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 don't HATE Rachel? I just think her character is annoying and the CM producers are trying to replace AJ...and AJ was amazing. Another reason to dislike Rachel: I'm in love with Reid and yes, I know it's just a character, but I swear if Reid and Ashley get together I'm going to hurt someone.


Please don't let her be Reid's love interest!! Reid needs someone to make him smile, someone to take his mind off all the sadness that surrounds him! Think of his two previous love interests...if you want to call them that. There was Lila Archer, the actress he made out with in the pool. Then there was the bartender. Both made him smile, both tried to take his worries away! This new girl, as sad as her backstory is, will only remind him of sadness! Come on!! We Reid lovers want to see him HAPPY people! HAPPY!!!!!


You guys i really know how hard it is to get over JJ, she was the sunshine in a world full of evil,


hate her. the lady can't act. love the show and since aj cook is gone leave the rest alone


CBS please swallow your pride and bring AJ Cook back. The show is not the same without her. Stop messing with a good thing.


Okay people, reality check in order.
JJ/ AJ Cook is gone. Get it? G-O-N-E, gone. Just like Elle is gone. And Gideon is gone. And Haley is gone. Didn't everyone hate Emily/ Paget Brewster when she came on to replace Elle/ Lola Glaudini? And don't most of us love her now?
And a quick FYI- in case you all didn't catch it- the character of Ashley is not meant to replace the character of JJ. They are two different characters that bring different things to the table.
Also, for the haters of any kind of Reid/Seaver relationship: it's been what? Six seasons? Doesn't Reid deserve someone to be happy with? JJ has Will, Garcia has Kevin, shouldn't Reid get a love interest?
The character Ashley Seaver is too new to the viewers for us to make any kind of real opinion of her. If you hate her because she's damaged: Hello. Welcome to the wonderful world of writing. Every single character on the show has some kind of damage. We all know Reid's trouble. Morgan didn't have a dad past age 10 and was sexually assaulted for years, Rossi has been divorced three times, Garcia doesn't have any parents, Hotch's wife is dead, Emily has parent issues and JJ's sister killed herself. Damaged characters make good storyline.
I have yet to see any argument that is the slightest bit persuasive against Seaver and I'll tell you why, it's impossible at this point. We've known her for about 45 minutes. One episode minus the commercials. No body can make any kind of argument for and against a character via one episode. I'm not doing that right now; what I'm doing is telling everyone that has tried to sound logical at all in taking sides on this matter has sounded nothing more than a buffoon. Give it time and an open mind and I'm sure she'll be accepted just as Emily and Rossi were. Even though they WERE replacing someone, where as -stating once again so hopefully it will get through to some of those with thicker skulls- Seaver is NOT replacing anyone. Stop judging based on a 45 minute introduction and wait until you actually get to know someone.


Let's be pro-active about this. We who don't like Rachel Nichols, here's a thought: Why don't we boycott Criminal Minds for the time being, while that pseudo-actress is on CM? BETTER STILL, why don't we watch instead NCIS so that it's ratings will go ballistic while CM will experience a DEFINITE fall in ratings. That way, CBS will still be tops BUT it won't be because of Criminal Minds!
If we're successful, those psychopath executives running CM will get the message: GET NICHOLS OUT, VIEWERS COME BACK. No harm, no foul. Long live Criminal Minds! Nifty, huh!


I tried to keep an open mind, I really did, but the character of Ashley Seaver is awful. There's no way someone as unqualified as her could believably make it back to the BAU after how badly she screwed up. And the idea of them trying to pair her off with Reid is terrible. He's my favorite character and I hate the idea of having to put up with her during his scenes. FYI, this has nothing to do with AJ Cook or Paget Brewster - AJ's gone and Paget's leaving and I've accepted that. I just think the character being brought on to replace them should be likeable, intelligent, and actually qualified to be a member of the BAU team.


I am absolutely furious that they might make her and Reid a couple! If that were to happen, Reid would be the mental babysitter, while she would be the physical babysitter, and he doesn't need that. What he needs is an equal, not someone whose mind is going because her father was a serial killer! I don't mind her being on the show, because she changes the dynamic in an interesting way - but I DON'T want her and Reid to date. Her character seems more suited to Morgan than Reid, if anything.



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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.