Post Mortems
Criminal Minds Shemar Moore Leaving

Criminal Minds Boss on [Spoiler]'s Exit, Who's Hit Hardest and Filling the Void

In the wake of this week’s monumental episode of CBS’ Criminal Minds, you’ve got questions (that perhaps were not already answered here), and TVLine has rounded up answers.

Just hours after Derek Morgan bid a heartfelt adieu to his fellow BAU team members, I spoke with series boss Erica Messer about orchestrating original cast member Shemar Moore‘s exit, which character will be hit hardest by Derek’s absence and who might ultimately fill that vacancy on the team (and when).

WANTED DEAD… OR ALIVE? | Messer echoes Moore’s own telling of the story, about how from the moment he gave notice, she was “pretty adamant” about not killing off Derek. At that early stage, though, “We didn’t even have [the episode] ‘Derek’ on our radar yet,” let alone a three-episode arc. At first blush, Derek was to be written out in this season’s 11th episode (versus the 18th), but Matthew Gray Gubler’s several-week absence from the show dictated that that episode be Reid-centric. Soon after, it was decided to wrap the farewell arc around the series’ 250th episode — and again, Derek’s mortality was never in doubt.

“Because we killed Gideon [off-screen] last year, I feel like at a certain point these heroes who have been doing this for 11 years might be like, ‘You know what? I don’t wanna die next. I’m gonna hang it up.’ Hotch lost Hayley and he’s still walking strong, and Gideon had walked away from the job a long time ago. But if Derek Morgan died in the line of duty, you start questioning, ‘Is this how I want to go?'” Plus, of course, “It’d be great to have him guest star” in a future episode a la former series regular Paget Brewster, whose Emily Prentiss resurfaces next week to, in small part, offer her very unique perspective on Derek’s decision.

WHO WILL BE HIT HARDEST? | While Penelope “Baby Girl” Garcia will of course be a bit lost without Derek at the office, Messer says that Reid will be equally discombobulated, as indicated during Wednesday night’s round of farewells. “There’s that shot of when JJ and Morgan are saying goodbye, and when you see Reid having witnessed that, you make a sad face,” the showrunner notes. “Losses effect Reid in a different way than everybody else, because those connections are so strong with him.” Here, barely a year after Gideon’s death, “Reid is probably rationalizing in his brain that Derek’s not gone forever in the way that Gideon is, but, ‘He’s still a person in my day-to-day life that wont be here anymore.’ When he said, ‘I dont know what this room looks like without you,’ theres something really real about that.”

WILL DEREK BE REPLACED? | Messer says the decision was made “a while ago” to not add a new BAU agent during this season’s final four episodes, but “let the team actually move on and sort of find their new groove without Derek, instead of, ‘OK, you had two episodes. Now here’s somebody else.’ It didn’t feel like the fans would fall in love with anybody new who came in under those circumstances.” Rather, any new face — likely a similar, “physical” type — will not be introduced until the fall, assuming CBS orders Season 12. “It feels like something that would be natural to do in a premiere,” Messer says, “just as we did for most everybody else who has ever come in.”

Coming soon to TVLine, Erica Messer previews next week’s episode, which had returning favorite Paget Brewster wondering, “Is there too much Prentiss in this?”

Want more scoop on Criminal Minds, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Steven says:

    Well Seaver was introduced in the middle of season 6, but fans never really warmed up to her. I’m sure they can find some to fill Derek’s shoes.

  2. Whatevah says:

    There better be a season 12!

  3. Droogie says:

    No one can fill Morgan’s shoes. They need to leave his spot empty. Adding in another profiler for what is most likely the last season of CM means too much time taken away from the ones who are already there, that we know and love now. Let the writers concentrate on giving them the showcase they deserve for the final season, rather than devote screen time to a character we don’t know and likely won’t care about.

    • butthole says:

      Ugh I agree so much. I love Criminal Minds to death, have watched it for years, but we can all agree it doesn’t have much time left. Focus on the original cast who have literally become a huge part of all of us. Don’t waste time on blandly written new characters who have lame backstories and can’t seem to find their place.

  4. I swear to God, if they’re just gonna bring in a random (black) guy with a six pack…
    Why replace him? They didn’t manage to replace Emily, why even try with Derek?

    • ElDena Ferrell says:

      No one can actually replace Morgan. If there needs to be a new warm body in the office, make it as far from Shear Moore as possible. But if they truly anticipate a final year, I agree that highlighting the current team members would be more fulfilling for the real fans.

    • wjsc says:

      That ‘random’ replacement is my fear, too. If there truly is only one season to go, I think they should leave the team’s family dynamic as it is. If it ain’t broke — don’t fix it.
      Surely they can use the ‘local cop of the week’ for kicking in doors.

