Criminal Minds: A.J. Cook Closes Deal To Return

Fans of JJ Jareau fans can rejoice. After a week of negotiations, A.J. Cook has closed a two-year deal to return to CBS’ Criminal Minds as a series regular.

Cook will guest-star in the series’ sixth season finale airing May 18 before re-joining the show full-time in the fall.

For more details on this story and Cook’s history with the hit CBS crime drama, visit our sister site

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  1. ally says:


    JJs presence has really been missed. I’ve especially missed her big sister relationship with Spence and her calming influence on Garcia. Can’t wait to see her back :D

  2. Dbalcer says:

    That has been wonderful news. She has been missed.

  3. D says:

    OMG! OMG! OMG!!!!!!!!
    This couldn’t have made me happier! THANK YOU!
    Now bring back Paget and renew Thomas’ contract!!!

  4. june says:

    What a great news! Now can we get rid of Seaver please?

    • Alicia says:

      YES. Now it would be particularly ridiculous to watch AJ and her cheap immitation interacting onscreen.

      And get Paget back!!!

    • CJ says:

      Yes, PLEASE dump Seaver. She adds nothing to the show. I pretty much tune out whenever she’s on.

      • DL says:

        I actually like Seaver. The writing team just hasn’t given her anything to work with since her debut episode. I do agree that having both her and JJ is redundant, though.

        • Michael says:

          I agree. It’s hard to say whether I like her or not considering that she hasn’t been given much to do. Plus, I think that it’s easy to not like her simply because JJ is loved, as is Paget. It’s frustrating to lose people like them. If y’all remember, there were plenty of people who were hating on Paget when she took the place of what’s=her=name way back in season 3.

  5. Mia says:

    Best news ever! Now all we need is Paget Brewster to come back and everything will be perfect.

  6. Corinne says:

    CBS has make a great decision with this return. I could understand cutting cast for budget members, but then they went and added Seaver, who brings nothing to the table in my opinion. Now they just need to keep Prentiss gone. I don’t think it would bode well for the team if they realized they were duped.

    • Alicia says:

      “Now they just need to keep Prentiss gone. I don’t think it would bode well for the team if they realized they were duped.”


      What kind of ass-backwards “logic” is that? The team wasn’t “duped.” When an individual goes into hiding/witness protection or changes identities/disappears (whatever) they can’t tell people otherwise they’d still be in danger. At least law-enforcement professionals understand this…

      • Corinne says:

        Logic doesn’t rarely outweighs emotions.

        • postsalot says:

          It’s just strange wording on your first post and vulcan-logic on Alicia’s post. The team will be very happy/hurt when they find out Brewster’s xter is alive and JJ & Hotchner didn’t tell them. I expect Reid will understand and Garcia will just be so happy she’s alive, but still there will be some natural resentment.

          Rachel Griffith’s xter will be really ticked no one told her to get her resume together.

          • Corinne says:

            Thank you for wording it on how I meant. I just didn’t get into detail enough. I just thought Morgan especially would be upset, feeling responsible for her death all that time, to just be able to be happy about how they put her into the program. In other shows that have done this, i.e. SVU with Cabbot, people have been upset about being deceived.

          • Jared says:

            Don’t you mean Rachel Nichols? Rachel Griffiths is on “Brothers & Sisters” :P

        • Alicia says:

          JJ and Hotch understand the situation (obviously), Rossi is a protective father-figure to her so he’d get it, while Reid and Garcia would just be so happy to have her back; the only character who might have an issue is Morgan.
          So because one person’s feelings would be hurt Prentiss shouldn’t return? Okay….
          The possible drama of it actually opens the door for an interesting storyline; coming clean, rebuilding trust etc. So there’s a lot of potential if she does come back; not to mention Prentiss is just a valuable character. But oh those pesky emotions…

          • sophie says:

