Fall TV Preview

Criminal Minds: A.J. Cook Teases a JJ Twist That's 'Going to Raise Some Eyebrows!'

Criminal Minds Season 9 PreviewThere’s gonna be a new sheriff — or, you know, section chief — in town shortly after CBS’ Criminal Minds opens Season 9 (premiering tonight at 9/8c), and with him comes the answer to some big questions (as well as some new mysteries) about Agent JJ Jareau. A.J. Cook shared with TVLine a look at the coming season, which promises to drop intel on many of the characters we (think we) know and love. Plus: Which familiar faces are returning?!

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TVLINE | From everything I hear, it’s pretty much B.A.U. at the BAU when Season 9 opens up. Were picking up where we left off, essentially. Hotch has stepped in to the acting section chief, since we lost Strauss, so we have that to figure out. But yeah, were jumping right back in, catching the bad guys!

TVLINE | Talk about what Camryn Manheim (The Practice) is doing in the first two episodes. She plays the mother of the UnSub, and it turns out she is very protective over her son – her son who happens to be killing women who look like his ex-girlfriend. It’s a two-parter [continuing Oct. 2),and Camryn is just great — it was lovely to have her on our set.The Inspiration

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TVLINE | Esai Morales joins the cast in the fourth episode, “To Bear Witness,” as new section chief Mateo Cruz. Erica Messer told me that with his arrival, we’ll to get some insight into the year JJ was away. Did you ever have questions about what she was up to during that “missing” time? I’ve always gone to the writers asking about who JJ is, so it’s really exciting for me that we’re going to get some answers. Season 9 is really about learning more backstory for all of our characters, and we’ll be doing a lot of that in a flashback format. But yeah, JJ’s getting a little attention because we just don’t know too much about her — and there is this “connection” between her and our new section chief, and that’s going to raise some eyebrows. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Did anything surprise you about what they’re doing with JJ? I am always up for anything. And to be honest with you, I don’t know the full story yet; I’ve only heard the broad strokes and little pieces here and there, but it sounds amazing. But the thing that’s amazing about our 200th episode [airing midseason] in particular is how JJ’s storyline in that sixth season is going to intertwine with pretty much all of our main characters. Our writers are brilliant — the wheels are turning and the sky’s the limit. Rick Dunkle, the writer [for 200], keeps dropping all these crazy hints and it’s killing me! It’s going to be action-packed, and it will be really cool to look back on Season 6 and be like, “Oh my gosh, I remember that. It all makes sense now!”

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TVLINE | Regarding these flashbacks, Erica told me that in one episode we’ll see when Garcia first met Hotch. Is anything else concrete in the books? I don’t know all the details, but I think we’re all going to be getting a flashback story. We’re going to be doing a bunch of flashback and dream sequence-type of deals this year.

TVLINE | Are there any questions about other characters you want to see answered? We do a pretty good job with blending the procedural of it all and the character development, but there’s always room for more character stuff. I feel like there are a lot of questions. I feel like Jean[ Tripplehorn]’s character, Blake, we don’t know much about at all.

TVLINE | And before we go, one last tease about Season 9…. Oh, man…. We’re going to see a lot of familiar faces. [Gasps]

Want more scoop on Criminal Minds, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. F.M. says:

    “We’re going to see a lot of familiar faces.” In dream-like scenes and flashbacks, including Paget!

  2. Lynn says:

    Paget is trolling people on Twitter about appearing in the 200th episode so I’m 99% sure she’s returning (most likely in flashbacks) for that episode. Can’t wait!

    And love AJ/JJ.

    • Aimee says:

      Well, if the episode is all about how JJ intertwined with the other characters in season 6 then it makes sense that Emily (Paget) would be a part of that. I hope that is the case.

    • Angela says:

      That’d be awesome :D. I’m really excited for the 200th episode in general.
      And I’m excited about the backstory stuff in general for the team. The characters and their lives are the big reason I personally watch this show, so I’m looking forward to learning more about certain parts of their pasts in general.
      I’m also happy that JJ’s going to get such a big storyline. I’ve always liked her, and I like the idea that they’re choosing to delve more into what she was doing while away during season 6. How the whole thing with the new section chief will play out, that I don’t know, and I can certainly understand fans’ hesitation about that storyline, given the hints about his relationship with JJ. Even so, though, this should be interesting.
      Also a good idea to dig a little deeper with Blake, too. I don’t mind her, but it would be nice to learn more about her-and maybe once we do, the fans might embrace her a little more as a result. Who knows?
      Anywho, not much longer until the premiere! Can’t wait-good to have the show back!

