shemar moore criminal minds cbs

It seems impossible that after 11 years on the show together, any of the original cast members of “Criminal Minds” would choose to leave, but the dreaded moment just happened.

Wednesday’s (March 23) episode titled, “A Beautiful Disaster,” will be the last for Shemar Moore, who has played Derek Morgan since the pilot episode aired back in 2005. At least the show chose not to kill him off,  even though that seemed to be the notion they were aiming for with his kidnap and torture.

After his near-death experience earlier in the season and a situation that puts Savannah’s (Rochelle Aytes) life in danger, Morgan decides that it’s time to hang up the badge and leave the BAU for greener — and less dangerous — pastures with his wife.

RELATED: Near death, Derek finally pops the question on ‘Criminal Minds’

“It’s a weird experience,”Moore tells The Hollywood Reporter about leaving the show. “I just spent 11 years with a group of people and it’s a weird thing to walk away from — but I did it on my terms and in the right way.”

It seems that after so many years playing the same character in the same circumstances, Moore decided that it was time to leave and pursue other jobs and other roles. “‘Criminal Minds’ was college and now I’m ready for grad school and the next step,” he says.

Fans were, of course, incredibly upset to see Morgan go. “A Beautiful Disaster” is pretty much exactly how they’d describe the episode.

“Criminal Minds” airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS

Posted by:Lindsay MacDonald

Lindsay MacDonald is a Los Angeles based entertainment reporter with an affinity for CW superheroes. She graduated from Pepperdine University with a major in Media Studies and a borderline unhealthy obsession with TV in 2012. She would much rather spend the day binge-watching ‘The Flash’ or sorting ‘Game of Thrones’ characters into Hogwarts houses than venturing outdoors. TV words to live by: “Never ignore coincidence. Unless, of course, you’re busy. In which case, always ignore coincidence.”