With Shemar Moore’s departure from “Criminal Minds,” fans are reminded of other shocking exits that changed TV history. Below, we round up all the actors who left their shows in the most unexpected ways. Which of these exits shocked you the most?
Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) — Criminal Minds
In an interview with TV Line, Moore explained why he decided to leave the hit show after 11 seasons. “I’m leaving because I want to continue to grow as an actor,” he said. “I’m leaving to see what else I’m capable of.”
Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) — The Vampire Diaries
“The Vampire Diaries” started out with the love triangle between the Salvatore brothers and Elena Gilbert. Despite being the lead actress, however, Dobrev decided to leave after six seasons.
Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) — Grey’s Anatomy
His death is further proof that being a show’s lead actor does not guarantee that you’d be in the show forever. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes earlier admitted she had no choice but to kill him off. It was “the only way to preserve what felt true to me,” she told Entertainment Tonight.
Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) — Downton Abbey
Who expects a character to be killed off right after his wife gives birth? Crawley died in season 3 despite the birth of his son.
Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) — Law & Order: SVU
Central to SVU is the partnership between detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson. So it was a shock to every fan when Meloni decided to say goodbye to the show after 12 seasons.
Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) — The O.C.
This list would not be complete if Barton’s character in “The O.C.” was not mentioned. Marissa Cooper is one of the main stars of the show. But her character was killed in a car accident at the end of the third season.