Criminal Minds Review: Farewell, J.J.

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The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit has always seemed like a family, making the departure of A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds even more controversial than a typical TV casting move.

Wednesday, the family bid farewell to agent Jennifer Jareau in the fittingly-titled "J.J." Like Cook's many fans, Hotch and the rest of the BAU didn't seem too happy about it, either.

After shining in last week's season premiere, Cook did so again last night in her swan song, an emotional sendoff that probably overshadowed what was a typically solid episode.

Hotchner and JJ

Hotch is not pleased about the DOD poaching JJ.

The team is called in when a girl, Kate Joyce, is reported missing on vacation in Atlantic Beach. Her friends say she never returned to her hotel after leaving the club with two guys.

Syd and Jim are suspected of harming Kim but aren't talking and it's been days. The clock's ticking before the two, who haven't been charged, are released. The team goes to work.

Morgan interrogates Syd and downplays him. Prentiss let's Jimmy see Syd getting food, and determines he's just a follower in all this. Hotch notices Jimmy's depersonalizing Kate.

But the big breakthrough comes from J.J.

Looking at pictures, she notices Kate's phone, which was found in her room, in the back seat of the car. This is the catalyst that leads them back to the room and on to the inlet.

It turns out Jimmy didn't kill Kate, but he did leave her in the water. Fortunately, she's found alive, clinging to a buoy, and at the hospital, her dad praises J.J. for saving his life.

Meanwhile, the Department of Defense tells J.J. she has must leave. Like Criminal Minds fans petitioning for Cook to stay, Hotch tries to go over the director's head to no avail.

He tells her it wasn't his call, she won't be replaced and that he hopes to get her back. It's an emotional goodbye as she leaves the exit interview in Strauss' office speechless.

JJ Photo

We'll miss you and wish you all the best, A.J.

It's nearly impossible to evaluate last night's show as we would a typical episode, given the pall J.J.'s exit cast over it. This speaks to the popularity and depth of the character.

Will she be replaced? Can she be replaced? It seems like such an unnecessary change to us, and while it may not be devastating to the show, J.J. leaving certainly doesn't help.

Is there a new J.J. waiting in the wings somewhere? Or Criminal Minds flesh out its existing characters more instead? There's certainly room to do that, with Morgan for example.

Still, you get the feeling watching Criminal Minds, more so than most procedural shows, that the cast as a whole was greater than the sum of its parts. This void won't be filled easily.

The show has its work cut out for it going forward, especially after the way she shined these past two weeks. In honor of Cook's exit, here are some of our favorite J.J. moments:

  • In last season's "Risky Business," when we learned the painful fact that her sister took her life when J.J. was 11, after the team solves a case of teen suicide.
  • In the second season, when the abduction of students from her hometown struck a chord with her, and we learned not only about her past but how she values her role.
  • Way back in the first season, when serial killer Jacob Dawes tried to exercise a privilege only her friends have. You're not my friend. Heart, soul and a little attitude.
  • When she kissed her "secret" BF, Det. Will LaMontagne, in front of her colleagues.
  • When she took out James Colby Baylor in truly bad-ass fashion.
  • When she asks Reid to be her son's godfather. It was poignant.
  • Last week's hostage-negotiation, working the personal angle.

What's your favorite JJ moment? Was last night's episode a fitting sendoff? Will the show be able to overcome her departure? Sound off on Criminal Minds here.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (187 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


What was the name of the song at end of episode?


What was the song at the end of this episode?


You tried this before and it did not work then, what makes you think it will work now? I am a devoted fan of the show but it is all because J.J. is on there. I quit watching it the last time you took her off and I will quit watching it this time if you take J.J. off again. In my opnion she deserves twice the amount any male actor on there gets. Please don't take her off.


First of all, she can't be replaced. None of the characters on the show can be replaced. They all play a role, they're like a family. It is unlike any other show I've ever watched. However, it is just a show. My favorite show will still suck a little less without one of my favorite characters on it. However, get rid of Morgan and I will start a riot.
PS, Was that an American I saw just making fun of Canada? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over my health care benefits. Funny how you make fun of a country that is on the same continent as you, and directly North of you. Also funny because your economy is crumbling around you, and there's Canada same as it always was. But seemingly better than the US right now. Must suck. Oh just for the record, YES, EVERYONE in Canada lives in igloos, plays hockey, and says eh. Peace out, eh.


Great show and the only show that I watch whenever I have a chance. The way the team works with respect to each other appeals a lot.
All the female characters are down to earth , natural unlike the agents in Without a trace. Another important thing that makes you watch the show is there is no any love affairs among team members like in some shows. J


I love watching criminal minds because of it's depth in social-pscho disorders and the effects on the population. But, I really like watching her. a 14 on a 10 scale in beauty, a body that if my mom looked like that, I would still be living at home (57). Damn, they would probably still be looking for dad's body. What a show but, what a woman. The newby is like replacing her with Pam Anderson, not really much there. I am thinking about giving up my American Citizenship to live in Canada. Maybe a new show, "A Canuck with Vision".


VERY VERY VERY BAD decision to remove JJ. Her and Morgan are half the show. It is my favorite TV show, and JJ will leave a BIG void, BRING JJ BACK !!!!!!!!!!!


I am very upset that jj is gone and do not like her replacement at all! It makes it hard for me to watch now I wish you would bring jj back along with prentiss so I can keep watching my favorite's the only show my daughter and I can watch together.


Well,when a show decides to start cutting cast. It means that they can'tlive upto their own expectations. Very disgusted and displeased I hope the cast boycott and leave. I need to stay watching NCIS


Criminal Minds needs to make more cases, and less cast reduction or replacement. Why do you keep on changing things that doesn't need to be changed? Bring JJ back! We've tried replacing JJ before when she was pregnant, but it didn't work out well. A.J Cook is still way better and irreplaceable. Please stop changing the cast, 'cause it's really annoying and unnecessary.

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Criminal Minds Season 6 Episode 2 Quotes

(Reid grabs a bottle of antacid from Prentiss' desk and takes one)
Prentiss: Again with the dairy?
Reid: I can't help it. I love dairy.

Prentiss: I don't think it's about the case.
Garcia: Do you know something?
Prentiss: Do I know something?
Garcia: She just repeated the question. You always say that's a sign.
Morgan: Do you know why JJ's in there?
Prentiss: I have no idea.