            I follow your logic. Morgan is the ONLY one who is going to be very upset, or even MAD. That’s why I hate Morgan, he takes things too seriously, too personaly. Emily’s “death” is just his fault as it is mine. He wants to ALWAYS be on the center, everything to revolve around him. I couldn’t care less is Shemar’s contract was not renewd (nothing against Shemar), it’s just that I HATE Morgan SO MUCH!
            As for AJ Cook’s/JJ’s return, I’m thrilled. I hope too see something related to the secret she and Hotch have been keeping, in the season finale. I want, at least, one of them talking about Emily, and it would be nice to have someone eavesdropping on that conversation. It could be Garcia and then she would try to track her down and …
            TO BE CONTINUED…

  7. MJ says:

    That is great news! I’m SO happy! The show hasn’t been the same without her.

  8. Barbie says:


  9. Thata Martins says:

    Finally some sense.
    I still cannot believe A. J. is back. I’m so happy with this news.

  10. Jean10brook says:

    Thank goodness – that’s awesome news! Thank you CBS. Now just bring back Paget! Yeah!

  11. xav says:

    So they finally realized breaking up the team for “creative reasons” wasn’t a good move. Now bring back Emily and I can watch again.

  12. Maria says:

    HELL TO THE YEA!!!!!!!!! LOL This is great news!!! Now we just need Paget back and for my boys Thomas and Shermar’s contracts to be renewed bc they have to keep this kick ass cast together!

  13. Corinne says:

    Now we need to get rid of Rachel Nichols (is that her name) the new girl.

  14. Tiffany says:

    YEEEEESSSSS!!! I don’t even have words for this. This is wonderful news!! Now just re-sign Thomas and Shemar and I’ll be on decent terms with CBS again. Bring back Paget and I’ll even consider us reunited friends. ;-)

  15. Gail says:

    Best decision by CBS! Welcome back A.J. to the Criminal Minds family.. she adds so much grace & togetherness to the relationships. Now, Paget needs to return to the family & they can carry on.. Very HAPPY!

  16. shell says:

    YAAAAAY!!! Thats awesome glad shes back!!!

  17. Brian says:

    Yes Yes Yes. This is the best news I have heard all week long. Could not be more happier.

  18. Nicole says:

    This is amazing news. I can’t wait to see AJ back full time again!!! She has been greatly missed!

  19. Nicole says:

    So excited to hear this! Now just get Paget to return and this will be the show I loved again!

  20. Sean says:

    This is the second CBS show where an original cast member leaves only to come back a regular the next season.

    • grant says:

      actually at least the third, CSI has had Sara return after leaving, CSI: Miami has had Eric return and now JJ back to Criminal Minds

      • sophie says:

        YUP! Funny that this only happens on shows that start with the letter C. Who’s next? Melina Kanakaredes comes back to CSI: NY? That would make me start watching it again.

        • carolyn says:

          Please no. I like MK as an actress but the show is so much better with Sela Ward. She improves every show she’s on. Loved sisters, lover her on house. More Sela Ward.

  21. SuperChic says:

    This make me a happy fan. The television gods did a good thing here. Now, can we get rid of Seaver??

  22. Guy says:

    Awesome news. They never should have let her go in the first place.

  23. Angela says:

    I’m beyond ecstatic that AJ is coming back. I missed JJ. I really really hope they sign Thomas and Shemar (I’d hate to get one of my beloved team members back only to lose two more). Also, since the writers have some control over how the characters behave, if Paget came back, there’s no reason why the team couldn’t understand why Hotch and JJ had to lie about Prentiss being dead. There could be initial hurt feelings and anger, but guess what? The writers wouldn’t be physically incapable of having the team work through those feelings. It’s jumping the gun, since there’s no saying she’ll be available, but no, absolutely not, there isn’t any story reason why they couldn’t write Prentiss back on if they wanted.

