On CBS' Criminal Minds, FBI agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook) doesn't always see the victims in her cases get happy endings. But in real life, she seems to have found one. After being let go from the show at the end of last season, reportedly as a cost-cutting measure, Cook just signed a deal to return to the series. She talked with TV Guide Magazine about her comeback.
TV Guide Magazine: When did you find out you were coming back?
Cook: We made the deal [April 15], but there have been whisperings for a while. The whole thing was so surreal, from being let go to getting asked to come back for two episodes, and then coming back again to do [co-star Paget Brewster's] last episode. I keep trying to have closure on this, but it keeps sneaking back in my life.
TV Guide Magazine: What was your first reaction when you learned you wouldn't be a regular anymore?
Cook: I had no idea it was coming. None of us did. I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt my feelings, but I chose to be me through the whole thing. And that's lead me back to where I started, but in a completely different way.
TV Guide Magazine: How long did it take to get over the shock of being let go?
Cook: It felt like a breakup with a guy. It happened out of nowhere. And it was an "It's not you, it's me" sort of thing. You think, "What did I do?" It's been a rollercoaster ride, but I just had to put one foot forward and keep moving.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you think your fans are at least partially responsible for getting you back?
Cook: Their outpouring of support really blew me away. That's definitely the silver lining to being let go. The fans really let me know how they felt, and I guess they really let CBS know too.
TV Guide Magazine: What have you learned from this experience?
Cook: It's opened my eyes to the industry, and that had to happen, really. I'm just this sweet little Canadian girl, and this was a nice wakeup call. In this business, you have to be on your toes, ready for anything. That's a valuable lesson.
TV Guide Magazine: When do you get back to work?
Cook: I'm going back to do a little bit in the season finale. Then I'll be back full-time for Season 7. The finale will set up the new JJ.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the difference between the old JJ and the new one?
Cook: The new JJ is more serious and mature. She'll come back learner and meaner and ready to hit it hard. But don't worry....she still has heart.
TV Guide Magazine: How does it feel to be back?
Cook: I've been getting texts from the cast, and someone just sent me a picture of my name being painted back on my parking spot. It stirred up crazy emotion inside of me, and I thought, "Wow! It's happening, this is a go!"