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Criminal Minds Boss on JJ's "Heartbreaking" Secret and What's Next

A.J. Cook

[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode of Criminal Minds. Read at your own risk.]

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Criminal Minds: Where Is JJ?

AJ Cook

[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Wednesday's episode ofCriminal Minds. Read at your own risk.]
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Keck's Exclusives First Look: Criminal Minds Explores J.J.'s Gap Year

A.J Cook and Esai Morales

Criminal Minds' ninth season, premiering Sept. 25, "is shaping up to be the season of J.J.," reports A.J. Cook of her character, who was written out of the CBS procedural during Season 6. (Fan backlash led to Cook's rehiring for Season 7.) "We're going to use the serendipitous gift of Season 6 to explain with flashbacks what happened when she was working for the Pentagon and why she came back as a much tougher character. I've never had a chance to flex my acting muscles like this on the show!"

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Criminal Minds Boss on The Replicator Reveal, the Finale Death and What's Next in Season 9

Joe Mantegna, Thomas Gibson, A.J. Cook

[SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains spoilers about the Season 8 finale of Criminal Minds. Read at your own risk.]

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8 Spoilers for Criminal Minds Season 8: A Season-Long Unsub, Alex's Past, a Prentiss Return?

Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds executive producer Erica Messer wants to assure you that Jeanne Tripplehorn's Alex Blake will not stir up trouble in the BAU.

Criminal Minds scoop: Reid is getting a girlfriend!

Tripplehorn will make her debut on the Season 8 premiere, filling the void left by Paget Brewster's Emily Prentiss, who exited in the season finale. And though Messer previously described Alex as a "threat" to the team, she clarifies that it's merely a case of a newbie joining a tightknit group.

"Anytime there's a very close coworker environment, as we have here, it's hard," Messer tells TVGuide.com. "There's just a natural hesitation to accept, but in that friendly way. She certainly doesn't have an ulterior motive or anything."

What else can we expect from Alex? Get the scoop on her and more below.
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Goodbye, Prentiss: Criminal Minds Boss Promises a Bittersweet Finale

Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds executive producer Erica Messer knew very early this season that she wanted to do something out of the ordinary for the season finale.

Finale Preview: Get scoop on 39 must-watch season-enders

"I wanted to ground it with our team and I wanted to end with the idea that good things happen to good people," Messer tells TVGuide.com. "Our team puts up with all this crap from horrible people all year long, so let's actually celebrate them. We see so many bad images all season long, can't we just have our heroes be happy and smiling and dancing? We knew early on there would be a wedding at the end, not an SUV explosion [like in the Season 3 finale]." read more

Criminal Minds Exclusive: American Graffiti's Candy Clark to Play JJ's Mom

Candy Clark

Get ready to meet JJ's mom!

Oscar-nominated American Graffiti star Candy Clark has been cast as Sandy Jareau, the mother of JJ (A.J. Cook), on Criminal Minds, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.

Clark will appear ...
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Criminal Minds' A.J. Cook on JJ's Big Fight: You'll See How Tough She Is

AJ Cook

Check one off the wish list for A.J. Cook. After seven seasons, the Criminal Minds star's dream has come true: She's getting beat up.

"My wish was granted! I was so excited when I got the script," she tells TVGuide.com. "It was like a kid in a candy store moment. I was just super giddy about it."

Check out photos from Criminal Minds

Cook will show off her combat chops on Wednesday's episode (9/8c, CBS) when JJ faces off with an unsub who's been leaving dead bodies in lifeguard towers. And frankly, if you ask Cook, it's been a long time coming. After all, half the cast has been tortured and battered by the likes of C. Thomas Howell, James Van Der Beek and Luke Perry already.

"It started out as a joke. I guess there was a fan video put together with all the action and everyone getting beat up and shot, and we're like, 'JJ's done nothing but shoot a dog [in Season 2's "The Big Game"]. That was the most danger she's faced! It's her turn!'" Cook says. "It was that realization it's my ...
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Criminal Minds' A.J. Cook: It Makes Sense for JJ to Become a Profiler

A.J. Cook

Now that A.J. Cook is back on Criminal Minds, she has one goal: to get beat up.

"I have volunteered to get beat up! I want to get into a really bad fight this year," she tells TVGuide.com. "I'm like, 'Everyone else has gotten the crap beaten out of them! It's JJ's turn!'"

Fall Preview: Get scoop on your favorite returning shows

She may get her wish now that JJ is a full-fledged profiler since she returned to the BAU after a year in the State Department. Though JJ said way back in Season 2 that she had no plans to take extra classes to graduate from media liaison to profiler, Cook believes the promotion is "organic" and in line with JJ's story — not to mention her own story off-screen.

"Someone thought that that character wasn't necessary, so in order for me to come ...
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Who's A.J. Cook's Dream Criminal Minds Guest Star? Plus 5 More Things We Learned

A.J. Cook

JJ and Prentiss are back!

After a year of casting upheaval, A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster returned to Criminal Minds Wednesday, a homecoming that was punctuated by Cook live-tweeting the Season 7 premiere.

Fall Preview: Get scoop on your favorite returning shows

The opener picked up three months after the finale at a Senate hearing, where the BAU was grilled about its rogue operation pursuing Prentiss' IRA nemesis Ian Doyle (Timothy V. Murphy). After Doyle's son, Declan (Conrad Bluth), was kidnapped — but not by Doyle — Prentiss (Brewster) came out of hiding to help the team, which now finds JJ (Cook) as a profiler, solve the case.

"Gang's all here!" Cook tweeted after Brewster's ...
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