Criminal Minds Exclusive: A.J. Cook Returns!

If you spot a Criminal Minds fan doing cartwheels this morning, here’s why: A.J. Cook is heading back to the BAU!

Sources confirm to me exclusively that the beloved Minds‘ alum — whose exit this fall triggered a sizeable viewer backlash — will reprise her role as Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau for one episode this spring.

When last seen, J.J. reluctantly left the BAU to take a job at the Pentagon. It’s not clear what prompts her return or when her episode will air, but I’m told Cook is due back on set this week.

When news broke over the summer that Cook’s contract option was not being picked up by CBS, fans mounted a massive online campaign demanding the network reconsider. What resulted was a compromise: The actress returned for two episodes to tie up her character’s story and give viewers closure.

Might J.J.’s comeback be tied to the looming exit of costar Paget Brewster (Prentiss)? THIS JUST IN: Cook just confirmed via Twitter that she is in fact returning for Brewster’s swan song. I was right! Love it when that happens.

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151 Comments
  1. sam says:

    Well, it does look like they are killing off emily it makes sense as for jj i am guessing she may come back for the funeral or the penegon may tie into it but i think more likely the funeral. As for sever she probably won’t be around long the actress has a deal in place she can leave at anytime if she gets a movie option. The idea of a cadets is not really so much she can ask questions (because they all seem to explain everything anyways) but so it makes sense when she is not on so they can explain the absense. A new agent would be on every episode this way she can come and go

  2. Andrea says:

    TG tweeted a pic of AJ and KV!! Apparently she’s gonna help the team on the case. There were photos of Prentiss on the board behind them.

  3. austin says:

    No don’t even say that I think their both good if u have a mind like n actor

  4. Arinborn says:

    Mandy Patinkin’s departure was apparently his choice. Lola Glaudini, A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster’s exits, appear to be decisions made by the producers. The reasons given have been all the usual cliches – expanding horizons, moving away and etc. The usual suspected cause is money. But could it really be sexism on the part of the show’s producers? All the mysterious departures are the women. All the men stay? Who should be profiling that?

  5. Kristin says:

    I couldn’t not agree more with everyone here. What is wrong with CBS?

    More importantly, why does CBS seem to feel the need to get rid of any show where the main character is a strong female and then on other shows, get rid of the all the strong female characters? What’s up with this obvious bias CBS?

    I love all the characters, yet I loved them mostly as a team. CBS sure knows how to ruin a good thing.

  6. Callie says:

    The show hasn’t been the same since A.J. Cook left and won’t be anything at all once Paget Brewster leaves. I will tune in the night A.J. Cook appears for her ONE episode. The show has been going downhill since they spit up the team with JJ leaving and it will most likely hit the bottom once Emily exits the show as well. Everyone on the BAU team was vital to the show and they all seemed to have chemistry with one another. It’s a shame that when you have a GREAT show like this one was that they even tampered with it. KEEP JJ AND EMILY AS WELL AS MORGAN, HOCH, REID, ROSSI AND GARCIA! Maybe then your viewers will watch again! Viewers told you what they wanted from the beginning and you didn’t seem to care. By the way, your spin off of the show doesn’t hold a candle to the original.

  7. Vern says:

    Can’t. Watch it anymore, they have ruined it completely it sucks !!!

  8. Catherine says:

    All this week there have been so many rumors, it is confusion. One station says Paget has been offered to come back on Serious 7; how can she came back if they kill here off. Then the other rumor
    Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore might not be back, their contracts are up at the end os this season. The Criminal Minds Behaavior Suspet with Forest Whittacker is a real insult to the original Criminal Minds and original cast. The next question is Criminal Minds finished at the end of this season – I HOPE NOT!!!!!!!

  9. bella says:

    paget is leaving the show and aj will be back for that episode. if they are trying to get more viewers, this is certainly not the way to do it. apart from reid, they are two of the best characters and people were so upset when jj left. if they take prentiss away too, it will not be good for the show. although it has already been decided. as long as they dont take morgan, garcia or reid away, it will be ok.

  10. Paul H. Z. says:

    Please bring JJ back permantely, we all like her and her role in the show. Why remove JJ and replace her with Rachael?

