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Why Criminal Minds Fans Didn't Love Morgan In Early Seasons

After airing its pilot episode all the way back in 2005, "Criminal Minds" became an instant hit with crime television fans. Centered around the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit as they study and capture the world's most notorious serial killers, it quickly became a candidate for one of the best crime drama series of all time. Much of the show's success can be attributed to excellent casting and the chemistry between many of its main characters. During Season 1, The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) consisted of Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook), and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness).

Through the first couple of episodes, the audience is introduced to the hierarchy and dynamics of the BAU. Gideon and Hotch run the team, Garcia covers the technical needs, Reid provides crucial analysis, JJ provides organizational ground support, and Morgan provides what is essentially the muscle. It's clear that Morgan is intended to be a certain kind of character on the BAU from the start — a sort of "male agent" archetype that fans have seen before on other shows, and some of them aren't really buying it in 2021.

Derek Morgan kind of stayed arrogant

According to a thread on Reddit, Derek Morgan started out as a very unlikeable character for most fans, especially when juxtaposed with innocent and lovable geniuses like Garcia and Reid. User CMStan1313 noted that some of Morgan's initial interactions with the team were often rude and even offensive. Morgan suggested that Elle should "show a little more leg" in order to get respect around the office, and projected a dismissiveness and arrogance toward many other members of the BAU

User GlitteringThought650 concurred, "I think the writers were trying to pin him that way as the jock, handsome, stud type womanizer and as time went on they were able to soften him and adjust him especially after his big Chicago episode reveal," they wrote.

CMStan1313 also wrote they noticed that the writers were probably trying way too hard to paint him as the "macho man" of sorts.

Some fans, like Redditor LittleMsFanGirl, even went as far to say that Derek Morgan is their least favorite character. They said that initial arrogance and subtle sexism made its way back in later seasons, with Morgan acting considerably cocky toward Hotch and the rest of the BAU team, even going as far as to slut shame actress Agent Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster). 

Multiple fans in the thread agreed with the LittleMsFanGirl, noting that upon rewatch, they came to like Derek Morgan less. With the show now over after a 15 season run, Morgan is left without a chance to redeem himself for these viewers.