'Criminal Minds': Could Shemar Moore's Derek Morgan Return for Final Episodes?

Criminal Minds is set to come to an end after its 15th season, and many fans are wondering if they will be seeing the familiar face of Shemar Moore’s Derek Morgan interacting with his “baby girl” Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) a final time.

Moore had left the series at the end of Season 11 after having appeared in 250 episodes, though he later admitted he was keeping the possibility of returning to the beloved police procedural crime drama open.

“Anything's possible," he told TV Guide in August of 2017. “I told all the fans, I keep telling them those elevators closed and they can always open up again.”

Although the actor quickly busied himself with his new work on fellow CBS drama S.W.A.T., he did make a brief return to Criminal Minds in guest appearances in Season 12, Episode 22, “Red Light,” and Season 13, Episode 5, “Lucky Strikes,” making the likelihood of his return in the final season seeming nearly inevitable.

Proving just how open he is to returning to his roots, Moore even recently stepped back into the shoes of Malcom Winters on The Young and the Restless, a role that he had left in 2014.

The actor, who won over fans with his smooth talking, good looking, all-around good guy special agent Derek Morgan has frequently spoken of his past work in terms of education, describing his time on the CBS drama as “college.”

“I've treated my acting career like school. The Young and the Restless: eight years. [That was] high school. Criminal Minds: college. Now I'm ready for grad school, a Ph.D., whatever you want to call it,” he told TVGuide just after announcing his departure from the series. “I'm just ready to grow. I just want to leap. And I don't know where I'm going to land, but I believe that I'm going to land. I'm not leaving to go be a big star. I'm not leaving to go make a bunch of money…I'm leaving because I just creatively want to be fueled and [am] excited to try new things and see what else I'm capable of.”

In that same interview, Moore had even again teased the possibility of returning to Criminal Minds.

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“Erica Messer refused to kill Derek Morgan. Those elevator doors closed. Am I going to sign a long-term contract? Probably not,” he added. “But if they ask me to come back and dance, yes, I would be willing to do that. [But] not right away.”

Criminal Minds' final season is filming in the spring and is set to air during the 2019-2020 television season.