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.


I thought Reid was gay? I'd rather see him with Garcia. Rachel Nichols played a profile specialist on her own show, The Edge, on Fox and she was pretty good. But I agree, breaking up the show's core is beyond stupid. Paget's departure leaves a big hole. A.J. Cook was a quiet, beautiful presence.


I'm a little late to the party commenting on this, but--if Seaver and Reid start dating, I stop watching Criminal Minds. I very much want to see Reid in a happy, stable relationship--but NOT with a coworker. I'm afraid it would take away from the gritty excellence of CM and add in a bunch of sappy, vomit inducing drama. Rachel Nichols is pretty, but so far I'm not impressed with her acting abilities.


I am lost for words. They told us they were getting rid of JJ and Emily becos of budget cuts and then they go and hire Seaver. Are we to believe she is on CM for free then ? I dont think so. She cant act, she is wooden and she just does not fit in anywhere. She is probably related to one of the writers or directors. Thats why she is there. Well, she is going to lose you money cos people are going to stop watching !


I am lost for words. They told us they were getting rid of JJ and Emily becos of budget cuts and then they go and hire Seaver. Are we to believe she is on CM for free then ? I dont think so.
She cant act, she is wooden and she just does not fit in anywhere. She is probably related to one of the writers or directors. Thats why she is there. Well, she is going to lose you money cos people are going to stop watching !


Plus the hatred is missplaced, people are pissed at CBS and those who are running this show and they might have reasons to be, but Rachel Nichols was offered a job, she might audiotionned for it and won the part, why does she deserves the hatred? she didn't push or elbow AJ Cook or anything.


AJ Cook is gone, she's not coming back, get past it. Can't get past it? Stop watching? Can't stop watching...you'll eventually get past it. ;-)


this might sound very stupid but i reconnected to the show through this new character ;-)


@trueCMfan - amen to your comment about placing whack-ass Seaver on fracking Suspect Behavior. don't like the character, never will. i heard that this was supposed to be only a three episode character at first? what happened to that? bring back JJ, you guys made a huge error in judgment. i would also like to say that while i am an MGG fangirl, i would really like to see him with someone. HOWEVER, not Seaver, ever ever. since he's kind of an eccentric character, what if we saw him with someone who looked a bit outside the norm of "standard" beauty, more in the direction of Garcia? i think that would fit more with his character than homegirl.


When I first saw her it was the first time I turned the show on since JJ left and thought who the f*ck is the blonde *ss Bi*ch!! I am pissed. Dear CBS instead of making a new f*cking criminal minds and leaving the old show to rot keep the old people I have not watched any episode since JJ left F*CK YOU CBS F*CK YOU!!!!!!!11


Here’s an idea for the seventh season: Bring AJ and Paget back as JJ and Emily, renew everyone’s contracts for one final season, git rid of Seaver or at least make or recurring or throw her onto Suspect Behavior cuz she doesnt fit on the original. Ideally, the seventh season could be the final season starring Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Mathew Gray Gubler, paget Brewster, AJ Cook,, Kirste Vangness and Joe Mantegna. Focus on everyone’s background stories,everyone should get an arc and fans should get closure. We should learn more about thier secrets and how they ended up in the BAU and why they wanted to be there. Also, I am a JJ and Spence fan, so they should get together somehow because in my mind, they are perfect together.Provide better writing and some more long term unsubs, and everyone gets closure. Fans and CM cast alike. ANd everyone else should get love interests that are in the background and dont take up to much time of the main storylines. But they all deserve to be happy. I still want a JJ and Spence coupling. That is the only CM work couple that should happen. Also, Mandy Patinkin and Lola Glaudini should return for guest star arcs and proper goodbyes. Send Seaver far away for a while at least, then bring her back for the eighth season as a redeemed and more experienced character who is also less annoying and less Mary Sue-ish. The Eighth season should have a new cast then with Seaver as the media liason. That way, in can work and a nw audience can come in. CBS should consider that. Otherwise, I refuse to accept Seaver as part of the BAU family and i feel seriously miffed about the current cast changes. But since everyone needs to move on at some point, the season 5 cast lineup should return for one final season and get what they deserve. Good storylines and all, the whole nine yards. CBS should shake things up with a new cast for the eighth season. Less uproar and everything. It’ll work better that way in my opinion. That is how you give a show a successful makeover. I love the cast how it was, pre- Seaver.If this doesnt happen, then… THomas Gibson, Shemar Moore and Paget Brewster should leave and I will stop watching the show because it all went to hell. Any contributing thoughts? I am going to copy and paste this post at other places so if anyone reads this, maybe they will agree, and hopefully people like my ideas. I love AJ Cook and paget Brewster and Thomas Gibson!

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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


To a father, nothing is dearer than a daughter - Euripides.