Rochelle Aytes Gives New Details on 'Criminal Minds' Romance on 'S.W.A.T.'

Shemar Moore and Rochelle Aytes first won over fans’ hearts as Special Agent Derek Morgan and Dr. Savannah Hayes on Criminal Minds, and although that romance has been absent from the screen since 2016, a new romance is sparking on S.W.A.T. On the CBS crime drama, Moore’s Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson recently met Aytes’ Nichelle, his possible love interest, in the Nov. 13 episode, a reunion that Aytes told TV Insider was long in the making.

“A lot of fun!” Aytes told the outlet. “It was so easy working with Shemar on Criminal Minds. There was already this sense of comfort and familiarity between us. We fell back into it even though it was totally different characters.

According to Aytes, who joined S.W.A.T. in a recurring role, although they are familiar with each other, there are plenty of differences between the relationship she and Moore portrayed on Criminal Minds and the one being forged on S.W.A.T.

“In Criminal Minds you didn't see this part of the relationship: meeting and courting. I love that — seeing the beginning,” Aytes said. “You get to see the courting in this one. For sure Nichelle is skeptical of Hondo because of his reputation. That's the biggest difference.”

Noting that the fan reaction to the reunion has been “awesome,” Aytes confessed that fans shouldn’t be holding out hope that things move quickly between Hondo and Nichelle, as they are in “the honeymoon phase.”

“Right now it's just easygoing. We're happy. We're falling for each other. It's the honeymoon phase. Will the boat rock later? I don't know,” she said. “She's doing her research! Look, he's a player, right? To raise his grade he'd have to prove that he's just not in it for the hit it and quit it. You know what I'm saying? These two are grown folks. The truth is in time. How much time is he going to really put into this, if he really wants a relationship? It's going to be more than just sleeping with her for sure.

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The actress, whose other credits include Mistresses, Designated Survivor, and The Purge TV series, added that there is “a little bit of romance going on” and that she “would love (for Nichelle) to meet Hondo’s parents.”

New episodes of S.W.A.T. air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. The 15th and final season of Criminal Minds premieres on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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