Criminal Minds

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Rachel Nichols Speaks on Criminal Minds Role

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Rachel Nichols knows she's in a tough spot replacing A.J. Cook.

The new Criminal Minds cast member, who debuts tonight, says the situation is reflected by the other characters, who will speak to what the audience may be feeling.

"I knew that JJ had left and there was a lot of uproar. People were wondering, who is this new girl?" she told TV Guide. "What they wanted to do was introduce this character and have people like her because you can't have people angry and hate her right off the bat."

A Rachel Nichols Picture

"There are some scenes in the first episode where [the characters] kind of talk about it, and they're definitely a little wary of her. But it was all intended to be a very warm welcome for this girl who was going to be here a short period of time."

Aside from the BAU, the viewers will get to make up their own minds tonight, when Nichols' character, Ashley Seaver, a cadet at the FBI academy, is brought in to help.

Cook's exit has everyone thinking of her as a replacement, but the character is very different, according to the actress, starting with her unique connection to the case.

A serial killer in a gated community is on the loose, and even though she's still in training, she has a very specific insight into this particular case, given Ashley's past.

"This episode deals with a gated community - everybody has the white picket fence, kids, a dog and a station wagon," Nichols says of tonight's show. "They're trying to look for an unsub who really carries off life as a perfectly normal individual."

"The experience Ashley grew up in [was] the seemingly idyllic childhood with a very dark underbelly. Rossi thinks they need someone with a new perspective and because of the way she was raised, she may have this perspective."

But is she ready for down-and-dirty field work?

"She's green; she's not an agent who's been out in the field a lot," Nichols says. "But she asks if she can finish out her training sessions with the BAU because that's ideally where she'd like to end up one day. For the first time ever, she's looking at very gruesome crimes and seeing a lot of blood, and severed limbs. She's the one who asks a lot of the questions and it's helping her figure out if she wants to do this seriously or not."

If she's going to be sticking around, she'll have to make some bonds quickly. Enter Dr. Spencer Reid.

"They have a bond by having grown up as outsiders," Nichols says.

"She's fascinated by Dr. Reid because he's got that memory, and she knows he can give her insight into her past because she doesn't have a lot of details on it. They could certainly develop something there with the two of us having a lot of similarities."

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

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i have NO freakin' idea why they make such a fuss over STUPID DISGUSTING REVOLTING NEWBIE seaver. i hate her more than jj. she sucks. she will never be with reid. i just wish she would die already. i want jordan/reid, elle/reid. reid is way too good for her. she needs to die like her serial killer daddy. if you have comments for this, message me at fanpop.com i'm reid4infinity.

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First they dumped A.J, then Paget, each of whom brought the feminine point of view to Criminal Minds in individual ways. All I heard was that it seemed for financial reasons. They also started the "other CM" with one of my favorite actors, Forrest Whitaker. Thankfully, that seems to have not made it. I don't like duplicate shows (My favorite show is NCIS. I like the LA version but to me, it's not NCIS!) If the CM issue was financial, why would they bring in Rachel Nichols who, from the start, seemed a cheap fill-in for the JJ character. When they got rid of Emily, I quit watching. I'm writing this in early September '11, after having not followed my old favorite show since Emily left. Tonight there was nothing else on so I tried it again; still no good. Now my CM watching is limited to Sat and Sun nites after 10pm news on CBS Chicago with older reruns, some even with Mandy Patinkin!

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I really dislike Seaver she brings no spark to the team. Her charcater is useless unlike Emily and JJ. You had a good thing with the original team why play with it. The other Crimanl Minds is aweful, need to cancel that one and bring back the other team members.

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JJ is coming back!!!!! I'm praying that this means that Seaver's role with be greatly diminished. I'm almost caught up with season 6 and I still cannot stand her. Plus she was kind of a b!@#$ to Reid in one episode when he was talking about Doctor Who.

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I absoloutly loved criminal minds but they just don't know how to let a good thing be . If the problem is budget they should get rid of that sh**y spin off w terrible casting and acting I mean come on FOREST ?! Nobody can pull off what the original CM cast can. They need to cancel that asap! It's a waste of a time slot and story line. And then this poor excuse for a jj look a like ?! Get rid of her and bring back our original ladies !!!!

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I think the whole idea of the newbie Seaver character was to enable the scriptwriters to write a series of story yarns where she learns the BAU ropes together with new audiences. Like she keeps asking questions and the team explains it to her. Old fans would have known what it meant but enable new ones to catch up. I like AJ but Rachel is definitely good to look at as well.

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So Seaver is absolutely not qualified for the job. But I guess the writers decided that since JJ and Prentiss were being fired, they just had to bring in a younger, pretty girl.

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The show wants us to think that Sever is sooo special that she gets to go straight from the Academy to working in the field with the BAU? I totally buy that for Reid--he's a supergenius--but not for Seaver. The only thing so far that is special about her background is her serial killer daddy. And I hope they get rid of her by next season. According to what I've read, once a cadet graduates from the FBI Academy, they're assigned to a field office for at least 2 (probationary) years and they remain there for at least four years. Then, if they want to join the BAU, an agent has to have at LEAST three years full time work experience--but most have eight to ten years experience before joining. They also have to have 500 hours of training.

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Thankfully, I read somewhere that the producers said that nothing will happen between Seaver and Reid. But that doesn't mean I dislike her any less! Seaver is an absolutely HORRIBLE character, and Nichols is a pretty bad actress. Her existence tends to slip my mind until she appears in the episode, she's so forgettable. It's like, everyone had enough to deal with when JJ left, but they still had to go and introduce this crap character. And now with Prentiss gone, it's even worse. I swear I almost cried the first time Seaver appeared in the title card! It makes me so sad that my favorite show is going on this downward spiral. The only way to fix things now would be to get rid of Seaver and maintain any semblance of the chemistry that Reid, Hotch, Rossi, Morgan and Penelope had in the first place.

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I think he's just awkward and shy. As far as we know, he's never been in a relationship. The potential is totally there, though. There was that tv star in season 1 and that bartender a few (or maybe just one?) season ago. But if the writers decide that Reid is gay, I'm sure Garcia knows someone she can set him up with.

Criminal Minds Quotes

Hotch: A sniper can wait up to 72 hours without sleeping.
Mays: Seriously?
Rossi: That's part of their training. They can stay awake for 72 hours and remain completely focused on their target.
Mays: How?
Hotch: By using a mental exercise called "fantasy integration". A sniper creates a scenarios involving a target that keeps that person at the forefront of their mind.
Morgan: Often they'll imagine a place where they're with the target, doing something together that takes time. For example, building a car.
JJ: For some, the fantasy begins the minute they're assigned a target. Then nothing will distract them.

When it comes to life, we spin our own yarn, and where we end up is really, in fact, where we always intended to be - Julia Glass.

Rossi