As excited as Shemar Moore is for CBS’ Criminal Minds (Wednesdays, 9/8c) to embark on its “quickest, deepest dive” ever into Derek Morgan’s love life, he is well aware that one group of ‘shippers may be watching it unfold through their fingers.
“I’m kind of wary of how the Morgan/Garcia fans are going to take it,” the actor says of tonight’s episode introducing Rochelle Aytes (Mistresses) as Derek’s girlfriend Savannah. “Hopefully they don’t see her a threat, but see this new lady as adding another dimension to Morgan.”
Besides, Moore must note with a laugh, “If Garcia is allowed to have Kevin and other boyfriends, Morgan’s allowed to play kissy-face once or twice.”
Moore says that while Savannah marks a “new relationship, it didn’t start yesterday,” alluded to as it was in this season’s opener. “This is something that’s been ongoing,” he adds, so when we look in on their private time, “There’s an intimacy, and not just in terms of foreplay and kissing. There’s a comfort. There’s a trust. And there is a silliness and a giddiness and a rapport.” (Of Aytes’ casting, Moore says he had “a little input” in her landing the gig. “She can do drama, but then she’s also really funny…. I knew she would bring that element of dignity, of independence, and sex appeal.”)
There however also is a bit of drama on hand, but certainly not the kind Derek deals with on the job. “Savannah is a doctor, so she’s very independent and she’s very busy,” Moore shares. “And there’s a cute scene where Morgan’s all frustrated because we’ve had this really sexy, romantic night, and then she just up and leaves me” to mind a medical emergency. “I’m like, ‘What is that?’ And Garcia says, ‘You just got Morgan’d'” — as in how BAU business can pull him away at any odd hour.
As a result, “You see this humbled side of Morgan, where he has to realize, ‘I’ve met my match. I’ve got somebody on my level,'” Moore says. “That keeps him on his toes, which is exciting.”
But again, how the “Morcia” fans receive it all is yet to be seen. Moore, though, acknowledges Baby Girl and Chocolate Thunder for all that they are, and what they are not. “They’re buddies — like a big brother, little sister thing. The fans have fun asking, ‘When are they going to hook up?’ But if they did hook up, I think it would mess up everything that they’ve built.”
Though Moore does not know where or how far things will go with Derek and Savannah, he appreciates this opportunity to explore his character’s “softer side, a vulnerability that’s not over an issue, not over [his] molestation, not over lack of trust, not over ‘I lost my father.'”
As he points out, “This is the closest I’ve been able to bring Shemar Moore to Derek — I have a lot more fun than he does, because Derek doesn’t have time to have that kind of fun. So I tip my cap to the [FBI profilers] who really do what we portray on television, because it’s a very dark, dark heavy world that really exists out there…. I honestly would never want to do that for a living, but I tip my cap to the people that do.”