Derek Morgan (Criminal Minds)

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Derek Morgan
Criminal Minds character
DmorganCM.jpg
Derek Morgan
First appearance "Extreme Aggressor"
1x01, September 22, 2005
Created by Jeff Davis
Portrayed by Shemar Moore
Information
Occupation FBI Special Agent
Title FBI BAU Acting Unit Chief
Supervisory Special Agent
Family Unnamed father (deceased)
Fran Morgan (mother)
Desirée Morgan (sister)
Sarah Morgan (sister)
Yvonne Burns (aunt)
Paul Burns (uncle, deceased)
Cindi Burns (first cousin)E720
Anthony Ford (nephew)E720

Derek Morgan is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by Shemar Moore. Morgan specializes in fixations and obsessive behaviors.[1] He is a Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, (although has served as interim unit chief for Aaron Hotchner), and has appeared from the series' pilot episode "Extreme Aggressor", which was originally broadcast on September 22, 2005.

Morgan is shown over the series being flirtatious towards the team's technical analyst Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), however, the relationship is platonic. He is shown to be confident and assertive, along with being very protective towards Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), whom he helps to pick up girls. He is the muscle of the team, and usually storms in when a suspect requires apprehending physically.

Background[edit]

Morgan is the son of an African American unnamed father and white mother, Fran. He went to Northwestern University on a football scholarship, holds a black belt in judo, runs FBI self-defense classes, served in a bomb squad, and worked as a Chicago police officer. Derek had at one time done 18 months of deep undercover work. He and his two sisters, Sarah and Desirée, grew up in a tough Chicago neighborhood.

At the age of ten, Morgan was a witness to the shooting death of his father, a police officer. E212 After his father's death, Morgan struggled somewhat with youthful fighting earning him a juvenile criminal record. He was taken under the wing of a local youth center coordinator, Carl Buford. Buford acted as a surrogate father to Morgan, helping Morgan to obtain the aforementioned football scholarship, but Buford was also sexually abusing him, which Morgan revealed several years later, under extreme duress.E212 As a teen he discovered the body of an unidentified boy, which had a profound effect on him (he went door to door in order to collect money to buy the boy a headstone and visited the boy's grave every time he came home to Chicago).

Years later, Morgan's past would come back to haunt him when he was arrested by the Chicago Police Department for the murder of the unidentified boy and two others. The lead detective (who had arrested Morgan several times as a boy) believed Morgan was guilty and used a BAU profile done by Jason Gideon (who was unaware Morgan was the prime suspect) to support his case. Believing he was being framed by the real killer, the BAU searched through Morgan's life and background to prove him innocent, which discomfited Garcia. They later identified Carl Buford as the man who set Morgan up to take the fall (Buford was friends with the lead detective). When Hotch asked about Buford, Morgan told him to back off. He then escaped police custody and spoke to a local boy who was friends with the latest victim. The boy revealed he was currently being molested by Buford and that the latest victim knew about it. Morgan confronted Buford, who at first denied anything happened between them, and told Morgan the other boy was lying. Refusing to back down (and wishing that he had told someone about Buford when he was a kid), Morgan eventually got Buford to admit to the abuse. Buford's admission was overheard by Chicago detectives (who were hiding nearby), and they arrested Buford. Buford pleaded with Morgan to help him, and Derek told Buford, "You go to Hell," leaving the child molester to his fate. E212

Behavioral Analysis Unit[edit]

Shemar Moore filming in 2010

Morgan was at one point being considered to replace SSA Kate Joyner as Unit Chief of the New York FBI field officeE320. His boss, BAU Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner, didn't recommend him for the position due to concerns that Morgan didn't have enough trust in his coworkers. However, after Joyner was killed by an IED in the fourth-season premiere, Hotchner told Morgan that the job was his if he wanted it. Nevertheless, Morgan chose not to take the position, and remained with the BAU.

Morgan is known for intense physical bravado. For example, he once chased a suspect (called an unknown subject, or "unsub", in FBI terms) to a train, then jumped aboard himself. He then had to hang on for dear life while the unsub kept attempting to dislodge Morgan from the train.E405

Morgan bears an especially intense grudge against George Foyet ("The Boston Reaper"). After Morgan was knocked out by Foyet in early 2009, Foyet stole Morgan's FBI credentials. He then used the credentials while dropping off a severely injured Aaron Hotchner in the Emergency Room after attacking and nearly killing Hotchner.E501

Because of his experiences as a teenager, Morgan seems to bear a lingering hostility towards organized religion, but he still prays, even going so far as to visit a church.E308 He is very charming, and has been seen flirting with many women, even dancing with several at a time in a bar.E214 Morgan once asked out Jordan Todd, only later realizing that she would be his coworker. However, as with most BAU agents, a long-term stable romantic relationship has so far eluded him.

