Criminal Minds Review: Meet Ashley Seaver

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This week's Criminal Minds episode featured the debut of Rachel Nichols as FBI cadet Ashley Seaver. Anticipating many viewers' preconceived hatred of Seaver after the dubious exit of popular J.J., the episode seemed tailored to make us NOT hate her.

As a result, the resolution of "What Happens at Home" was fairly predictable. You had a feeling from the onset that she would be in a pivotal situation at the end, showcasing her profiling and negotiating chops. Lo and behold that's exactly what happened.

Rachel Nichols on Criminal Minds

Seaver (center) with Prentiss and Morgan.

It's impossible to assess her on the basis of one episode, or predict how Ashley will mesh with the team over the rest of the season, but Nichols held her own in the episode.

The outpouring of love for A.J. Cook after J.J.'s final episode makes it hard to embrace the new character without some degree of bitterness and questioning of the network.

A lot of us wish there was no casting shakeup to begin with, but we are where we are right now, and after Wednesday, we're intrigued by what Seaver brings to the table.

In a gated New Mexico community - the kind of place people live precisely so they don't have to worry about this sort of thing - an UnSub has been slaying women at night.

In their homes. Security camera footage reveals that no one entered or left the community around the time of the murders, either, making for nightmares across the board.

Before re-joining the team, Hotch first stops by a training area to meet recruit Seaver, a young agent with a unique perspective. Ashley's father was a notorious serial killer.

With the case hinging on pinpointing the suspect in a community where everyone knows and trusts each other, he feels he needs her help profiling the families of UnSubs.

With Seaver in tow, the BAU organizes a town meeting to see if they can flesh out anything suspicious. It worked, tragically, when a fourth woman winds up dead during it.

This killer is so cocky that he just narrowed the suspect list to a few dozen no-shows. While the dust settles from that, Seager decides to speak with the family of victim #3.

A New Team Member?

The new-look BAU.

She's got spunk, disobeying an order and venturing away from the team for a little solo investigating. Naturally, this leads us to the night's killer, with Ashley on her own.

The breakthrough comes when Seaver mentions to the victim's husband that the killer's family will be very sorry for what he did. The husband, Drew, flies off the handle.

Ashley knows what the family will think because she was the family in a similar case. Predictable and a bit melodramatic for sure, but that is why Hotch brought her in.

Aware that she's now staring down the killer in a life-or-death situation, her own childhood is the weapon she uses to get out of it in a quick-thinking, soul-bearing scene.

She admits that she still loves her dad despite all the unspeakable things he did, and coming clean is the only way to salvage what's left of the relationships he holds dear.

This was not the best the show has to offer in terms of plot, but did serve as a strong introduction to the new team member. The rest of the season should be interesting.

The BAU has always been a family, so it's hard to embrace a new member overnight. These things can take years, lifetimes. But we can see the potential there for sure.

What did you think of last night's Criminal Minds? Discuss!


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (91 Votes)

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


I am not sure if CBS thinks that CM viewers are dumb, but I am starting to believe so. I was on vacation and thus didn't get a chance to watch the latest two episodes. Usually, I would say thatis a bad thing, but after the last two episodes (and some other episodes before thesetwo, but nothing as badas the last two), I'd say I am glad I wasn't home to watch these episodes when they aired. All this Seaver character brings to the show is melodrama, distraction, and annoyance. Seriously, i s this all they could cook up after they let go of AJ Cook andplayed to no end with Paget Brewster. Oh, and before anyone says it, no, I am not bitter over AJ's firing. Do I like it, no. Do Ithink it was stupid, yes, but that is the way of Hollywood and quite frankly I am tired of people pushing the "AJ" card anytime something negative is said about this character. The fact that this character as a whole stinks has nothing to do with whether AJ got canned or not, so instead of jumping to conclusions, I really wish people would examine why what is being said is being said. Sure, there are some AJ fanatics that hated this character on sight, but with a little close reading, that sentiment comes through quickly in their comments about Seaver. This characters first episode was fraught with a ridiculous amount of melodrama and useless banter about her serial killing dad. To make matters worse, in the second episode she seemed distant and had an air about her like she didn't want to be bothered. And for crying out loud, they had her in there profiling. That is just insulting not only to the other members of the "team," but also to the viewing audience. I think it is rather incredible that CBS expects the majority of viewers to believe that this character wasn't planned from the moment they canned AJ. This character is not a replacement for JJ, but she sure was intendedto be put in there and I for one am insulted that they try to spin the whole this is just a 3arc episode character when not even 10 minutes after this character's first episode appeared it was reported that she was in negotiations to become a regular. Bologna, I say. For anyone who still believes that this character was intended to be just a 3 arc character, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. If CBS wants to make bonehead moves like fire the show's best writers, get rid of AJ Cook, and reduce Paget's appearances in episodes, then they should at least be upfront about what they are trying to pass off as a character now. But I guess that doesn't fall in line with reasoning such as "Creative Decisions" for getting rid of vital elements of the show, primary among them being the writers. CM is still up there in the ratings, but there is no doubt that it has taken some hits lately. Again, first, the genius move to fire the show's best writers, then getting rid of AJ Cook, and reducing Paget's screen time. Now to complete the brilliant line of thinking, they are adding the Seaver character to the show. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the ratings started tanking after Ashley Seaver starts appearing regularly on the show, and definitely will not be surprised if the ratings start to tank when Paget leaves because all that will be left is Hotch, Reid, Garcia, Morgan, Rossi, and Seaver.. yeah, good luck with that. The veterans are strong, but the problem is going to be that this Seaver character is going to have to be given screen time, especially when Paget leaves, and well, then, that's all she wrote folks. I don't know what, if anything has been set in stone, but they (CBS and Criminal Minds) had better tread lightly when it comes to how they plan to proceed. I consider myself to be an intelligent audience member and do not take kindly to having CBS and Criminal Minds try and sell me a character that has no qualifications to be on the show and expect me to accept the character as a suitable replacement for Prentiss (I say Prentiss and not JJ because from what I have seen thus far they are having Seaver get in there profiling which is really unbelievable and stupid). If I wanted unbelievable storylines CBS and Criminal Minds, I'd watch reruns of the X-Files, at least there the unbelievable works with the show's plot. CBS needs to get someone on the show that is qualified to be on the team. Don't try to placate viewers, many of whom have purchased DVD's of past seasons (a nice cash cow for the network), with characters like Ashley Seaver. For heaven's sake, give us a little bit of credit and respect. What the heck, she's in because her dad is a serial killer, that is totally lame!!! No amount of time is going to get me to accept this poor excuse for a cast addition, and there is no amount of writing that is going to salvage a character that should have been done after the 1st weak episode she was in. She is just not a fit no matter how you try and slice it.. can't fit a circle into a square peg. If the show wants to save whatever integrity it has left, they should eliminate this character and please try and get back into the sync of what made Criminal Minds such a stellar show.


