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.


Good bye Criminal Minds! Enough is enough. This latest character change sucks, jmnsho. But, I stick to my word, Prentiss goes, I go and I won't watch the new show, which I knew would be coming along. It was nice while it lasted, But CBS always pushes too much. Maybe you could save money getting rid of that nut case Charlie Sheen, amazing how much they put up with, when it's a male character.


No one can mess with JJ and Spence. Not even friggin Rachel Nichols as Ashley Seaver. Get rid of Ashley Seaver. Horrible character, crapass actress and she does not belong on the show at all. I saw the pic of Aj with MGG and my heart just broke for AJ. JJ and Spence should have been a couple! They have so much chemistry. Please for the love of God, get rid of Rachel Nichols. SHe sucks so badly, its painful to watch. I'm not a hater. I gave her a chance. SHe has nothing to offer and that was made clear in 25 to Life. paget looks like its hard for her to act opposite Rachel Nichols. Poor Paget cant even crack a fake smile for Ashley and why should she? Rachel sucks! Ashley sucks!


I just saw a pic of AJ Cook and Rachel Nichols posing with a Criminal Minds behind the scenes makeup artist or something in between them. They are comparitively different looking but AJ is always going to be prettier and more talented and I want her back on the show along with every single person I know. I miss JJ and EMily is leaving too, obviously because Nina Tassler screwed them over and didnt keep AJ wi=hcih doesnt make sense. Every blog or discussion thread I have been on, most people dont like Rachel Nichols as Ashley Seaver. SHe sucks the life out of the show. AJ is so much better and has so much class for even agreeing to pose in a picture with that ho bag skank low rent actress Rachel Nichols who has highjacked the best show on tv and thinks she aint going anywhere. Ugh! I love AJ!


i dont like the new chick at all. I like AJ and and Paget. The show worked so well with them. Now the show has lost its footing without AJ. Get rid of this Seaver girl. She's... terrible, to say the least. Really. No chemistry at all with the team. And her acting abilities, constantly trying to get the team and the audience to fell bad for her? Please. She does not seem damaged at all to me. Just a father with highly questionable career choice. THe hell with Rachel Nicholson!


Rachel Nichols sucks! Bring back AJ. Coolest actress all around by any means!


Rachel is just your everyday average tall blonde model type of girl. Nothing particualry special about her or her acting. SHe doesnt belong on Criminal Minds at all and she does not look good with reid. Seriously. The fans who are actually taking the time to speak their minds on this should be considered. Most of the fans feel the same way but just dont really go on the net to speak up, though they should. Get rid of Seaver. Btw, AJ is so much better. SHe has a lot of range even though she got stuck doing some bad movies but all her good stuff far outweighs the bad such as FInal Destiantion2, The Virgin Suicides, Out Cold, Misconceptions, Higher Ground, and of course, Criminal Minds. AJ has a ot of range and versatility and she is not your average actress either and she doesnt have average looks either. Her eyes say it all! She has the most beautiful blue eyes that I have ever seen. Very envious!


Bring JJ back. Get rid of Seaver. Crappy character much? Come on. The writers can do better. Cant you see that the majority doesnt like this AJJ/ JJ knockoff? ANd she is a knoff off. A low rent, poor acting knockoff who fill never fill the hearts of true Criminal Minds fans. SHe does not fit in with the cast. I will never like her! Never! Get rid of her!


Oh how i loathe , despise and detest Ashley Seaver. THe character does not fit in or make sense on the show. What makes the writers think that its realistic for her to become a regular. The idea of a cadet on the team is interesting, but they btoched the story line early. Plus there was my negative predisposition to Rachel Nichols. never like her on ALias or The Inside. I was really looking forward to The Inside, but Rachel played the character so badly that they cancelled the show. Actually she was ok. But I didnt buy her acting on the show. Please bring JJ back!!!!!!!!!!


Ashley and Reid better not happen. Rachel's charcter doesnt seem like an outsider to me exactly. No offense to anyone, but Ashley had a serial killer for a father but didnt know for however long, after that traumatic experience came to light, she probably went through a tough time befor changing her name. Ashley seems to have a few tragic details in her life becuase of her father, but aside from that she doesnt have anything in common with Reid and doesnt seem tragic or misunderstood. Ashley seems like a well adjusted character played to annoyningness that knows no bounds by Ms Nichols. KMN if she stays past this season.


Rachel Nichols is ok as an actress. Not the best but not the worst. But she doesnt fit in with the cast of Criminal Minds at all. Its really dissapointing that they lied and made her a regular after promising not to make the new character a regular, then giving her an arc, then making her a regular again. Budget cuts? Yeah right. They shoulda kept AJ. I liked Elle but I dont miss her plus it was Lola Gluadini and Mandy Patinkins choice to leave the show, not AJ's or Pagets. This is tragic to fire perfectly good actress on a great show and hire someone new who sucks.

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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.