Skip to main content

Why FBI: Most Wanted's Julian McMahon Is Leaving The CBS Drama Before Season 3 Ends

While it’s not the rarest situation in the world for a TV actor to somewhat suddenly bow out of a role in a hit TV show, such exits usually occur during a hiatus, or are planned to coincide with the end of a season. That’s not so much the case for CBS’ spinoff procedural FBI: Most Wanted, whose star Julian McMahon made the shocking announcement that he will be leaving the series before Season 3 wraps up later in the spring. The silver lining here, if there’s one to be found, is that it won’t take someone with the skills of Agent Jess LaCroix to figure out why it’s happening. 

Julian McMahon himself is the person who announced he would be leaving FBI: Most Wanted, and gave fans a hint of why he made the unforeseen decision, sharing this in a statement with Deadline:

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.

For the most part, it sounds like the former Nip/Tuck star was able to work out an amicable path to depart on with the FBI: Most Wanted producers and CBS execs. Which means fans won’t have to worry about Jess suddenly disappearing from the main narrative without explanation before Season 3 concludes. (Not all shows are so lucky.) Still, it sounds like there was something missing from the process, creative or otherwise, that Julian McMahon feels the need to try and find elsewhere. 

The actor is set to film his final episode during this final week of January 2022, and the plan is for the installment to air on March 8. So while that doesn’t leave a ton of time left for FBI: Most Wanted fans to ready themselves for his absence, at least there’s a confirmed plan of action to handle things practically within the storyline. And part of that plan involves introducing a brand new character later in the season that will help to replace McMahon in a starring capacity. Will that new recruit’s relationship with the other agents feel the same as Jess’ has? Probably not, but it’ll likely be unique all on its own.

In his statement, Julian McMahon expressed “gratitude and admiration” for franchise developer and executive producer Dick Wolf and fellow EP Peter Jankowski, and claimed the process of bringing Jess LeCroix to life is at the top of his “professional experience list.” And Dick Wolf had kind words for the actor as well, saying:

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.

McMahon won’t be the first FBI: Most Wanted regular bowing out in Season 3, as Kellan Lutz also bid fans farewell in the Season 3 premiere. It also seemed like YaYa Gosselin’s Tali LeCroix was being set up for her own exit in the midseason finale when she was accepted into a prestigious boarding school in Canada, though Julian McMahon confirmed to CinemaBlend at the time that wasn’t going to be the case at all. However, that possibility has a renewed potential now that Jess won’t be around anymore. We’ll just have to wait and see how things go in the next few episodes before making any big assumptions. The same goes for the near future of Roxy Sternberg’s Barnes, since the actress is pregnant with an April due date. 

After a three week hiatus, FBI: Most Wanted will return to airing new episodes on Tuesday, February 1, at 10:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to check out all the other new and returning shows hitting the small screen soon with our 2022 TV premiere schedule

Nick Venable
Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.