Morgan is intensely devoted to his coworkers, especially Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia. They have a bantering, sweet, flirtatious relationship. Morgan often calls her "baby girl, doll face or sweetness" (having first used the term when he didn't know her name, he continued doing so when she seemed to like itE319). In the aftermath of the New York bombing that killed SSA Joyner, Morgan told Garcia that she was his "God-given solace" after jumping out of an ambulance which was about to blow up.E401. Morgan's close relationship with Garcia was made especially clear after she was shot by a perpetrator of hero homicide; taking her home from the hospital, Morgan said to Garcia: "I love you, you know that right?", and then insisted on staying with her to protect her, eventually saving her life, until the perpetrator was killed.

Morgan has an extremely close and protective friendship with SSA Dr. Spencer Reid. Morgan frequently makes friendly banter with Reid, and attempts to help him with his love life. In the episode S2E15 he is particularly distressed and prone to violent outbursts after Reid had been taken and after seeing the torture he went through live. Even going as far as stating that he would put the unsub's "head on a stick". Morgan often calls him "Doc", "Kid", "Genius", or "Pretty Boy" and they frequently tease and exchange banter with one another, even going as far as having a joke war in the episode S7E4. Morgan has been seen giving Reid advice on how to pick up girls at a bar after he unsuccessfully tried to hand out fliers and he is one of two people who knew that Reid was experiencing extremely painful headaches that may or may not have been related to the possibility of schizophrenia, the other being Emily Prentiss.

He also has an extremely close relationship with Agent Emily Prentiss. As she joined the team in season 2, they immediately bonded due to their mutual love of Kurt Vonnegut books. Morgan is protective of Prentiss, but their relationship is never shown beyond outside of the bureau. In "The Thirteenth Step," Prentiss receives some rather disturbing news from a former boss at Interpol, and Morgan is the only one who becomes concerned with her odd behavior. This concern resurfaces in the following episodes when Prentiss's odd behavior increases and concerns for her grow. In the episode 6x17 "Valhalla", Morgan tells Prentiss that she can "trust him", and that he is there for her no matter what. In Prentiss's final episode as a series regular, 6x18 "Lauren," she disappears after walking out of the BAU to go and confront her nemesis, Ian Doyle. At the end of the episode after being stabbed in the abdomen by Doyle, Morgan rushes to her side to try to save her. She tells him to let her go, and he responds by saying "No, no, I am not letting you go." Then he says "Listen to me [to Prentiss], I know why you did all of this; I know what you did for Declan. I am so proud of you. Do you understand that? I am proud of you because you are my friend, and you are my partner," to which then, Emily starts to fade in and out of consciousness while Morgan is holding her hand. At the hospital, J.J. tells the team that Prentiss "never made it off the table," and everyone dropped their heads in sadness. Everyone, except Hotch and J.J. think Prentiss is dead as they attend her funeral, but little do they know that she is alive and went into hiding from Doyle once again and that she is living in France.

Morgan also became close with Ellie Spicer, a little girl who was the daughter of a murder victim in the "Prince of Darkness" case. In the Season 6 premiere, Morgan was left injured and tied up after being attacked by the Prince of Darkness, Billy Flynn (played by Tim Curry), who also killed Matthew Spicer in the attack and kidnapped Spicer's daughter Ellie. After being treated by paramedics, Morgan rejoined his coworkers in hunting Flynn, who the team had identified as "a pure psychopath". Throughout the episode, Morgan snaps at several of his teammates, including Garcia, whom he is normally flirtatious with. After Flynn turns Ellie loose, the team arrives at a house where Flynn is holding two people hostage. Flynn calls Hotch's phone, and demands that Morgan enter. Hotch initially refuses, until Morgan steps to him and says "This one is mine." Morgan enters the house with his weapon drawn, and finds Flynn in a bedroom, with two victims tied up. Flynn tells Morgan that while he may not be afraid, the hostages were. Morgan responds by saying "You point that gun at them, and I will kill you, and that is another promise." After a bit of attempted conversation, Flynn starts crying, and asks Morgan if he believes in heaven, causing the agent to raise his gun. Flynn stands up and aims his gun at the female victim, resulting in Morgan instantly opening fire, coldly shooting Flynn in the chest repeatedly until "The Prince of Darkness" dies, and falls back onto the bed. Morgan emerges from the house removing his Kevlar vest and is greeted by Ellie. He takes her into his arms and comforts her as her bravado cracks, and she begins to cry. Ellie is placed into a foster home following her father's death because her parents were separated and her aunt (Matt Spicer's sister, who had been caring for Ellie) was also killed by Flynn. When Ellie catches a boy in the home peeping at her as she bathes, she runs away, flies to D.C., seeks out Morgan and asks to live with him. Morgan declines, but he and the BAU team members are able to reunite Ellie with her mother.

