How FBI: Most Wanted Should Handle The Episodes Between Julian McMahon And Dylan McDermott After The Latest Case

Spoilers ahead for the February 1 episode of FBI: Most Wanted, called “El Pincho.”

FBI: Most Wanted has big changes in store in the not-too-distant future thanks to the upcoming departure of leading man Julian McMahon as Agent Jess LaCroix, and the date for his final episode has already been announced. Law & Order: Organized Crime’s Dylan McDermott will make the jump from NBC to CBS to become the new star of Most Wanted, but it’s looking like there will be some episodes between the departure of Jess and the arrival of the new character. And after “El Pincho,” I realized that the show has already landed on the best way to fill that time. 

What's Happening With Julian McMahon And Dylan McDermott

News broke while the show was on a brief break that Julian McMahon had decided to leave FBI: Most Wanted “in favor of some additional creative pursuits.” At the time, the date of his final episode was announced: March 8. When the reveal came that Dylan McDermott will move from his villainous role on Law & Order: Organized Crime to play an FBI agent, reports indicated that he would debut in Episode 17 in April

At the time of writing, only one more new episode is expected to air before the March 8 episode that says goodbye to McMahon as Jess LaCroix. Assuming that remains accurate over the coming weeks, his final episode will be the fourteenth of Season 3. It looks like there could be two episodes without a leading man, between Episode 14 as McMahon’s last and Episode 17 as McDermott’s first. 

With Barnes potentially stepping back from the action due to actress Roxy Sternberg’s real-life pregnancy, there has been the big question of how Most Wanted will handle those gap episodes. Kristin Gaines seemed like a candidate to step up as a leader, but after “El Pincho,” it seems clear that she’s already processing a lot with her own difficult past, without taking on the responsibility of leading the team. At the same time, the Gaines-centric “El Pincho” led me to realize the ideal way to keep the show going for Episodes 15 and 16 of Season 3. 

How FBI: Most Wanted Should Handle The Time Gap

Like the other two FBI shows (and much of the Dick Wolf extended universe as a whole), FBI: Most Wanted is primarily a procedural show with more focus on cases rather than characters. “El Pincho” was an exception to that rule. Even though the case was as compelling as ever, and the bad guy arguably even worse than usual, the focus was on Kristin Gaines and how her past informs her present. She opened up a bit about what happened to her in Miami, and told a troubling story about how she got a whole lot of scars on her back. 

Even though this episode left me with the impression that she’s not ready to step up and become the leader when she has so much going on with her own recovery, I think it showed how FBI: Most Wanted can keep the action going without assigning a new permanent leader for a couple of episodes. By putting the focus on one particular character, the other members of the team didn't have to be quite as prominent. Ortiz didn’t even appear in “El Pincho,” and Jess himself had less of a key role, and the episode worked just fine. 

Ortiz could use a centric episode of his own, and Hana hasn’t gotten all that much development since she made her return to the show earlier in Season 3. As a big fan of Barnes and episodes that put the spotlight on her, I’d be all for an episode centered on her, but until it’s clear how FBI: Most Wanted is handling Roxy Sternberg’s pregnancy, I’m not going to put all my eggs in the Barnes-centric basket. Even another Gaines episode would be fine by me.

“El Pincho” proved that FBI: Most Wanted won’t have to flounder for two episodes, or spend those episodes feeling like something is missing, just because Jess is gone and Dylan McDermott’s character hasn’t arrived yet. Sign me up for episodes with a heavy focus on the existing characters! Assuming some screen time will have to be devoted to developing McDermott’s character to incorporate him into the team, it might be the prime time for the current team to enjoy the spotlight. 

Of course, we can only speculate for now, but you can expect the next new episode of FBI: Most Wanted on Tuesday, February 22 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS, following FBI: International at 9 p.m. and FBI (which recently had to change an episode’s explosive ending) at 8 p.m. For more of what to watch and when to watch it, be sure to take a look at our 2022 TV schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).