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.

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Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (186 Votes)

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

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CBS WAKE UP! You have a hit on your hands and now that viewers are finding this show u go and screw it up with letting JJ go. I found the show about a year and half ago and can't get enough. I drive my husband crazy because I watch the same one's over and over and even record my favorites. The new "BLONDE', brought in because she looks like JJ doesn't even come close. I can say this I am a blonde and she needs alot more acting classes.
I have worked in TV, Movies and the media so I know all about ratings and if you don't bring her back as a ratings hit you definitely have jumped the shark. What a shame, you were really gettig good and if continued on the same path you might had been lucky to have a following and lifespan like Law and Order. You guys missed this one. I hope this is only a plot to bring her back because I have watched the show without her and to be honest I have yet to finish one of them. I am missing your show at this moment because it doesn't have the family feeling it did. I ask you to please bring her back before your ratings go so far down and you loose your core viewers and they find some other place to go. Honestly, I am starting to look myself. I do know a little about this, I have worked with Warner Brothers, Paramount and Disney to mention a few. PLEASE PLEASE BRING HER BACK! This is my favorite show with JJ working. I hope you read what your viewers are writing!

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So I'm confused why did they take jj off this show? does anyone know why? and who is this blonde bimbo they are trying to put in her place she needs to go she's terrible,and will never be able to fill jj's shoes, bring jj back or you will lose all your fans, just wait and see!

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Criminal Minds has been my favorite show since its original airing. I was actually glad to see Elles character go, but J.J. leaving the show is devestating. It is going to change the dynamic of the characters and their interaction. Shame on you, powers that be. Bad, bad decision. Run, don't walk back to her agent and beg her back.

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ill be devistated if hotchh..reid...prentis morgan and the ohter guy lol and jj go off ill die): i LOVE THEM SO MUCHHH

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WOW ..IM SO TICKED I WANT BREWSTER AND COOK TO STAY ON AND ALL OF THEM TOO THEY WORK SO GREAT TOGETHER THEY ARE AMAZINGg!!!!!! YOUR JUST GONNNNAA..RUN DOWN LIKE ALL THE OTHER CBS SHOWS DID..I MEAN THIS IS MY FAV SHOW BC OF THESE PPL!!!!! I LOVE THEM!!!!

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wowowowow wth bring jj back and u better not let prentice go.
jj almost like made the show.
penelope is like replacing jj its NOT working out k.
GET IT GOT IT GOOD.
JJ IS AWESOME
UR NOT.

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I AM SO TIRED OF CBS WITH THIS.CRIMINAL MINDS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS.IT'S GOING TO GO DOWN THE TOILET LIKE THE REST OF THE SHOWS.CBS QUIT ALL OF THAT F****** CUTTING.JJ WAS ONE OF THE BEST CHARACTER ON THE SHOW.NOW YOU ARE FORCING PAGET TO LEAVE.GET A LIFE CBS.BRING HER BACK???????YOU GUYS MADE A HUGE MISTAKE.GET HER BACK

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I share the sentiments of all the fans. Having seen the 3rd episode without JJ's name and images felt so bad. I look forward to her fall comeback and hopefully management will realize her importance in the show.

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I am still devastated that JJ was taken off the show. Why is it when there is a good thing going someone feels the need to change it? The chemistry between ALL the characters were wonderful and that chemistry made the show. Don't even get me started about Paget's character having limited shows. Is it just me but I see a trend of females being lifted from the show (bad, bad idea). Kirsten you better watch your back.

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Bring her back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are all good, but they had their own thing they brought to the show. Now it is a little off. There is too much "baby Girl" for me. She don't have the front runner apperance that the other young lady A.J..

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.