Good news, Criminal Minds fans: Derek Morgan is returning to BAU! CBS recently announced that Shemar Moore, who played the character for a decade, is reappearing in the finale episode of Season 12.
The former Supervisory Special Agent will come back to deliver a lead in the case against Mr. Scratch, the serial killer and escaped convict who served as the villain throughout the current season. As Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) is stuck in prison at the moment after being framed for murder, FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit could definitely use all the leads they can get to get their colleague out of jail and catch Scratch as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, Moore’s return is not on a full-time basis. Deadline reports that he is only set to guest star in Criminal Minds Season 12 finale.
An original cast member, the actor departed from the police procedural drama March last year after 11 seasons. We can recall that his character, Morgan, had survived a harrowing kidnapping incident and decided to leave the BAU for good to focus on life and new family.
“I’m not leaving to go be a big star and try to make a lot of money,” Moore said at the time of his exit. “I mean, all that stuff is part of the business and part of the journey and the dream, [but] right now I’m just leaving to take a breath.”
Despite his departure, he promised that his final episode “was not goodbye.” Indeed, it wasn’t.
Criminal Minds Season 12: Is Thomas Gibson Coming Back Too?
Now that Moore is confirmed to make a grand comeback, many are wondering whether CBS is also considering bringing Thomas Gibson aboard the show again. US Magazine previously reported that the actor, who played the role of BAU Chief Aaron Hotchner, got fired shortly after Moore following an on-set altercation with one of the show’s producers.
Since his last appearance on Season 12 episode 2, many fans have demanded the network to bring back the character. Gibson’s unceremonious firing caused major Twitter protests as well as boycotts, apparently affecting the ratings of the show.
— GibbyBeck (@LeckyBecky123) October 19, 2016
— ??Christy ?? (@Veloster_Turbo1) October 19, 2016
According to TV Line, the show has seen a downward ratings trend since Season 12, with the March 1 episode drawing its smallest audience ever. While showrunner Erica Messer attributed the declining viewership to many factors, some fans believe it may have something to do with the previous cast shakeup, especially Gibson’s termination.
From a business standpoint, it seems practical for the show to think about hiring the actor again. As he spearheaded the story for 11 years, many fans might have lost interest after his departure. Should the ratings plummet even more, Criminal Minds could face eventual cancellation.
Sadly, there is no indication of him returning anytime soon. Fans can only keep their fingers crossed that CBS will tap him to play his role again. In the meantime, they can tune in to CBS on Wednesday, May 10 at 9 p.m. for Moore’s Criminal Minds Season 12 finale return.