Shemar Moore on Leaving 'Criminal Minds': 'My Mom Wants Grandbabies'

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Will the primetime hunk be welcoming his own baby girl anytime soon?

Charli Penn Mar, 25, 2016

On Wednesday night, Shemar Moore fans had to suddenly say goodbye to his longest-running character yet: beloved, sweet-talking FBI agent Derek Morgan on CBS’s hit series Criminal Minds. His departure from a show so close to his heart has left many wondering what big plans he has in store, and whether or not the gorgeous, beach-loving bachelor will finally settle down. We called to ask, and you’re really going to like his answer.

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 been11 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: What’s next?
MOORE: I don’t know. There’s still a lot I want to do in front of the camera. I want to see what I’m capable as far as storytelling. Would I like to be a movie star? I don’t pursue the star part of it. If that happens, that happens. That’d be cool. I I’m interested in cable television because I like the quality of the writing, the caliber of actors that you get to be a part of. I love what I do for a living, and I’ve done it for 22 years. I hope to do it for another 22 years, but also there’s other things that have eluded me in my private and personal life that I also want a chance at. Right now, all I’m doing is taking a break. I do have a movie that I produced that’ll be coming. I have some other ideas that I want to try to bring into fruition. To me this is just a little exhale moment to catch my breath, be proud of what I’ve accomplished, refuel, and then just get excited to come do it again.

ESSENCE: Does that mean there will be a Mrs. Shemar Moore in your near future? The fans are waiting for that moment.
MOORE: I hope so. Derek Morgan got on that elevator and he made a choice. He had a chance at that part of his life. He went off to be a father, which he didn’t have because his father died when he was 10, and he has a chance to go be a husband. Now Shemar Moore has to catch up to Derek Morgan, and I’m working on that.

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.


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