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Criminal Minds' Morgan Has Killed More Unsubs Than You Think

When "Criminal Minds" fans think of FBI agent Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), the first thing that comes to mind is probably how he's so charming and reliable. If not that, they associate him most closely with his flirty friendship with computer whiz Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) — his "baby girl" — or his brotherly teasing (that gives way to a protective love) for the beloved awkward genius Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). Morgan can be terribly intimidating just as easily as he can be warm and funny, but few will think of him as a cold-blooded killer. And yet, when you stop to analyze the finer details, his kill count is awfully high.

Of course, death pervades "Criminal Minds." It is the thread that ties each episode together, woven in with cruelty and really freaky methods of torture. The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit almost always comes in after a soul has been reaped, but while they certainly prevent further bloodshed at the hands of the killer of the week, they often leave on the heels of yet another death.

When it comes to surviving an encounter with the BAU, the odds aren't great for the unidentified subjects — unsubs — once they have been identified. Nearly half of them die before they are arrested, which surely should raise a red flag by itself, but there is also the fact that not all of the BAU agents employ equally lethal approaches. And lovable Morgan? He's actually one of the worst offenders of all.

Morgan has the second highest kill count on the team

Back in 2015, in search of a pattern, the AO3 user sarcasticsra compiled data about the fate of each unsub through the end of "Criminal Minds" Season 10 (as the final five seasons had not yet aired at that time). Upon deeper analysis, they found that 45.1% of the unsubs in "Criminal Minds" perish — either at the hands of a BAU member, another person, or by suicide. In other words, unsubs only survive to their arrest about half the time.

Of the ones that die, about a quarter are killed by a BAU team member. Hotch (Thomas Gibson) is by far the deadliest one on the team, but Morgan ranks at a solid second place. Of all the unsubs killed by the BAU up to Season 10, Morgan was responsible for 23.8% of them. Together, Hotch and Morgan are responsible for more than half of the BAU's kills.

There's more than just raw data to look at here, as we have to consider the fact that Hotch and Morgan are simply in more episodes than many of their colleagues, including Emily, Blake, and Kate. However, even when user sarcasticsra took the ratio of shots fired to episodes the character is in, Hotch and Morgan are the only ones that attempt — or succeed — in killing the unsub in more than 8% of their episodes. Concerning? Certainly. Surprising? Probably not, when you stop to think it over.

There's a perfectly reasonable explanation here, guys

Of course, when it comes to resolving an episode, the "Criminal Minds" writers want to include plenty of tension, action, and suspense, so they often make the audience worry for the safety of some poor soul who was in the wrong place, wrong time — or simply looked too much like Mr. Evil's abusive blonde mother. Or, perhaps it is one of our gallant heroes who is in danger, raising the stakes for the fans. Either way, at the end of a "Criminal Minds" episode, there is often a life on the line, and the circumstances are carefully written to give the BAU only one option — shoot to kill.

The "Criminal Minds" version of the BAU really should look into their methods, but it makes sense why Hotch and Morgan are the team members who most often shoot first. Garcia usually stays in her office, JJ (A.J. Cook) is the media liaison for the first several seasons, and Reid specializes more in being the resident genius than a great shot. Thus, Hotch and Morgan are often the best suited to lead the team into a dangerous situation, as opposed to simply being more trigger-happy than their teammates. In fact, of all the BAU agents, Morgan is the one who took over for Hotch when the latter temporarily resigned.