I'm not in very good shape right now,” declared Shemar Moore, but if that’s the case, then heaven help the rest of the guys on the planet. At 41, he’s got the physique of a guy a decade or two younger. “As I get older it’s getting harder and harder, but it’s part of my image to look a certain way, so I’m holding on,” laughed Moore, whose often physically demanding role as special agent Derek Morgan in Criminal Minds helps on that score. The CBS procedural action-drama series, about an elite team of profilers who hunt down serial killers, begins its seventh season on September 21. The show's longevity is something Moore attributes to the cast's chemistry, smart scriptwriting and a realistic, cinematic feel. "It’s like Silence of the Lambsmeets Seven,” he revealed before a fall preview party at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Tuesday night.
The show’s crimes tend to be grisly, but Moore isn’t fazed. “I know it’s pretend,” said the actor, up for whatever the role requires. “I’d never owned a gun. I don’t like guns. My mother hates that I carry a gun. But I look like I know what I’m doing,” explains Moore, who relates a lot to his TV character. “He’s a tough guy ... you understand why he has the bravado that he has, but underneath all that [he] is a softie with a big heart, and vulnerabilities and insecurities that justify why he’s guarded. His passion comes from a good place but it gets him in trouble.” Moore considers himself just as passionate, physically capable, and slow-to-trust as his character, “but I’m not as tough, not looking for the fight. I get along with everybody. Derek is a little more hot-tempered.”
While Moore didn’t aim to be a role model, “I just know that, in my actions, in my career and my life, people are watching me around the world and are inspired by me, so I am very aware that my choices matter, but I’m not gonna live my life for other people.” His guiding principle? “As long as I stay true to me. If I entertain you, or if I move you to be better, great, or if you say you feel like you relate to me, I feel that’s a better compliment than asking for an autograph.”