In his 11 seasons on Criminal Minds, BAU profiler Derek Morgan became one of the most beloved agents on television. Starting as a seemingly stereotypical jock, Morgan evolved along with the show to deliver a surprisingly heartbreaking backstory that pushed him into being one of the show’s most compassionate & sympathetic characters. And now with a revival on Paramount+ confirmed, we might get to see more of Derek’s antics.
Although he starts the show as arrogant and know-it-all, as he opens up about his past, more of his personality is able to shine through, creating plenty of memorable moments and unforgettable quotes along the way.
“A policeman pulled over a man, and he said to him, ‘Sir, your eyes look bloodshot. Have you been drinking?’ And that man replied, ‘Officer, your eyes look glazed. Have you been eating donuts?'”
Over the course of Criminal Minds, Morgan’s character continued to reveal more and more about his past, including the pain he associated with the loss of his dad, a police officer himself.
By delivering this joke, one of his dad’s favorites, during a speech honoring his dad’s former partner, Morgan finally begins to move past the grief he’s held onto.
“It’s who you are Baby Girl. You see the beauty in everything and every one no matter where you go. That part of you is never going to change, and I won’t let it.”
Garcia spends most of her time behind her desk at the BAU office but when she’s called to Alaska to help, finding a dying man pushes her to a breaking point. Fortunately, Morgan always knows the right thing to say.
A key part of what makes Criminal Minds so popular with audiences is the relationship between Morgan and Garcia (who also has some of the best quotes), with moments like this showcasing the strength of their bond.
“Actually I’m saying you have everything to do with making me who I am. Because of you, I’m somebody who gets to spend the rest of this life making sure guys like you go down.”
In the season 2 episode “Profiler, Profiled”, viewers were finally treated to more background and insight into why Morgan is as intense as he is. The scene where Morgan confronts his abuser, Carl Buford, is still among the most-watched and beloved scenes in the series’ 15 seasons, largely because of the way it affirms everything Derek Morgan stands for.
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After a season and a half of wondering why Morgan was so intense & determined, “Profiler, Profiled” both helped fill in his backstory and helped audiences connect with him even more.
“Feel free to call me if you have any other background questions, my phone number is 702-555-0103, my name is Dr. Spencer Reid, R-E-I-D.”
It would be an unpopular opinion to dislike Morgan and Reid prank war. There are a lot of familial dynamics across the BAU and Reid and Morgan’s brotherly relationship provides many of the show’s more comedic moments. When Reid & Morgan find themselves in a prank war, Morgan escalates it to new heights by giving out Reid’s information to the media during a TV broadcast to discuss the case the team is working on.
If there’s one thing Criminal Minds fans know, it’s that Morgan takes his pranks as seriously as he takes his job.
“You need to go OG: Original Garcia”
When JJ departs the team, Hotch appoints Garcia as the BAU’s liaison and asks her to fill JJ’s position by helping the team manage new cases and coordinating their time in town. When Garcia finds herself out of her element and overwhelmed as she tries to dress and act more like JJ, Morgan comes to the rescue to remind her that she’s helped them solve hundreds of cases exactly as she is and doesn’t need to try harder to fit in or conform.
Morgan and Garcia lean on each other countless times throughout the show, always somehow knowing exactly what the other needs to hear.
“See, my code of survival says never mess with a woman who carries a gun.”
One trope that Criminal Minds managed to avoid is the BAU team becoming romantically involved with one another. After another agent flirts with Morgan in front of Reid, Reid is shocked when Morgan reveals he never follows through on any agents’ advances.
Morgan then shares this advice with Reid, making sure he understands that mixing work with personal life isn’t a good idea when firearms are involved.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned the hard way, the last person you want to tick off is Miss Penelope Garcia.”
Garcia is the tech analyst for the BAU and spends most of her time in front of a wall of computers, when an internet-based unsub murders a woman live while streaming, Garcia takes it personally having witnessed it happen.
With an even more determined Garcia than usual working the case, Morgan knows all too well that this unsub has angered the wrong BAU member.
“I’ll wait for the movie.”
Morgan and Reid have two very different ways of winding down and relaxing, with Reid suggesting Morgan read a book called The Magical Mathematics of Quantum Physics.
Morgan often makes fun of Reid for being a nerd and a bookworm but here he opts for a much more straightforward retort that shows he either doesn’t have the patience (or attention span) to read such a book.
“Hey Sam, we got the bad guy who did this. Sam your father was a hero, don’t you ever forget that.”