From an outsider's perspective, the relationship between Criminal Minds'
Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) could be seen as strange or inappropriate -- but the audience knows better.
The friendship between these two characters is always entertaining and one of the highlights of the series. From their flirtatious banter to their over-protectiveness, Morgan and Garcia just get
each other. Morgan makes it his life's work to protect his golden goddess, and Garcia goes out of her way to make him smile. The snarky conversations between this duo are a vital component of the series and we would not have it any other way.
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One thing that stands out in the Morgan/Garcia relationship is that jealously does not play a factor. When Garcia warned Morgan not to get involved with a victim's family member, it was not out of jealously, but genuine concern that Morgan (and the woman) could be hurt by the situation. The same can be said of Morgan's reaction to the UnSub who flirted with Garcia. Morgan wanted to protect his friend from falling for the wrong person, not prevent her from having a relationship. Morgan and Garcia can have love interests (after all, Garcia has had a steady boyfriend for several seasons now) minus the jealousy and without losing the connection they have.
Another thing that sets this relationship apart is the realization of just how much these two have in common, despite surface appearances. It is obvious that Morgan and Garcia are both flirts, with no lack of self-confidence, but their similarities do not end there. Both characters are focused on their work, but try to infuse some humor and playfulness into the job whenever they can, knowing how the darkness of their cases can weigh them down. Morgan and Garcia are both prone to getting overly invested in the cases the team takes on, perhaps more so than their colleagues. Morgan seems to bond with every child the team comes into contact with and Garcia works with victims and their families, even in her off-hours. And finally, both characters are fiercely loyal to the people they care about and take it as a personal offense when someone targets anyone on their team.
Though some members of the show's audience would like to see the characters together romantically (the most vocal of these viewers are usually known as 'shippers'), the show has kept their relationship strictly platonic. The actors have excellent chemistry together and the subtext is certainly there, so why have the writers resisted exploring anything romantic between the characters? Is it due to a belief that romance should not be part of the team dynamic, or is there concern that the series may alienate some viewers by pursuing this very unconventional pairing? Would you like to see Morgan and Garcia take their relationship to the next level, or do you think they are better off as friends and co-workers?
(Image courtesy of CBS)