Rachel Nichols to Replace A.J. Cook on Criminal Minds?

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Criminal Minds is all-new tomorrow, but it's a pair of guest stars debuting later this month that cast member Thomas Gibson (Hotch) teased in a recent interview with TV Guide.

On November 10, Prison Break alum Robert Knepper comes to town in a twisted role. "Rob plays the son of a movie actress from the '50s, and is pretty twisted," Gibson says.

"He kidnaps these girls and dresses them up like '50s movie stars and then kills them. It's fantastic!" Sounds it. As for Rachel Nichols, who some say is replacing A.J. Cook ...

Rachel Nichols Pic
Robert Knepper Pic

Rachel Nichols and Robert Knepper are coming to Criminal Minds.

"I don't want to give too much away, but she has a particular perspective that the team will find invaluable in a specific case," says Gibson of Nichols, who plays an FBI cadet.

Nichols will first appear in late November, and while he's stingy with the details, Gibson notes that she was specifically not hired to replace former cast member A.J. Cook.

"I don't think anybody is intending for anyone to be [A.J. Cook's] replacement. There's no replacing the character, there's no replacing the actress," he says. "One of the things we tried in subsequent episodes of J.J. leaving was to show it was hard to fill her shoes."

Did it work, though? Might Nichols end up as a replacement just the same?

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


As promised when AJ C ook's departure was rumored, I no longer watch new episodes Of CRIMINAL MINDS. I do see reruns AND will resume watching the show only when Cook returns...or when I've seen all the former shows two or three times.


Rachel is roughly as attractive as A.J. (although I still think A.J. has her beat), and a bit younger (but only by 1.5 years -- both are in their early 30s -- Nichols just turned 31; Cook will be 33 in July). But unless A.J. was causing some MAJOR behind-the-scenes headaches for the show-runners (pushing for more money than other players, insisting on unreasonable hours, etc.), then I see NO logic at all in replacing her with Rachel Nichols. NONE. NADA. I came to this series a bit late, maybe third season, but I've probably seen every show since and certainly every one this year, and while I think Ms. Nichols is doing a decent job (and had a "standout" role in her first episode), she comes off as really sort of cold and impersonal a lot of the time -- like in tonight's episode with the crazy female narcissist. I see they're trying to push Paget out the door, too. But then there's also late-breaking news they may have invited her back for next season (but she may be weighing her options for a new pilot, instead, at this point -- and who can blame her after THIS???). The ONLY good thing that could come from her "supposed" final episode is that A.J.'s supposed to make a return visit for it. But the way it's building up, while JJ WASN'T killed, it certainly looks like Emily very will MIGHT be. Either way, I don't like this. I also watch the Top 25 ratings as published each week, and while CM WAS there just about every week, I haven't seen it there nearly as regularly since JJ left the show. Assuming they DID cut her character because Nichols would work for less money, it just makes not sense if it lost them more ad dollars due to lower ratings than they saved in salary (and I'm guessing it did).


I just don't understand producers. AJ Cook was great in Criminal Minds. JJ was a very caring and compassionate character, she brought balance to the rest of the team. This new actrees is not a good fit at all. If the move was to save money, they made a bad choice and the ratings will show it.


It's been terrible since JJ left, and replacing JJ with someone who looks just like her but with a more heavy-handed back-story is doing a disservice to the character.


You cbs guys are mean how could you kill off j.j's character,she should be given her own tv show which wd b gret by da way.


I am a Loyal watcher and own all previous series. I am SO upset that you got rid of JJ's character . I dont know if ill buy Season 6 . so far i have been very disappointed with the show since she left. Hope youll bring her back . she is needed to make this show work . Please bring her back I love this show


It appears to me that the best Crime Drama of the Decade ("Criminal Minds") is about to face its last season. I've been a fan of the show since the first episode... Never missed one single episode... Rachel Nichols can not replace A.J. ("JJ") Cook. I predict by the end of this season Criminal Minds will lose its most valuable actresses, then actors, and it will end a great part of television Drama history. I really do not think another Criminal Minds will ever get the ratings of this show. I enjoyed it since it first hit the airways, and I'll watch it until the final season episode. Thanks, Charles Lee


are you guys crazy bring back JJ!!


AJ Cook is the only cast member who wasn't a headcase. These TV producers are like teenagers - do anything weird because it's different. Doesn't work. Without her back on, this show will die. It's already becoming trite and predictable.


I don't see that gideon or elle were replaceable. I think the actors themselves wanted to leave. AJ was downsized basically. They want to replace her with a cheaper actor. And that is why people are so upset.

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Criminal Minds Quotes

Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we're proud of. We are what we choose to be - Graham Brown


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