  11. Claire says:

    I Love Criminal Minds, I Catn’t Stand Suspect Behavior Its A Waste Of Peoples Time. My Favorite Character Is Definately Dr. Spencer Reid. Hes Awsome! Personaly I Think Paget Brewster Should Stay. And I Think They Should Have Definately NOT Let Go A.J. Cook. Just Like The Guy Said, You Dont Try To Fix Things That Are NOT Broken. I Also Don’t Like The New Girl, Its So Obvious That They Got Her As A Look Alike A.J. Cook. I’m Gunna Still Watch Criminal Minds Though, I Looove Most Of The Episodes. And Thats Why You Should Really Be Watching The Show. But I Also Like A Little But Of Drama…

  12. robert wo says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see AJ show up with her own series. That would be really classy. I s’pose that means CBS will never do it. They’re on the right track with Suspect Behavior, and the show has real potential if the writers and directors can generate the synergy that the original show had. Strange to see Prentiss go, but they’re doing it with real dramatic flair. But I don’t think the show can weather two such losses in the same season. Who knows, though? They recovered from Patinkin’s sudden defection. And other shows routinely kill off characters, notably NCIS. (wish they’d off that putz denozzo). So far I’m not impressed with JJ’s replacement. It’s as if they chose the blandest non-character they could find. Elle’s exit was dramatic and in line with the show’s themes. Emily’s introduction was well written. Prentiss had a presence even before she joined the team. I’d like to think they’ll bring back the style they lost when Gideon left, but I’m not hopeful. These are clueless network suits, after all.

  13. Mom Jeans says:

    Dear CM writers: Please do not kill off Prentiss. Send her for counselling, send her to purgatory, send her to be Sarah Palin’s bodyguard, just don’t kill her! That way she could at least come back if you allowed her to.
    I was stoked to see JJ coming back for the next episode. Maybe you guys could make it permanent (hint, hint).

    And let’s resolve Reid’s headaches by giving him a better haircut. That boy-band hairstyle MUST go.

  14. Megan says:

    Did anyone ever think that they are going to kill everyone that works at the BAU? It could explain why they started another Criminal Minds; suspect behavior ? Does anyone els think they are going to end the entire criminal minds behavioral analyses series?

  15. izazyoi says:

    I love Em but I much rather have JJ back. I don’t know anything about this new girl cause I stopped watching CM after JJ left. I won’t even bother there’s plenty of other shows to watch.

  16. Former CM viewer says:

    It’s a wrap. This show will not be on much longer. The writing has gone downhill, replacing characters, killing characters that are important to the show is a stupid business decision. The spinoff is not necessary and Seaver is and insult to my intelligence. Once I see JJ for the last time and Prentiss is gone, I’m out. Love the guys but to take away the ladies I dont get it. The give crazy Charlie Sheen enough money to kill himself (literally) and they can keep a show on the air with good writers and great cast members. Shame on CBS and you belong at the bottom. Give it one maybe two more seasons and it will be gone. The spinoff, it can go now. Nothing is better than CM.

  17. Jersey Joe says:

    I realize there appear to be many “confirmed” reports that Prentiss is being killed off once and for all and JJ is returning for just on episode, but I’m thinking there’s still reason for hope that both are coming back–for good. For one thing, the narrator of the preview of the next new episode said “one agent DISAPPEARS” while “another one RETURNS.” There’s no real indication of how long in either case. For another, JJ actually appears in that preview, saying “Let’s get to work.” Seems to me she’s doing actual work with the team, and would the producers bring her back to work for just one episode? I hope not. Sure, Prentiss may leave for a while, but maybe for just a while, like Olivia Wilde left “House” for a while to make some movies but is on her way back. The Seaver character is so bland, and something about the way Prentiss looked at her at the end of the episode last night makes me suspicious that she may actually be part of some “top secret” storyline–like maybe she’s spy working for Doyle or something. I don’t know. I just hope Prentiss is staying and that JJ’s back for good.

  18. Kat says:

    The show really needs to get back to how it used to be filmed. Putting the BAU characters at the scene of the crime, teaching the audience about the psychology and behavior of the perp and victim. And less gore and blood. The show has really turned me off this season.

  19. CJM says:

    They just keep messing it up MORE!!! I want them both to stay.

