FBI: Most Wanted is about to pull off its biggest shock yet.
In an unexpected move, Julian McMahon has confirmed to Deadline he will be leaving the hit series in the next few months.
With his final episode to air in March, it will no doubt be a massive change for the popular spin-off series.
Jess LaCroix and FBI: Most Wanted exits
As soon as FBI became a hit in 2018, CBS began plans for a spin-off. It happened in a backdoor pilot episode introducing Jess LaCroix. He was played by Julian McMahon, a popular actor from TV shows like Charmed and Nip/Tuck.
FBI: Most Wanted began in 2019 with Jess, a single father handling dangerous manhunts for fugitives. The series has succeeded despite a surprisingly large cast turnover in its three-season run.
Nathaniel Arcand played Clinton Skye, Jess’ brother-in-law and fellow agent. Unfortunately, the character disappeared in the middle of Season 2 as Arcand couldn’t travel from his native Canada amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He was replaced by Ivan Ortiz (Miguel Gomez). Arcand confirmed in the summer of 2021 that he wouldn’t return to the series.
The three-part crossover kicking off the current season had Ken Crosby (Kellan Lutz) shot in the line of duty. While he recovered, actor Kellan Lutz announced he was leaving the series to be with his family.
This season has seen the addition of Kristin Gaines (Alexa Davalos) as his replacement. Meanwhile, Hana was absent for the first few episodes of Season 3 due to Keisha-Castle Hughes being pregnant.
It’s possible that Sheryll Barnes may be taking a leave as her actress Roxy Sternberg is expecting a child in April. Yet no one could have foreseen the central character for the series departing as well.
Why is Julian McMahon leaving FBI: Most Wanted?
In a statement to Deadline, McMahon made it clear this was his own decision to leave the series to pursue other roles.
“Over the past few months, the producers of FBI: Most Wanted and I have had discussions about my departure from the show in favor of additional creative pursuits and the transition of my character Jess LaCroix. These ongoing conversations have given us an opportunity to orchestrate a seamless and productive way for me to leave the show.
I would like to express the gratitude and admiration I have had working with Dick Wolf and Peter Jankowski. I’m extremely proud of the work we have done together and put the development of this show, and my character Jess, at the top of my professional experience list. I wish the show, and its cast & crew, the greatest success in the future. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play Jess; he is a good man.”
Producer Dick Wolf added his own reaction to the statement of McMahon leaving.
“We are saddened to see Julian leave. His portrayal of agent Jess LaCroix has been a key factor in the success of FBI: Most Wanted. We will miss him and we wish him the best in his next chapter.”
The series is still successful in the ratings and the linchpin of FBI Tuesdays. This season has had developments for Jess as his daughter Tali (YaYa Gosselin) was accepted into a private school while Jess handled his relationship with Sarah (Jen Landon).
Fans may naturally be concerned about the show continuing without Jess. However, the focus has always been on the cases more than the team members. A comparable example is how NCIS is still going strong after long-time star Mark Harmon departed the series.
Still, losing the show’s lead character is a huge blow to the entire series. McMahon’s farewell episode will film next week and is expected to air on March 8.
With this breaking news, it’s unclear whether a new lead will be cast as Jess’s replacement or if Ortiz, Barnes, or Gaines takes over as team leader. It’s also unsure whether the March 8 episode will be an abbreviated season finale.
While there’s time to prepare for his farewell, the exit of both McMahon and Jess will change FBI: Most Wanted for a long time to come.
FBI: Most Wanted Season 3 returns Tuesday February 1 at 10/9c on CBS.