      • Amber says:

        I am excited about the 200th episode too. I like A.J Cook I know so much about her. A.J’s full name is Andrea Joy Cook. I like that name. My second choice is Paget Brewster.

  3. cas says:

    As long as it isn’t something stupid like she cheated on Will, because Will is amazing!!!

  4. Dave says:

    Any chance Gideon re-appears, I wonder?

  5. That the 200th episode is JJ-centric is more than I could ever have hoped for. I’m over the moon <3

    • +1 I’m already so happy that the 200 episode is JJ centric. That is so awesome to me. Now with Paget being there as well? seriously omg. This is gonna be so incredible! the 200 episode is gonna be one hell of an episode.

    • Amber says:

      Do you like J.J because I do. I like A.J Cook better. That is J.J’s real name. I can’t wait untill the 200th episode of criminal minds either. I heard that Emily Prentice is coming back too. I hope forever. Emily is my second favorite person on criminal minds. How often do you watch criminal minds? Who is your favorite person on there? I like J.J. Did you know that J.J’s real name is Jenifer Jereau.


    • chazzmatt says:

      Has her contract been renewed? Hope this episode isn’t the excuse to ship her off again. Like she has unfinished business with some other agency.

  6. LDSK says:

    I’m glad they are finally focusing on JJ’s year away if only so they can answer this question: When she was forced to leave the BAU they said it was because the Pentagon wanted her. However, when she came back to help with Emily’s disappearance, Hotch said they were getting help from someone at the State Department. Which is it? Or, if both are true, what the heck happened that she was moved twice in one year?

    • chazzmatt says:

      I think the inconsistencies were just bad writing. She was supposed to go off to be media liaison or something at a higher level. But it was an excuse for the producers to boot her off the show Fans protested. She came back, but couldn’t have the same job as that would be a “demotion” from wherever she went. Now they are trying to pretend she was some sort of investigative agent during that time.

  7. Helvetica says:

    Is the formatting on this article weird just for me or is anyone else seeing this too? No spacing.

  8. eds says:

    Ugh. Love Criminal Minds but do not care for JJ. No disrespect to JJ/AJ fans, but the more they talk about this being a JJ-centric season, the less enthusiastic I am about Season 9. Excited to see Prentis though.

    • Mari says:

      So I’m not the only one? I liked her well enough before she left for the year, but the year away . . . Yeah. the only good thing abut her coming back was they got rid of the blonde intern agent.

    • Tav says:

      You’re not alone, she’s always been a pretty bland character. I’m also stoked to see Prentiss return, I just hope it won’t be entirely in flashbacks. It’d be great to see her reconnect with the team in present day.

  9. Anyone else noticed the “JJ Jareau” thing? anyway, thanks for interviewing the lovely A.J. Cook and giving us this info. I’m really looking forward to the new season, so excited to be finding out more stuff about the characters – especially JJ. Season 9 sounds fantastic! can’t wait to get started.

  10. GS says:

    I’m down with everything she said except finding out more about Blake. They could find that character in a ditch and I honestly wouldn’t give a flying flip. She brings nothing to the ensemble and is dull and boring. That said, I can’t wait for my show to be back tonight!

  11. Ella says:

    I want Paget back :( CM hasn’t been the same without her.

  12. Lola says:

    Something struck me as odd with JJ. During the episode “the final shot” about the man who wanted his wife dead, when they mentioned giving women who entered the facility new identities, JJ had a weird look on her face. And she even looked wary/worried when the unsub was able to gain access into the records.

    I think she has some sort of history and some of that has to do with a false identity. Maybe she had to do something similar before, and she was able to help emily on a more personal level, since she has personal experience in living a double life. Maybe cruz was watching over her there or knew about her double identity–so i think thats the relation between JJ, emily, cruz, and her odd reaction at the women’s facility in episode 3 of season 9.

  13. Shelly Daybutch says:

    I would like to know what happened to J.J’s husband and little boy? They were married at the end of last season.

    • chazzmatt says:

      The little boy they show is AJ’s real son. The husband couldn’t care less about. AJ got pregnant a few years ago and they had to write it into the series. As she wasn’t married, they gave her a romantic interest and then husband. Hate the actor, looks too much like Sean Pean. She deserves better.

  14. Denise says:

    So what happened to J.J.’s husband, she now talks about having 2 boys but seems to be involved with Cruz????

    • Angela says:

      She’s still married to him. People just thought there might be something between her and Cruz, but there wasn’t. They just worked together.