JJ is irreplaceble and i am very disappointed with agent Seaver. Her reactions are emotionless and her voice is very monotone!!! She just looks like JJ...


Hmm.. I dont mind the new cast and the reason I stay watch Criminal Mind is because there are no love interest between the team and they solely focus in catching Psycho Criminal. So with this new Lady Cadet in, I hope this show will not stoop to a level where there are relationship between the character in the same Unit like Grissom & Sara in CSI, or that whoisit & Montana Girl in CSI:NY or Tony & Ziva in NCIS... It's so predictable....


I really loved J.J/A.J cook and i didnt want her to leave but i have to admit i really liked what agent seaver brought to the show and i think the writers did a great job , i like the chemistry between spencer reid and her and i hope the relationship grows and can the people who are saying they wont watch the show anymore SHUT UP its because of you that shows get canceled and i love this show , so can you please just watch it because you might end up loving her like we all love emily prentis/paget brewsetr now .


omg, i really hope they dont make agent Seaver a regular member of the BAU team... it will jst ruin the whole show for me. it feels like they got rid of JJ just so they could stick this newbie in. lame.


To be honest, i really liked her! I though i was going to hate her bause J.J was so amazing, but i t hought her character was really well done. And it was nce to see the connection she had wth Reid.


I don't like her. I can't see where they're going with this character and I don't like how they tailored the episode specifically for her, because it wasn't even that good! I find it unrealistic that the BAU would accept and FBI *cadet* into their ranks. From what Criminal Minds fans have been led to believe, the BAU is an elite group of profilers that not just anyone can get into. And yet, just because her father was a serial killer, that makes her *special* enough.
Now just for a moment, I'm going to compare her arrival to that of Emily Prentiss. When Agent Prentiss was introduced, she was only in the beginning and end of the episode. Hotch made it clear that he wasn't so sure about letting an FBI agent skip from a desk job all the way to the BAU. And yet, now we're supposed to believe that he would be perfectly fine, even supportive, of an FBI *cadet* joining the BAU? Also, the episode after that, managed to showcase Emily Prentiss's abilities as a porfiler and how she earned her spot on the team, and yet she didn't monopolize the whole episode, nor did the episode soley revolve around her. Sure, that episode was probably designed to show off her skills, but that wasn't the only focus. While I'm at it, I would also like to reference the episode introducing David Rossi. While yes, the episode did show a lot of Rossi and who he was, but David Rossi wasn't that episode's main focus. These are just a few of the reasons why I am so opposed to the addition of this rookie agent, if you can even call her that, seeing as she hasn't graduated from the academy yet!


Goober's right; the Super-Cadet belongs in therapy. I honestly didn't like Seaver; she reminded me too much of Clarice Starling, except she was nowhere near as good of a character. I've read Criminal Minds fanfics that have better characters than her, and I really doubt that I will be watching this show once Paget is written out.


I loved her personally. I didnt like JJ leaving but theres nothing anyone can do about it so I went to watch this episode with an open mind. I LOVE the fact that Reid and Ashley might have a connection, it might be nice to see that side of Spencer. All in all I think this series will do fine with this new character.


I like Ashley Seaver, she is really interesting character. I liked JJ too, but she isn't coming back in anyway. So I really hope Rachel will be a new regular.

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