  20. Brian J says:

    I am so happy that AJ Cook will be back even if it’s for one
    episode. The fact that the character Emily will be exiting
    after this season with little promise of her return next
    season, tells me one thing – Good-bye Criminal Minds.
    The spin-off is awful because the characters do not mesh.

    I’m thinking 24 – that show killed off characters left and

  21. Brian J says:

    I am so happy that AJ Cook will be back even if it’s for one
    episode. The fact that the character Emily will be exiting
    after this season with little promise of her return next
    season, tells me one thing – Good-bye Criminal Minds.
    The spin-off is awful because the characters do not mesh.

    I’m thinking of the show 24 – that show killed off characters
    left and right and I finally said Enough!

    Fans tune in to watch a good show but also because they have fallen in love with the characters……………

  22. ace says:

    Since Paget Brewster is leaving bring back AJ Cook.

  23. susan says:

    I’m through watching. You got rid of two key people. The show isn’t the same. Get rid of Rossi while you’re at it. He adds nothing to the show. The only good actors are Penelope, Shemar, JJ, and Emily. The stories are getting boring too.

  24. Jen says:

    I don’t want to watch it now that all of the female characters are gone. Seaver annoys me (and it’s freaky how she looks EXACTLY like JJ like they couldn’t have given her a dye job or something), and now they’ll probably over-focus on Reid.

  25. LISANN says:

    I’m not happy at all. JJ shouldn’t be gone, she was the prettiest, and she was very good. We lost the first brunette and then we lose Paget, and I don’t like that either. Paget was a good replacement, now what? I do love Garcia on both shows, but the new show with Forest, sucks, you can hardly understand him, there’s no cute ones on the show, just a bad cast all the way around except Garcia, and she can’t carry the whole show. Anyway, back to CBS making viewer decisions, just like getting rid of Nicollete Sheridan on Desperate Housewives. Come on, once a show changes characters the integrity of the show changes, and this is the 3rd cast change. Get both the girls back and keep on being the best show on TV in a long time. Cuz if you don’t get them back, it’s gonna start dropping in the ratings.

  26. Me says:

    Emily Prentiss + J.J are my favorite characters in Criminal Minds, i don’t understand why CBS have to get rid of them … With the new substitute characters I believe sooner or later Criminal Minds will be left by its viewers … CBS you are killing Criminal Minds …

  27. hollywood94 says:

    the show is great but when you two of the stongest females in the show go they willed be hard to replaace emilly will be greatly missed write another chacther for her come on cbs ithought you really bigger than that

  28. cheryl says:

    Please, leave criminal mind the way it was I love this show I’m totally hook. They even has me profiling

  29. sammy says:

    So, let’s see if I got this straight; JJ penta…gone from the female cast. Emily Prentiss killed off; then Doyle gets away. Maybe HUGE mistake, is CBS living in the real world? Do the execs @ CBS believe warlocks too ?…I mean REALLY CBS? They all made the show great, I wasn’t this pissed when

  30. sammy says:

    (Continued from last post) When Gideon walked away,I thought the show started heading down hill. I mean Rossi is ok, but Mandy was better in that role. Elle’s departure wasn’t a big deal, she was more eye candy, than a strong persona in her role. Although, if Elle and/or JJ return and/or Prentiss is not really dead, that would be a twist. I have an even better twist Gideon comes back to help solve Prentiss’ murder. Hopefully CBS reads this and listens.

  31. blondie says:

    Every time a character leaves this show, some of its appeal goes with her. I am disgusted with the network for not offering A.J. Cook a contract for the season. It seems networks frequently fail to see the importance of female cast members. It appears the producers believe that they can ax A.J. Cook and replace one blonde with another, as if they were interchangeable. With the loss of Brewster, the show is again losing more of the magic that made the show so popular. I think these cuts are short-sighted and stupid, and I expect the ratings to fizzle. When will network executives realize female actors are not interchangeable?

  32. lalallal says:

    OMG JJ’s coming back permanently!!!! but I don’t really care because I’ve always liked Emily better :'(

  33. GJ says:

    Here in the UK CM is shown during the day on a random channel. We picked up on it by accident in 2012. For fathers day I was bought a box set with 140 hours (16 eight hour days worth!). Starting at the beginning. we often watch 3 end to end. I am totally addicted, These people are my family now. I’ll need investigating soon lol….wheels up in 30.