    And, I’ll go against the tide and say I hope they find a way to keep Rachel Nichols, too. Why not have at least 3 women, as before? (Even better if it could be 4, if Paget could come back, but if and until then, why not 3?) I like Seaver. Besides, I’d hate to think yet another actress gets cast aside. Wasn’t there enough of that last summer? I’d love to see JJ and Seaver interact. Anyway, I would guess that for a large part of season 1, a lot of people would have argued that JJ didn’t bring much to the table. Remember, when the show barely even knew what her job was? And look at the response now? I doubt the same outrage when she left or the same rejoicing now that she’s back would exist after her first 11 episodes.

    They fixed some of what they broke. Now, I hope they don’t break anything else or treat anyone else badly. So, HOORAY for the return of AJ, and no losing any other cast members, please.

    • BT says:

      Even back in season 1 when JJ’s job was barely explained we still got a sense that she was good at it. Seaver brings no level of competence to her job. I think it’s insulting when people think that being female is justification enough to keep a character around and Seaver’s got nothing else going for her. It’s too bad another actress would need to lose her job but it’s time for the show to trim that dead weight.

  24. bklyngirl says:

    YES!!! MY GIRL IS BACK. Hotch and Reid look lost without her, and Garcia is in need of her sister.

    • bklyngirl says:

      Now lose Seaver and re-sign Thomas and Shemar.

      • Mia says:

        Totally agree!

      • Andy says:

        Out of curiosity, why is it that nobody seems to like Seaver? The only recurring argument that I’ve seen is she brings nothing to the table. Of course she doesn’t, yet – she may have graduated the FBI academy, but she’s still getting her sealegs, so to speak.

        • Ashley says:

          Nobody likes Seaver BECAUSE she was a cadet when she started and now a brand-spanking new agent. The BAU is supposed to be an elite squad consisting of experienced field agents (as Rossi stated in S4’s “Masterpiece”) who have developed a speciality in profiling (as Hotch stated in Prentiss’ first episode, S2’s “The Last Word”) and her presence there flies in the face of all that – she’s not experienced or exceptional enough to warrant an exception (like Reid was). Most of the people who stick up for her are defending the actress, Rachel Nichols, rather than the character.

        • Tam says:

          I’ll second what Ashley said above. The show went out of it’s way (several times in multiple episodes) to make a point of how elite the squad is and all the knowledge, experiance, and talent that is required to be a member. Now they bring in someone who wasn’t even a graduate of the academy at the time and make her a BAU agent. I don’t think so. She brings nothing new to the team and doesn’t do a thing that any one of the other team members couldn’t already do 10 times better.

          • Ally says:

            I disagree with all the Seaver bashers. She is an interesting character who has yet to really flourish since her opening episode. The reasoning behind her quick jump into the BAU is because she is a FBI agent who was the product of a serial killer. What better experience is there then living with an unSub as a father. So, in a sense, she is well qualified to work with the BAU and I think there is quite a lot of potential for her character and background to be a fresh angle for the show. Just imagine what meeting her father would be like in a character-based episode. Give her a chance. Prentiss had the same bad press when she arrived on the show!!

          • Ashley says:

            Ally, my father has diabetes but that doesn’t mean I’d be qualified to to jump from being an intern at a prestigious hospital to a top doctor in the same institution immediately after graduating from medical school. Similarly, being the child of one type of unsub the BAU deals with isn’t a good substitute for years of study, training, and field experience. I don’t care to meet Seaver’s father either; the show would just be repeating itself since we’ve already gone through a lot of that emotion in her first episode.

            I resent being labeled a “basher”, which implies I was determined to hate the character and dislike her for no good reason. I gave Seaver a chance when she first started, but she’s been on for over 10 episodes now. How long are we supposed to wait for her to become an interesting, flourishing character? And how is pointing out the inherent flaws in a character and her justification for being on the team “bashing”?