In "Big Sea," Morgan gets personal on a case in Jacksonville, Florida when bodies are discovered buried in the ocean floor off the coast. His aunt Yvonne fears that her missing daughter, Cindy, was one of the victims. Rossi tells Seaver that Morgan's cousin escaped a stalker and was never heard from. After Morgan catches the Unsub, he shows him pictures of two of his victims during his interrogation. When Morgan showed Cindy's picture he claims that she cried for Morgan before her throat was sliced."The killer didn't know Cindy's name, but he knew those of the other victims" Morgan said to Rossi. Even though Cindy wasn't one of the victims, Morgan lies to his aunt, and tells her that she was dead, to give her closure however, she is still missing. In the season six finale, he fatally shoots the unsub leader of the human trafficking ring who'd been pretending to be a victim and was about to shoot Rossi.

In season seven, Morgan's summer investigation will lead him to be the first to discover that Prentiss is alive. It's clear that Morgan and Prentiss have an intense emotional connection and is evident when they encounter one another for the first time after Emily is revealed to be alive and they are both practically speechless at the sight of each other. They share a tender moment and a hug and while the others in the team continue to discuss the case, Morgan stares at Prentiss in obvious shock and disbelief. Later, Morgan tells her he was never upset nor does he feel betrayed. In "Dorado Falls", Morgan signs them up for takedown re-certification without telling her and letting her believe Hotchner was responsible. He doesn't want her to know it was him who signed her up because he doesn't want to admit that he needs to make sure she can still take care of herself. Later, he admits to Emily he did it because losing her was "7 months of Hell" and he worried that his fear of losing her would be so great he wouldn't be able to perform properly because he would be worrying about her. She tells him she understands this and agrees to 10 hours of training with a smile stating that his demands of 'a backrub everyday along with coffee' was 'really pushing it'.

In "The Company", Morgan's sister is injured in a car accident after seeing their supposedly dead cousin Cindi. Morgan is forced to confess the lie he told his family in "Big Sea". The BAU reopens her case and discover Cindi has been forced to comply with her abductor for the sake of her child. Morgan and the team ultimately rescue her and the child and reunite her with the family.

Reception[edit]

Morgan was included in TV Guide's list of "TV's Sexiest Crime Fighters".[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (2007). PAPAL TV Year, Volume 1: The Prime Time 2005-2006 Season. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-55783-684-7. 
  2. ^ "TV's Sexiest Crime Fighters". TV Guide. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 

Episode sources[edit]

^E212 "Profiler, Profiled". Criminal Minds. Season 2. Episode 12. 2006-12-13. CBS.
^E214 "The Big Game". Criminal Minds. Season 2. Episode 14. 2007-02-04. CBS.
^E308 "Lucky". Criminal Minds. Season 3. Episode 08. 2007-11-14. CBS.
^E319 "Tabula Rasa". Criminal Minds. Season 3. Episode 19. 2008-05-14. CBS.
^E320 "Lo-Fi". Criminal Minds. Season 3. Episode 20. 2008-05-21. CBS.
^E401 "Mayhem". Criminal Minds. Season 4. Episode 01. 2008-09-24. CBS.
^E405 "Catching Out". Criminal Minds. Season 4. Episode 05. 2008-10-29. CBS.
^E501 "Nameless, Faceless". Criminal Minds. Season 5. Episode 01. 2009-09-23. CBS.
^E309 "Penelope". Criminal Minds. Season 3. Episode 09. 2007-11-21. CBS.
^E604 "Remembrance of things Past". Criminal Minds. Season 6. Episode 04. 2010-10-06. CBS.
^E720 "The Company". Criminal Minds. Season 7. Episode 20. 2012-04-11. CBS.

External links[edit]