Over the years, Criminal Minds fans have shipped several couples within the BAU. Perhaps no fanbase was as fervent as the one for Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) and Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness). The “Morcia” fans always thought the two of them would get together. So, with the series finale airing Wednesday, February 19, did the Morcia fans finally have something to celebrate?
Read on for details, but be warned of spoilers from the series finale, “And in the End.”
There is no Morcia, But Maybe There’s a Garvez
When Moore left the show in 2016, Vangsness admitted that Penelope was definitely in love with Morgan but it wasn’t something she even knew about herself until faced with his departure.
“If someone had asked me last year, ‘Are they in love with each other?’ I would have been like, ‘No, they just have a very unique relationship,’” Vangsness told WetPaint at the time, adding, “I didn’t know until I was [writing] this scene that Penelope Garcia has been head-over-heels, totally in love with him and has been just waiting. And she didn’t know! She’d just been a good friend and doing what she does. That realization comes of, ‘Oh my god.’”
Alas, there was no surprise cameo in the series finale where Derek showed up and swept Penelope off her feet. Showrunner Erica Messer has been telling fans all season that they couldn’t make it work to get Moore back, but you just never know if a show has managed to keep something like that a secret until the final credits roll.
So at Rossi’s retirement party where everyone was also saying goodbye to Penelope, who was leaving the BAU to start working at a non-profit, there wasn’t a romantic interlude with Derek. But there was a romantic interlude with someone else.
As the party was winding down, Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) walked up to Penelope and adorably asked her, “So, since we’re not going to be working together anymore, I was wondering if I could take you to dinner?”
She got all flustered as she said “yeah” half a dozen times and then they smiled at each other, so it looks like the show has left fans that little romantic morsel.
Maybe if there’s a TV movie, Garvez will be happily dating — or even married by that point!
BAU Romances Were Never in the Cards
It was telling that Alvez waited until Penelope was leaving the BAU before asking her out. That was an edict of the writers’ room from the very first season — no inter-office romances.
“One of the early rules on the show was let’s not get any of these characters involved romantically, because then the show becomes about that,” Messer told Parade in a pre-season interview. “I would argue in some ways that’s okay. Like on The Office, Jim and Pam, you were cheering that on the whole time and it was a huge part of that series. But when you’re fighting crime for a living, it can sometimes muddy the waters, and so we always wanted to keep it clean.”
She did admit that the writers saw the fun in rooting for Morgan and Garcia or Hotch (Thomas Gibson) and Prentiss (Paget Brewster) or JJ (A.J. Cook) and Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) to get together, but they just didn’t want to go down those paths — especially with JJ and Reid because a lot of the writers’ room considered those characters to be more like siblings than possible romantic partners.
But the Garvez moment definitely helps to end the series on a hopeful note, which is what Messer said they were going for.
“There was a lot of talk of do we want to end the series hopeful or do we want to end the series tragic? Our show has had so many of both of those things. Ultimately, … we wanted it to feel the way we did, which was bittersweet. I think we succeeded. It’s saying goodbye to the characters that you love, but you want to believe that they’re still out there.”