          • Jammer says:

            I find the idea that Seaver is qualified to be on the team because of her father absolutly ludicrous. What possible insight could she have that the other highly trained, qualified professionals with years of experiance in dealing with various types of serial killers not have? It’s a rediculous assumption and the writers are grasping at straws to try and make the story fit so they can bring in a hot, young actress.

  25. Aiden says:

    I am beyond ecstatic for this. Good thing Criminal Minds heads finally righted the wrong! This is great news not only for A.J. Cook but for the actual show as well. She and Paget Brewster just added something to CM that cannot be filled by anyone.

  26. Ogla says:

    I’m neutral on this. However, a few words on Seaver. I think we are privileged to see the stunning Rachel Nichols on TV. So let’s give her a chance.

    • BT says:

      Speaking as someone who is neutral on Rachel Nichols, I think it’s a shame for the actress and her fans that the show didn’t give her a good character to play. The fans of the show might have been “privileged” to see her there if Seaver (again, character and not actress) didn’t suck.

    • Dax says:

      I’ll go ahead and say it. I don’t think Nicholes is a very good actress. She’s not terrible but she’s not that good either and add that to the fact that her character is not very well written and I think she needs to go.

    • Danny says:

      “Privileged” to see her on TV. Why? Because she’s good looking? There are dozens of very attractive actresses on television right now and hundreds more just waiting in line to get on a show. Plus, the two Ladies they had on the show before were already pretty attractive to begin with.

      I know you can’t mean privileged to view her acting skills because she has a long way to go in that department. I’m not saying she’s terrible but there are certainly much better actresses out there right now. As far as I’m concerned the only one privileged is Ms. Nichols herself. She is privileged to get a chance to be on this TV show and now she needs to take this experiance and move on somewhere else.

  27. Dora says:

    Awsome news! Now Thomas Gibson needs a new contract as well and Paget needs a deal were she can do both comedy and Criminal Minds and then the team can kick some UnSub a** again.

  28. Dominique says:

    This qualifies as BEST.NEWS.EVER! So happy she’s back, I love JJ and the show seems so weird without her kindness.
    Now lets get Gibson and Moore those contracts and CM will be rocking it like the old days next season!

  29. mattie says:

    So glad to hear AJ Cook is coming back. Now CBS needs to bring Paget Brewster back as soon as possible; and renew Shemar Moore’s contract.

    Thomas Gibson is the heart and soul and star of Criminal Minds; without him, the hoopla over AJ’s return will be shortlived because CM will fail.

    They need to renew Gibson’s contract ASAP and stop messing around with our cast and our show.

  30. Ashley says:

    This is FANTASTIC NEWS! Now they need to re-sign Thomas Moore and Shemar Gibson, do whatever they have to do to get Brewster back, and get rid of the Ashley Seaver character and maybe the show can get back to the enjoyable procedural/drama it was before the mess that was Season 6. Seriously, Rachel Nichols is a lovely girl who doesn’t deserve to be caught up in all this behind-the-scenes drama, but her character’s presence on the show makes no sense what-so-ever.

  31. mattie says:

    One other thing, CBS needs to get rid of the new girl. She looks too much like JJ, the character is unnecessary and not well thought out. And the actress’ performance comes across as weak, insecure and simply annoying.

    Seven regular cast members are quite enough. Eight would be way too many, especially for a character that has caused so much rancor.

  32. hello says:

    Great news, now renew Gibson and Moores contracts, get Brewster back cancel Suspect Behaviour and everything will be fine in the world of Criminal Minds. Seaver can stay

  33. Tom says:

    Fantastic news. The show has not been the same without the two women who departed . Now they need to get the whole team back.

