Criminal Minds

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Criminal Minds Review: Farewell, J.J.

by at . Comments

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.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (185 Votes)

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

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I have been watching Criminal Minds for years and still watch the show, but JJ should never have been taken off the show. You had a great group and everyone had there role. I don't know why AJ Cook was taken off the show but she should be brought back. I don't what who make this call but it was a bad one. You had something special and know when I watch the show I miss JJ giving the briefing. I hope the executives read what people have to say and bring back AJ Cook. Why is it when you have something that is working some dose something like this? If someone who can change this reads any of these posts you should bring back our girl.

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this is bullshit. Criminal minds was one of my favourite shows, and it is slowly going down the toilet.

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What are Criminal Minds execs doing, it seems as if they do not like any of the female characters, first EL, than AJ, and now possibly Paget?? Why are all the woman getting kicked off except for Kirsten? WE WILL MISS YOU AJ, and I share the sentiments of others and will sadly discontinue watching, what was my favorite show.

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Sorry, will not use facebook

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When writers of any program begin to eliminate or change the format of the show, the show begins to decline
Losing JJ is a major hit for all who watch the show. To me
the characters are much better than the plot.
Whose ideal was it to eliminate JJ. Did she do it on her own.
Do you plan to use Penelope more to fill the void (which will not
work)All the characters play their own specific role which makes
the show work well---I am so unhappy about this. lm

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I miss JJ. I am a Asian female, but I loved to see JJ's beautiful eyes. I also think that JJ is/was very important in this show.

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A major mistake.
I watched Criminal Minds for the team - JJ being a critical member of the team.
I keep asking myself, "What were they thinking?"
A good thing going and then messing with it.
Bring her back!!!!!!
So grateful for the reruns and the Criminal MInds team.
Cathy

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I hope CBS is aware of all of the negative comments coming their way. Like this one: Theres no further reason for me to watch this show. I'm beyond disgusted with their decision.

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I think that I will find something else to watch. The one show I watched without fail. A.J. Cook gone and Brewster to be in only limited amount of shows this season, what a bad decision.

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I liked the character of JJ and don't understand why AJ Cook was forced off the show. That said, I do think she was the most expendable character. I am more concerned by the steady decline in the quality of writing on this show. What used to be a very smart series that always stood out has gradually been becoming a bit more cliched and bland. The JJ leaves episode was a perfect example. Guess I'm in the minority here, but I thought it was terrible. That last 15 minutes of JJ saying her goodbye was cringe-worthy schmaltz that this show has studiously avoided over the years. It hasn't jumped yet, but I can see the shark swimming out there.

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.