Criminal Minds: A.J. Cook Previews a JJ 'Like You've Never Seen Before,' Teases 'Cool' Reveal

This Wednesday’s episode of Criminal Minds (CBS, 9/8c) may be titled “Closing Time,” but it’s also time for one “JJ” Jareau to open up a can of… well, you know, as she takes her profiling game to the next, fierce level. TVLine invited series vet A.J. Cook to preview this latest evolution with her character, as well as tease a reveal that will come out of the hour as well. (Hint: It involves one of JJ’s BAU buddies.)

TVLINE | So, [showrunner] Erica Messer told me that [executive story editor] Rick Dunkle wanted to get you get away from the typical talk-down and more immersed in the action with this episode. Did he succeed on that front?
Boy, did he ever. Yeah, we’re going to see JJ in a way we’ve never seen her before, so I’m really interested to hear what people have to say after this. [Laughs] I had a blast doing it, so…

TVLINE | What kind of case is at hand?
I’m afraid I’m going to give something away, but… there’s this guy who’s trying to get his son back while going through this messy divorce, and he finds out he’s sick, so he is sort of killing people along the way. Things sort of come to a head toward the end where we figure out where he may be, with his son. The team darts off like superheroes, and we all split up, and I find myself face-to-face with this unsub.

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TVLINE | What sorts of firsts did the episode present you with as an actress?
There’s a huge fight scene at the end between me and the unsub, and it’s incredible. I’m a very physical person so I’ve sort of been asking them for a while to get me out there. We also actually find out some interesting things as to what JJ had been up to while she was away [for the back half of Season 6]. There’s a cool little moment between her and one of the other team members where you’re like, “Huh – who knew?!” I really liked that as well, finding out a little more about JJ and her relationship with one of the other team members. Ooh, how’s that for a tease!

TVLINE | Is it that she took, like, Krav Maga lessons with someone during her time away? Or is the fight scene a bunch of clumsy elbows to the jaw?
We’ll have to find out, won’t we? But yeah, it’s ugly…. [Laughs] But she holds her own. She holds her own.

TVLINE | There are photos of JJ with blood all over her – it must get ugly.
I can’t wait until it airs. I’m going to tweet a picture when it gets closer to the airdate, when I have permission. It’s such a great picture, and I’m sure it’s going to spark everyone’s interest as to how she got that way.

TVLINE | Might JJ diving deeper into the more dangerous aspects of the job cause more friction at home with Mr. LaMontagne?
Oh, that’s interesting…. People are starting to get nervous about that, that maybe the two are heading in different directions. We’re definitely going to see [Will and their son Henry] again, and I’m really excited for that storyline to play out, for the audience to figure out what is going on there.

TVLINE | Some people would rather JJ was single and “on the prowl”…
[Laughs] It’s funny because it seems to be split 50-50. There’s the women that love LaMontagne and just want to see him, and then there are these dudes who are like, “Yeahhhh, she needs to be a single woman!” I guess time will tell!

TVLINE | Erica said she doesn’t wish last season’s rash of transitions on any show, but that when all was said and done it gave Criminal Minds a fresh start, seven seasons in. Do you agree with that?
Oh, 110 percent. And particularly for me, because I feel like there was a rebirth of JJ, and it gave us the creative license to maybe change a couple things about her and make her a little richer a character. All of a sudden it was a blank canvas where we could do what we wanted and breathe new life into the show. Everyone was excited that everyone was back together again [for the season premiere], and that’s been a lot of fun for us to play.

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  1. Renee says:

    JJ with a bloody nose. Huh.

  2. Michael says:

    I would just like to point out these is a show about serail killer so its suppose to be dark its not suppose to be like white collar

  3. Get Real says:

    I actually preferred JJ in her role as media liasion, the fact is she was already a defacto profiler…..this season instead of having her own little niche, she’s been fighting for lines with the Reed, Prentiss, Morgan and Rossi…the only thing that has changed is that she now sells her character as having a tougher exterior.

  4. Anon says:

    I don’t know why they’re trying to make her a badass all of a sudden. So she now has excellent hand-to-hand combat skills? Who cares. I wish they hadn’t made her a profiler. I thought she did just fine in her old role.

  5. Woot says:

    GO JJ! Can’t wait to see this!

  6. Birdie says:

    JJ is no longer special. I just don’t get why they felt it necessary to make her a profiler. I don’t see this as growth, she just becomes kind of ordinary and forgettable now because she doesn’t match up to the profilers already there. Really there have been so many missteps this season which is a shame because they had the ENTIRE team back. What a mess from Messer!

  7. Justin says:

    Wow, this should be interesting. I never figured her for the physical type, but hey, I never figured Matt Damon could be Jason Bourne, so I look forward to being surprised! I don’t really see her as a profiler yet, unlike some others, but given what she’s done over the past seven seasons, picking which cases look to be serial in nature, she definitely has the mental prowess to be one, in my opinion.

  8. Kevin says:

    I liked JJ better as the media liason. She stood out then and had a special purpose. Now she’s just another profiler scrapping for dialogue.

  9. Michael says:

    These is great these is what we been asking for

  10. Effie says:

    Although I understand why they felt like they had to make JJ a profiler, I mean they fired her last year because the network believe that the media liaison part was not necessary, I do miss her in her previous role – especially picking and presenting the cases because Garcia is just so so wrong for this role.
    Still, since she already was a quasi profiler, even before she was let go, it’s not so surprising to see her as a full fledged profiler and I like her in that role too. I just wish they also allowed her to keep some of her previous responsibilities.
    And I always thought she was badass – that shot through the glass door at the center of the FBI shield that took down Garcia’s shooter was just awesome…
    So GO JJ!!!

  11. Dora says:

    Can’t wait for some JJ action. AJ Cook is so talented, funny and smart and totally underestimated as an actress. Most of the time she gets reduced to her good looks, but there is so much more to her. With her I always feel she would blow us away if she would only be given the chance to. It’s not going to happen on Criminal Minds, but maybe one day she gets she appreciation she deserves. I would love to see her as leading leading on her own show or in a movie again.
    JJ as a profiler works very well for me, I love that she gets to go out and kick some butt. Looking forward to learn more about her time away.