  34. carly says:


  35. Caroline says:

    Nichols need to stay on. CBS will get so much heat for firing a actress they replaced with an actress that now returns. it spells for an actress “why should i even work for such a dishonest network” they fire you like nothing

    Nichols should be on the show as well it would be the right thing for all

    • Ashley says:

      I don’t think CBS will get much heat if they fire Rachel Nichols, especially now that A.J. Cook is coming back. There’s a difference between firing two actresses who’ve been on the show for years and play characters that most of the audience loves and firing one actress who’s been on for less than a season and plays a character that a majority of the fans hate or are indifferent to. It was a mistake to bring the character of Seaver on the show in the first place and leaving her there just for the sake of not letting someone else go isn’t the right thing for anyone.

    • Sky says:

      I don’t know, I think how they originally handled the AJ and Paget situation would bother an actress more than seeing a network try and make up for a mistake. Plus, as you can tell by the majority of post on this board, I think they will get waaaaaaaaay more praise for the decision than heat.

  36. Sarah says:

    Best news ever, I’m watching Criminal Minds again, now they only need to bring Paget Brewster back and it’ll be amazing.

  37. Kim says:

    Wonderful news! I will watch the show again.

  38. mandy says:

    Now all we need is for Paget’s ridiculous pilot on NBC to fail and she cane come back too.. Thank goodness it is NBC so it will never see the light of day….

  39. Dave says:

    AJ Cook FTMFW !!!!!!!!!! Damn baby, great news!

  40. RvE says:

    That noise you just heard is all the true “Criminal Minds” fans whooping in unison. :)
    GREAT news!!

  41. LDSK says:

    This is fantastic. I’m so glad that JJ is returning.

  42. alex-JJ says:

    Now all CBS needs to do is pull their heads further out their asses and rehire Paget so i can start rewatching Criminal Minds without sighing

  43. Ember says:

    Woo Hoo!!! This is great news. I guess I can start watching Criminal Minds again.

  44. JJ Fan says:

    So excited to have her back…and just when the team needs her the most. Here’s a thought, an easy way to find more stuff for JJ to do is have her start learning to be a profiler. The new girl has absolutly no training and they took her on so why not let JJ try. She’s been around the team long enough and picked up enough stuff that she could certainly do a better job than Seaver.

  45. Brooke says:


    I can’t begin to tell anyone how long I have waited for this amazing news! I knew it was just a matter of time and I this has made my next two years: for however long JJ is on Criminal Minds. The show fell apart in my eyes (and I know I’m not the only one) without her.

    AJ Cook is an amazing actress and an amazing idol.

    My excitement has reached an all new high :D :D :D

  46. Renee says:

    About damn time. Finally someone is using the head on their shoulders.

  47. davej says:

    YAY!!! Happy dance, happy dance!!!

    You could tell the first minute she was on Prentiss’s final show how badly she was missed. Thrilled to hear this.

    About Seaver, the Jodie Foster / AJ Cook gene splice expriment – as a fan, I didn’t like her because she replaced one of my favorites on the show. Frankly, I would have hated anyone who stepped into that role unles they were gorgeous and the best actress in the world AND had good material written for her.

    Now, I hope Paget Brewster’s pilot is not picked up so she can come back. The plot would be so simple – the team will go after the guy who killed her (Liam?) and will cross paths with Prentiss as they watch her kill him. After he is dead, she will be able to return to the BAU.

    As far as the other contract negotiations go, IMO Thomas Gibson must stay but Shemar Moore is expendable.

    BTW, in semi-related news, I have stopped watching CM:Suspect Behavior because it didn’t offer me anything – heck, other than more fun moments with Penelope Garcia, it offers me nothing.

  48. Laura says:

    YAY!!! I have had to stop watching the show — I LOVE LOVE LOVE the characters, but the story line (by definition) is all about the worst of the worst of human behavior, and I found it very hard to keep seeing depravity week after week… but J.J. was AMAZING, and was sorely missed.

  49. larissa says:

    CBS have finally realised one of their mistakes i see. now they just need to realise the other one.
    this is amazing news, the show hasn’t been the same without her.

  50. JKS says:

    Outstanding news! I will now officially start watching CM again on May 18th.