— -- Fans freaked out Wednesday night when actor Shemar Moore said goodbye to "Criminal Minds" after starring in the crime drama series for 11 seasons.
And although his character, FBI Special Agent Derek Morgan, left the bureau to spend more time with his family on the series, Moore comforted fans in a new interview reminding them that his character wasn't killed off and "that it's not goodbye."
"Derek did not die," Moore, 45, told E! News. "Those elevator doors closed. And, yes, I am wanting to see what else is out there for me and what else I'm capable of in my career and also in my personal life."
Still, the actor hinted at possibly returning to the series one day.
"Those elevator doors closed and I have no problem because CBS and, more importantly, my fans and my family at 'Criminal Minds' have been so good to me. I'm not opposed to those doors opening up again," he teased. "Now, it may not be permanently, and it may not be for a full season, but if there's an opportunity to go back and dance and play, I wouldn't be opposed to that."
Moore said he had no idea that his character, Derek Morgan, wouldn't be killed off.
"No, I thought they would kill me," he said. "I've had a lot of say in what's happened with Derek Morgan, but my job [i]s to say the words. They write and produce it, and I show up and memorize it. I internalize it, and then my job is to bring it to life."
The actor credits producer Erica Messer for coming up with his character's departure on Wednesday night's episode, the conclusion of a three-episode arc.
Referencing Messer, Moore recalled, "She said, 'If you honor the show, if you honor the fans, we can honor the show, we can honor the fans.' She said, 'I promise you I will give you a hero's goodbye.'"
Moore said the episode was "one of, if not the, proudest episodes of my career."
Although he has left the door open for a possible return, for now, Moore, 45, said he's looking forward to "balance."
The longtime bachelor added, "I want to fall in love, get married, have kids, travel. I want to walk my dogs more. Just get some balance."