. For the next 11 seasons, Morgan is a source of strength and reliability for a group of people investigating some of the most heinous crimes in America. A former Chicago police officer, he is an exceptional investigator and serves as an elder-brother figure for Spencer Reid. Shemar Moore exited the main cast of ‘Criminal Minds’ in season 11 but continued to appear in a guest role in the next three seasons. If you are wondering why Moore is not part of the revival series, ‘Criminal Minds: Evolution,’ here is what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD,

Why Did Derek Morgan Leave Criminal Minds?

In season 11 of ‘Criminal Minds,’ Morgan gets abducted by Chazz, one of the most influential mob bosses in Europe and the father of assassin Giuseppe Montolo who was killed by a fellow assassin while in custody.

Morgan eventually manages to get away and discovers his girlfriend, Savannah, is pregnant. Something changes in Morgan after this. Following the birth of his son, Morgan quits the BAU to be with his family.

In 2016, after his departure from the main cast, Moore told E! News that his need for balance in life and the desire to see what other possibilities for him is out there led to this decision.

“I can answer that in two ways,” Moore elaborated. “There was no plan until the beginning of season 11. For a couple years, there was a feeling. And I had the same feeling when I was on ’The Young and the Restless.’ I say this a lot: I treat my acting career like school. ’The Young and the Restless’ was high school. I knew I needed to evolve and graduate. And then ’Criminal Minds’ has been college. And I just feel that I needed to evolve and graduate. So now I’m going to go to grad school or whatever you want to call it.”

Moore continued, “I’d been talking to [showrunner] Erica Messer and some of the executives and producers and let them know that I’m just starting to feel this itch. I’d seen other actors out there in the business getting these opportunities that I would love a chance. What I’m fighting for in my life, and more specifically in my career, is that shot. I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished, but I want to take another step. I’m just hungry like that. I want to see what else I can do.

Initially, Moore thought Morgan would be killed off, but Messer assured him they would not do such a thing. She promised Moore that he would get to embrace the team and then walk off into the sunset. “She [Messer] wanted to know the heart of Derek Morgan, what I felt was important after 11 years of being Derek Morgan, what were the poignant messages we wanted to send in [episode] 18, so we brainstormed. And she wrote a draft, and wrote a draft, and wrote a draft, and it became ‘A Beautiful Disaster,’” Moore explained.

Where is Shemar Moore Now?

Since his departure from ‘Criminal Minds,’ Moore has been quite busy. He has lent his voice to the superhero Cyborg for multiple DC straight-to-video animated films, including ‘The Death and Return of Superman’ and ‘Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.’ In 2019, Moore reprised the role of Malcolm Winters in ‘The Young and the Restless.’ He also plays Randall in ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2.’ However, Moore’s most prominent work since ‘Criminal Minds’ has been ‘S.W.A.T.,’ the CBS procedural action drama in which he portrays Sergeant II Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson Jr. The character was previously played by Steve Forrest in the 1975 namesake TV series and Samuel L. Jackson in the 2003 namesake film.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Moore reflected on whether he would join the cast of the revival series. “Would I go back to ‘Criminal Minds’ and flirt with my baby girl, and chase down UnSubs? Sure, alright. But Hondo kinda busy, is all I’m saying,” the actor stated.

Read More: Why Did Matt Simmons Leave Criminal Minds: Evolution? Where is Daniel Henney Now?