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Derek Morgan

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Main Character
S10 - DM 1
Name Derek Morgan
Gender Male
Birth Date June 6, 1973[1]
Family Unnamed father (deceased)
Fran Morgan (mother)
Sarah Morgan (sister)
Desiree Morgan (sister)
Yvonne Burns (aunt)
Paul Burns (uncle; deceased)
Cindi Burns (cousin)
Anthony Ford (first cousin once removed)
Unnamed grandmother (likely deceased)
Job BAU Special Agent
Former Chicago police officer
Rank Supervisory Special Agent
Acting Unit Chief (temporarily)
Specialty Obsessional crimes
Status Alive
Portrayed By Shemar Moore
Jordan Aaron Carroll (young; Profiler, Profiled and Restoration)
Sterling D. Ardrey (young; Brothers in Arms)
First Appearance Extreme Aggressor

"I study guys like you for a living, I know more about you than you know about yourself."

Derek Morgan is a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. For a time, he was the acting unit chief of the BAU, taking over as Hotch stepped down temporally. He specializes in explosives, fixations, and obsessive behaviors.


Morgan is the son of a mixed marriage consisting of an African-American father and a Caucasian mother. During high school, Morgan was popular from his sophomore year to graduation; he confided to Reid that during his freshman year, he got his "ass kicked every day". He went to Northwestern University on a football scholarship and is a honor graduate in Law, holds a black belt in Judo, runs FBI self-defense classes, served in a bomb squad unit, and worked as a Chicago police officer. He and his two sisters, Sarah and Desirée, grew up in a tough Chicago neighborhood. The three of them were close to their paternal aunt Yvonne and cousin Cindi, whose house they would stay at whenever their parents were working.

At the age of ten, Morgan was a witness to the shooting death of his father, a police officer. 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. 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).


Morgan's personality has changed dramatically several times during the course of the series. At the beginning of Season One, Derek appears to be an overeager attention getter, wearing three-piece suits and constantly quoting regulations and being the only member of the team who understood Reid's "jokes". His personality would then shift to a suave, ladies man-type before finally settling in to the serious, grim-faced agent that he is today, especially following his temporary promotion to Acting Unit Chief. However, he still maintains the suave attitude towards women, only in a more mature fashion. He has shown to be very flirtatious towards Penelope Garcia.

On the Job


Morgan in the field during a terrorist strike

Years later, in Profiler, Profiled, 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 Garcia was uncomfortable doing. 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 Carl, 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 Carl and that the latest victim knew about it. Morgan confronted Carl, who initially denied that anything happened between them, and told Morgan the other boy was lying. Refusing to back down (and wishing that he had told someone about Carl when he was a kid), Morgan eventually got Carl to admit to the abuse. Carl's admission was overheard by Chicago detectives (who were hiding nearby), and they arrested him. Carl pleaded with Morgan to help him, and Morgan simply told him, "You go to hell."

In the episode Lo-Fi, it is told that he is being looked at to replace SSA Kate Joyner and head up the New York field office. In Mayhem, Hotch doesn't recommend him because he said that Morgan doesn't have enough trust in his coworkers. In Catching Out, he chases the unsub to a train where he hangs on for dear life and the killer tries to knock him off. Finally, Hotch shoots the killer and saves his life.

In Omnivore, Morgan comes very close to being killed by The Reaper. The Reaper tackles him through a window and Derek is rendered unconscious. Since The Reaper is a power/control type killer, Morgan's unconscious state was a turn off and The Reaper spared him, leaving behind a .44 Magnum round to let him know that he easily could have killed him. He also took Derek's credentials.

In Cradle to Grave, Hotch tells Morgan that he is stepping down as Unit Chief and, in order to keep the team together, by promoting from within the Unit, would like Derek to be Unit Chief.

In The Eyes Have It, Morgan is successful in his first case as Acting Unit Chief. At the end of the episode, he is given his own office, which was acquired after JJ and Garcia had pulled some strings when its previous occupant, one Agent Hall, was set to retire soon.

In Our Darkest Hour, Morgan was attacked by a serial killer who killed Detective Matt Spicer in front of his eyes. At the end of the episode, Morgan and Spicer's sister had to watch as the unsub abducted Spicer's daughter, with Morgan vowing "We will find you, you sick son of a bitch." In the episode's follow-up, Morgan is able to rescue Spicer's daughter and kill the unsub.

