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6 FBI: Most Wanted Questions About Losing Julian McMahon As Jess LaCroix

FBI: Most Wanted is going strong in its third season on CBS, but the show will go through a major change before the finale with the departure of star Julian McMahon as Jess LaCroix. McMahon has been the leading man of the FBI spinoff ever since the backdoor pilot that gave viewers the first taste of the Fugitive Task Force team, and it’s almost hard to picture what the show will look like without him on board, even though news has already broken about the Law & Order franchise star who will step into his shoes

So, with Most Wanted currently on a break between new episodes and plenty to think about with the news of why Julian McMahon decided to leave the series, let’s take a look at some questions for the show in light of losing Jess. 

fbi: most wanted season 3 cast cbs

(Image credit: CBS)

How Will FBI: Most Wanted Say Goodbye To Jess LaCroix?

The first question is also the biggest and most obvious, since however the show says goodbye to Jess could set the tone for the rest of the season even after he’s gone. For a long time, Jess was pretty settled, but the departure of Nathaniel Arcand as his brother-in-law (and fellow FBI agent) removed one of his ties to his life as it was, and now Tali’s future seems to be with a boarding school in Canada. Throw in the crisis in his home at the end of Season 2, and he has fewer anchors than ever before… except for his job. So what happens that he leaves his job with the team? And can fans rule out the possibility that he’ll be killed off?

fbi most wanted jess lacroix cbs julian mcmahon

(Image credit: CBS)

Will Jess Come Back To FBI: Most Wanted?

The future of Jess LaCroix on FBI: Most Wanted – even if off-screen – does depend entirely on how the show says goodbye to him. In his statement regarding his decision to leave the hit show, Julian McMahon said (via Deadline) that he intends to pursue “additional creative pursuits,” and conversations with the producers led to the “opportunity to orchestrate a seamless and productive way” for him to leave the show. He also wished the show, cast, and crew “the greatest success in the future” and expressed his gratitude that he “had the opportunity to play Jess.” 

Producer Dick Wolf also had a statement, saying that the team is “saddened to see Julian leave” and that they will “miss him” and “wish him the best in his next chapter.” While the comments from McMahon give me the impression that Jess isn’t going to be killed off, Wolf wishing him well also gives me the impression that there are currently no plans for Jess to return. Whether or not that would be a good thing for the character remains to be seen; if he heads off into the sunset to be with Tali, perhaps not coming back to chasing down criminals would be a good thing for him. 

roxy sternberg sherryl barnes fbi most wanted cbs

(Image credit: CBS)

Will Barnes Step Up Or Take A Break?

Barnes has been Jess’ right-hand woman from the very beginning, so under normal circumstances, she would seem like his natural successor as leader of the Fugitive Task Force. In light of the news of Law & Order: Organized Crime’s Dylan McDermott coming on board Most Wanted, and with actress Roxy Sternberg’s pregnancy potentially taking Barnes out of the action of chasing down the bad guys for a time, it’s possible that Barnes will actually step back around the time of Jess’ departure. 

Of course, Barnes’ wife just had their second child, so stepping back might be a good thing for their family, and the return of Hana this season proved that characters can easily jump right back into the action after a break. So will fans see more or less of Barnes in the rest of Season 3?

cbi most wanted season 3 midseason finale jess tali sarah byron barnes

(Image credit: CBS)

Is Jennifer Landon's Sarah Leaving Too?

Jennifer Landon joined the cast of FBI: Most Wanted back in Season 2, to play Tali’s riding instructor Sarah Allen, who would ultimately become a love interest for Jess. She has become an important part of the series despite her status as somebody not working as an FBI agent, but her closest ties are by far to Jess and Tali. Although she and Jess aren’t married, I can easily imagine her going with Jess if the plan is to follow Tali to Canada. 

It would be a shame to lose her as one of the relatively few key civilian characters of the show, but also nice for Jess if he leaves for his daughter and she goes with him. I know I’d also be sad to lose Terry O’Quinn as Byron, but he shows up far less often than Sarah. Plus, after the end of Season 2 with the terrifying home invasion cliffhanger, I wouldn’t blame Sarah if she wanted to start over in a new place. So will Jennifer Landon be gone when Julian McMahon is?

Dylan McDermott on Law & Order: Organized Crime

(Image credit: NBC)

Who Is Dylan McDermott's New Character?

Just days after the news of Julian McMahon leaving FBI: Wanted, Dylan McDermott was announced as the actor who will fill his shoes, but few details are available. McDermott already plays a character in the Dick Wolf TV universe (comprised of FBI, FBI: Most Wanted, FBI: International, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Organized Crime, and soon Law & Order once more) thanks to his role as Richard Wheatley over on NBC.

Organized Crime fans shouldn’t be surprised to know that he’s playing a new (and presumably non-criminal) character for Most Wanted, in the same vein as FBI’s Jeremy Sisto playing a character on FBI after also starring on several seasons of Law & Order. But who will McDermott’s character be, if not a villain like OC’s Wheatley? And how will he fit into the dynamic of the members of the team who are still on board? 

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(Image credit: CBS/NBC)

How Will FBI: Most Wanted Fill The Gap Between Julian McMahon And Dylan McDermott?

FBI: Most Wanted will say goodbye to Julian McMahon’s Jess LaCroix in the episode that airs on March 8, and there are currently only two new episodes scheduled between now and then, meaning that (barring any changes) Most Wanted will lose Jess in Episode 14 of Season 3. The initial report from Deadline about Dylan McDermott coming on board stated that he’ll debut in Episode 17, which means a gap of two episodes between McMahon’s departure and McDermott’s entrance. So, how will the show fill that gap? 

I can imagine Barnes taking on more of a leadership role during the gap episodes, if she doesn’t take a break instead. It’s hard to imagine the team functioning at its best with a leader missing, so it should be interesting to see what happens during the wait for McDermott’s character to arrive. His casting presumably means that he’ll be out of Law & Order: Organized Crime by the end of this second arc of Season 2, which is certainly good news for Detective Elliot Stabler and the other characters who have to survive Richard Wheatley!

All of this said, FBI: Most Wanted fans won’t have to say goodbye to Julian McMahon just yet. He still has some episodes left before Jess leaves, and the next will air on Tuesday, February 1 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, following FBI: International at 9 p.m. and FBI at 8 p.m. For more viewing options in the coming weeks, check out our 2022 TV premiere dates!

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.