Are you OK, "Criminal Minds" fans/baby girls? Shemar Moore (Derek Morgan) just shocked and saddened a lot of fans by exiting the CBS show after 11 years. In post-episode exit interviews, the actor explained why he decided to leave the show, and CBS shared the most moving video message from Shemar to his fans:
You can see the tears in his eyes as he says a very earnest, heartfelt farewell:
"Cry if you have to. Scream and yell if you have to. Smile. Smile. Laugh. Celebrate. This is not goodbye, this is goodbye to this part of the dream, this chapter. ... Without you, this dream is not possible. ... I adore you for believing in me. Thank you for letting me bring Derek Morgan to life for 11 seasons. Thank you for watching. Thank you for Baby Girl Nation. Thank you for supporting MS and helping me and my mom and millions of other people. I've had a ball. So this party might be ending with me in it, but I promise you, I'm gonna throw another party and I'm gonna invite all of you..."
Here's just the start of Shemar's interview with TV Guide, with details on the final episode and his explanation on why this is the end (for now):
Was this your decision? Was it mutual with the network and [showrunner] Erica [Messer]?
Shemar Moore: Erica said she was so tired of looking at me. She was tired of me being late in the morning. She's was like, "You've got to get the hell up..." -- no, I'm kidding. [Laughs] My mother sends me these great cards. ... She gave me this one card and I'm looking at it right now and it says, "Leap and the net will appear." That's what she did her whole life. She thought outside of the box and she never got too comfortable because she wanted to continue to grow. There's been other people in my life who are like that too. I don't want to be ordinary. I don't want to follow. I want to be bold and I want to see what I'm capable of. So yes, it was my decision.
I've treated my acting career like school. The Young and the Restless: eight years. [That was] high school. Criminal Minds: college. Now I'm ready for grad school, a Ph.D., whatever you want to call it. I'm just ready to grow. I just want to leap. And I don't know where I'm going to land, but I believe that I'm going to land. ... I'm not leaving to go be a big star. I'm not leaving to go make a bunch of money. ... I'm leaving because I just creatively want to be fueled and [am] excited to try new things and see what else I'm capable of. But I'm always going to look back and salute. They did not kill me on The Young and the Restless and I went back to say hello and thank the fans. Erica Messer refused to kill Derek Morgan. Those elevator doors closed. Am I going to sign a long-term contract? Probably not. But if they ask me to come back and dance, yes, I would be willing to do that. [But] not right away.
Read the full interview.
CBS has a whole "Farewell to a Hero" page set up for Derek/Shemar fans, with messages from the cast and other walks down memory lane.
What's next for Baby Girl Nation? Good question. Here's more on that:
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