In Lauren, Morgan was angry with Prentiss for never telling the team of her past with Ian Doyle and the extents to which she went to get his profile. However, he was also extremely worried about her and was the agent who found her moments after she was stabbed by Doyle. He blamed himself for her 'death', and reacted badly when told that she was alive. However, he recovered from the shock quite quickly but later falsely told her that she had to undertake recertification training. When she confronted him about lying, he told her that he didn't want to lose her again and needed some reassurance. They then agreed to meet up for ten hours of training.

In Painless, Morgan engaged in a practical joke 'war' with Reid, giving Reid's phone number to the press. Non-stop calls irritated Reid until he eventually lost his temper and yelled into the phone at one of his callers. On the plane, it is revealed that Reid hacked his MP3 player so that Morgan couldn't turn it off and could only hear Reid screaming and Reid hacked Morgan's phone so that he thought Garcia was calling, only to hear more screaming. Impressed, Rossi waves a white cloth as a signal that Morgan should surrender, but he refused, insisting that it was over before telling Reid that "payback's a bitch".

In Restoration, Morgan is forced to confront his demons regarding Carl when a spree killer appears in Chicago and is revealed to be one of Carl's former victims. He goes to Carl for information about all of the victims he molested and is taunted briefly by him on two occasions. However, Carl agrees to give him a list of his victims after Morgan threatens to tell the other inmates (who are only aware of Carl's murders and not his pedophilic tendencies) about the true nature of his incarceration. When Rodney Harris is identified as the unsub, Morgan approaches him as he holds his own family hostage. He reveals to him that he too was molested by Carl and manages to convince him to surrender. At the end of the episode, Morgan learns, to his shock, that Carl was killed by other inmates, who had seen a news report revealing Carl's true crimes.

In The Return, it is revealed that Morgan got a girlfriend prior to Season Nine, named Savannah Hayes, who is his neighbor and works as a D.C. nurse. However, their relationship was shown to be strained due to the demands of their jobs.

In Angels, Morgan is shot twice by a suspect. In Demons, the follow-up to Angels, it is revealed that both of the bullets that hit him struck his bulletproof vest, although he then receives a graze wound to the arm while he was engaging the suspect, whom he manages to kill.

Penelope Garcia

Derek shares a special relationship with Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia. In Penelope, Derek's love for his "Baby Girl" was evident as he stayed by her side protecting her and caring for her during her recovery. Penelope's love for her "Hot Stuff" and "Gorgeous" (as she calls Derek) was also evident in Mayhem and Lessons Learned as she sat with her face full of fear and terror at the thought of losing him. Derek and Penelope have had no romantic involvement, but the deep love they share is proof positive that they have a life long bond because neither one can survive without the other. They have a sibling-like bond.


  • His original sidearm was a Glock 17 with a TLR-2 Streamlight laser/flashlight combination attachment. By Season Six, he switched to a Sig Sauer P226R with a TLR-1 tactical light attachment. He also carries a Glock (possibly a 26 model) at his ankle as a backup.
  • Morgan was originally named "Tim" (Compulsion).
  • He was undercover for two years (Natural Born Killer).
  • Morgan's favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut, with his favorite Vonnegut novel being Mother Night (Fear and Loathing).
  • He usually kicks down the doors and storms in.
  • Began to once again believe in God right before Garcia was shot and was praying in a church as she was being operated on.
  • In a deleted scene from Damaged, Morgan claims to Prentiss that he does 1,000 sit-ups a day when working out, sometimes twice a day.
  • He owns four properties and enjoys remodeling them in his spare time (A Higher Power).
  • He is a fan of Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, and Walter Payton (Elephant's Memory). His admiration of Payton was to the point where he disapproved of a pimp using Payton's nickname (Protection).
  • He finds out that he likes mojitos and enjoys South Beach while on vacation.
  • He has a dog named Clooney, who is not mentioned in any later episodes (Secrets and Lies).
  • He grew up in an area with a high crime rate (A Thin Line).
  • He is a fan of hockey, but doesn't like baseball (I Love You, Tommy Brown).
  • He has posed nude for an art class on at least one occasion (I Love You, Tommy Brown).
  • He once considered suicide after being molested by Carl (Foundation).
  • He is a fan of the rapper Nas, considering everyone who can't quote "Illimatic" as ignorant. (#6
  • The background story of his sexual abuse which prompted him to join the FBI was based on the real life experiences of former BAU member and current writer/consultant, Jim Clemente.
  • He is a friend of former Dallas Cowboys player Michael Irvin ('Til Death Do Us Part).

Behind the Scenes

Derek Morgan is portrayed by former soap actor Shemar Moore.


  1. Profiler, Profiled

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