For 15 seasons, Criminal Minds told the story of a group of criminal profilers who worked for the FBI. As is often the case with a series that's on the air for 15 seasons, the cast went through some significant changes. That included the Season 11 departure of Shemar Moore, who played Supervisory Special Agent Derek Morgan. After being a main cast member for 11 seasons, his leaving the series came as a surprise to fans. But there was a good reason why.
Criminal Minds focused on the Behavioral Analysis Unit, part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. It was established in 1985 to bring a level of expertise and experience to investigate immediate threats or acts of violence. Originally headed up by Mandy Patinkin's Jason Gideon, the TV version of the BAU traveled across the United States to lend operational support to a variety of cases involving unusual subjects.
Who was Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds?
Part of that original Criminal Minds team was Supervisory Special Agent Derek Morgan. He and his two sisters were raised by a single mother after his father, a police officer, died in front of him. Morgan was mentored by a man named Carl Buford who turned out to be a sexual predator who molested Derek and other boys. His career in law enforcement started with the Chicago Police Department's bomb squad, then moved to the FBI, and eventually the BAU.
As a long-time member of the BAU, Morgan was integral to the overall team. He formed a particularly strong bond with a technical analyst named Penelope Garcia. She wasn't a field agent; Garcia worked from a central location, offering technical support and incomparable research skills. Garcia and Morgan shared an emotional intimacy that was incredibly engaging. Their ongoing banter was definitively a highlight of Criminal Minds.
Why Shemar Moore Left Criminal Minds
The Garcia/Morgan relationship was a big part of the reason why fans of Criminal Minds were dismayed when Shemar Moore left the series and Derek Morgan was written off in 2017.
Moore left Criminal Minds with the desire to explore new opportunities and focus on his personal life. After 11 seasons on Criminal Minds, Moore was ready to take some time to relax with his family and his dogs -- something he hadn't been able to do for a while.
How Derek Morgan was Written Off Criminal Minds
Season 11 was the last for Morgan and gave him some great episodes. In Season 11, Episode 16, Morgan had visions of his father, who was played by Danny Glover. It was the first time fans saw Hank Morgan depicted in such a fashion. The downside to the episode was that Morgan had been kidnapped and the BAU had to rescue him. This incident made Derek realize that he needed to step back from life in the BAU. It was actually a solid send-off for the character.
Moore made appearances in Seasons 12 and 13, bringing Derek Morgan briefly back to the world of Criminal Minds. But Season 11 was the end of his run as a main character. Morgan never appeared again in the final two seasons of the series, leaving fans to hope that his life turned out the way he wanted it to.
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