His character, FBI Special Agent Derek Morgan, left the bureau to spend more time with his family. Since then, Moore has comforted fans in several interviews about Morgan’s future – assuring them “that it’s not goodbye.”
“Derek did not die,” Moore, 45, told E! News. “Those elevator doors closed. And, yes, I am wanting to see what else is out there for me and what else I’m capable of in my career and also in my personal life.”
In a recent chat with Essence, Shemar further explained his departure and what he hopes to do next as an actor. Below are excerpts from the interview.
ESSENCE: Derek Morgan is no more?! Congrats on a stupendous three-episode arc exit!
SHEMAR MOORE: Yes, it’s been wild. It’s been wild. I’ve been off the show since February 10th, but it’s just been this big secret. People ask me all the time how I feel … friends, people close to me, whatever. I’m like I don’t think it’s hit me, not just that I’ve left, but that it’s been 11 years. It’s taking this leap of faith. Just knowing what I got the opportunity to do for 11 years, and the culmination and the way I was able to walk off into the sunset in the final episode. Feels good!
ESSENCE: Your fans were very upset over your departure on social media.
MOORE: The response from all the fans, it has really been wonderful, endearing, overwhelming, touching, emotional. It’s just a trip. It made me somewhat emotional just because they care that much. That’s just a good feeling because I know what I’ve put into it for the last 11 years.
ESSENCE: They didn’t kill you off, which I know was a relief for fans. Did you have a part in that decision about how you left the show?
MOORE: I remember around season five just feeling like I’m ready to challenge myself and take another step. I treat my acting career like school. Like Young and the Restless is high school, and Criminal Minds is college, and now I’m ready for grad school. By the time I got to that elevator scene it was kind of closure. I will say I’m excited about my future and possibilities, but if I was invited back to dance and play with those guys again, then the elevator doors might just reopen.
ESSENCE: We love that you and your mom are besties. What does she want you to do next?
MOORE: My mother’s so proud of me, but she hates how dark the show is. “Can you just go fall in love or play a doctor or a teacher?” she’d say. She wants grandbabies, and she just wants to see me laugh a lot. She wants to see me travel. She knows how serious I take my career and how hard I believe that I work. She’s very proud of what I’ve accomplished, but she also wants me to just enjoy life. I just want to keep paying for her beachfront condo.
Read the full interview here.