  5. Angela says:

    That’s not surprising that Reid will take this rather hard-poor guy was so dang emotional when saying goodbye to Morgan last night. They were always so close, those two, so yeah, this’ll definitely be tough for him.
    I agree it’s best to let the team (and viewers) get used to the idea of Morgan being gone before they talk about replacements-I had a feeling, if there is one, it wouldn’t be until next season. Personally, though, I think if they do bring in another team member, it’d be nice to bring back someone we’re already familiar with, rather than create a whole new character we have to get used to yet again. Either that, or if they decide to just leave the team as it is in the end, I’d be fine with that, too-I remember the team worked pretty well in the season 11 premiere despite having only five active members at the moment (what with JJ being on maternity leave then and Tara having not yet officially joined the team). So I think they could make that same setup work againg if possible.
    But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, I suppose. In the meantime, I’m definitely curious to see how the team deals with Morgan being gone, Reid and Garcia especially. Should be interesting.

  6. Hege says:

    I would really like if Kate Callahan (Jennifer Love Hewitt) came back. She had a energy and spunk and I really liked her. And I am not even JLH fan. They have to get someone new in, or two, and please loose Aisha Taylor. She is such a limited actress. She is the only team member I can’t stand.

  7. PH says:

    The last three episodes have been the most heart wrenching in the 11 seasons I’ve watched. Morgan will be sorely missed. I’ll miss the “baby girl” talks with Garcia, and the interaction with Reid. I wish Shemar all the success in his future endeavours, and I agree completely with Morgan’s character exiting on a beautiful and happy note!

  8. Jane says:

    Too many women, on most of the shows and it’s getting very, very boring.

  9. wjsc says:

    My Wednesday nights just got a lot less pretty.
    Best wishes for your next chapter, Shemar!

  10. Pat says:

    Well I have to admit, I feel like I have been hit hard by this exit. I just finished watching it on my DVR and I am bawling my eyes out. I will have to say that this really was a well planned out exit for the character of Derek. I am really going to miss Shemar Moore. Thank you Producer’s and writer’s for not killing off his character and giving him that happy ending with a wife and baby son.

  11. Gerald Myers says:

    Glad to see Paget coming back to fill in. Would like to see her back..

  12. grys03 says:

    Some responders have mentioned that they don’t want to see a ‘random’ replacement – absolutely agree – makes no sense. Someone mentioned that the spot should be just left open & not add another profiler – again I agree.
    Considering how often the BAU team are involved in the takedown of the bad guy it would be interesting to see some new additions (2-3) that are actually part of the team in a more action oriented way – not to over-shadow the BAU but to complement them in occasional scenes. I don’t want the focus to shift from the profiling aspect but it would be nice to expand the team in a way that doesn’t affect the main story but adds potential for slightly more different stories.
    For me one of the reasons shows fail or fade is the lack of good supporting cast – although 11 seasons is pretty damn successful & a testament to the cast & writers.

  13. its very difficult afterwatching a series from the very beginning and then-somebody always leaves and its not the same I wish they wouldn’t do that

  14. butthole says:

    fml why do we have to fill the spot. There hasn’t been one new character in Paget’s spot that fans have genuinely warmed up to, especially since they come and go each season. Just stick with the original cast for heaven’s sake.

  15. Wa Johnson says:

    Let the show die. It’s too gruesome .

  16. Ellie says:

    Shemar Moore is gone? OH NO! I used to post his picture on FB and tried to get him nominated for Sexiest Man In The World! Aaaarrrggghhhhh!!!!!!

  17. quimbey says:

    Please get rid of Aisha Tyler because she’s just not an asset to the cast!!! Then come in with a pair of agents who have unique skills in the fall.

  18. Sheila M says:

    I’m sad to see the character of Derek Morgan go. Please CBS do not cancel my favorite show. There is so much more that can be covered and the rest of the great cast are there to do this. Order another season, heck order 2 or 3 more!

  19. Cindy says:

    Please renew Criminal Minds, Code Black, and Life in Pieces.I will miss Shemar Moore, but I still think it can continue to be a great show. I have been watching i.t since day one, and have recently been watching all the old episodes on Netflix. Code Black is the best medical drama since E.R.Life in Pieces is delightful and fresh.

  20. tannerose5 says:

    I just wish, for once, Reid could meet a woman that lasts longer than, say, two episodes. Let the poor man be happy. He actually might be happier at work. Have Hotch smile once a month. I would also like to not see another “flavor of the week” male six-pack. Reid, Hotch, JJ, Garcia, and of course Rossi is a well-enough group of talent. There was a time there were too many hanging around with not enough material. Use the talent there is. Reid/Rossi have a great father/son relationship. Use it. Bring back some of the talent of yesteryear. There’s a lot of life left in this group. The writers just have to “up their game..”