Exclusive Interview: CRIMINAL MINDS’ A.J. Cook Has A Secret Wish: “I Want To Get Beat Up”

CRIMINAL MINDS "It Takes a Village" (1)

Criminal Minds fans are in for a treat as two good things are happening today. One, Criminal Minds Season 7 premieres tonight and two, A.J Cook is back as a regular cast member.

Daemon’s TV had the immense pleasure to chat with A.J about what fans can expect this upcoming Criminal Minds season from the team and from J.J, what she thought of last year’s drama and why she hopes J.J gets beat up this season. Read below for more details and don’t forget to tune in for tonight’s season 7 premiere of Criminal Minds “It Takes A Village” which airs Wednesday September 21 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.


Congratulations on getting a seventh season. That’s an achievement for any show. How many episodes have you shot so far this season?

A.J. Cook: We’re shooting seven of seven right now. We’re about halfway through. We’re trucking along.

What can fans expect from the upcoming season, in particular for your character?

A.J. Cook: Well, there’s quite a few changes for JJ because she went away and now she’s back and we’ve sort of had to explain that. She’s going to be sort of stepping into the whole profiler situation there, which is a big change for her especially since in season two she said she was comfortable with the role that she was playing as a liaison. Well, things change.

So, yeah, it just seemed really natural and organic to take that next step. She’s been away and has seen some things and had some experiences in her life and now she’s back. It makes sense and she’s loving it. She’s just naturally a really good profiler because she’s been around these people for so long. I’m having a really good time doing that because I never got to do that in the past. And we’re going to see a little more into her personal life which is always fun. That’s what I love about our show. We’re going to see more into everyone’s personal life. That’s what’s so great about a season seven.

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So J.J is going from profiling cases to profiling unsubs?

A.J. Cook: Yeah, exactly. I couldn’t have put it better myself. It all just seems very natural and the right thing to do with the character right now. And she’s still JJ. She’s still the nurturer and has really beautiful relationships with everyone individually. It’s just nice to see that part of the family back. It just seems right that everyone is back. We’re super excited to make these shows for the fans and we really hope that they’re excited about them. We put our heart and soul and blood and guts into them.

Speaking of the fans, there was some uncertainty as to whether your character was coming back which led to passionate reactions from the fans. There was tons of comments. What are your thoughts on all these events?

A.J. Cook: It was such a strange occurrence, the whole making changes to the show and all of that. It was a silver lining to all of that. I was not expecting the uproar. I don’t think that anyone was and it was nice that it was heard. Now we’re back and the rest of it is history. It helped me in particular because it was such a bizarre thing to have a job one day and then to hear, ‘Oh, we don’t need you anymore.’

So, the fans were so unbelievably supportive that it really just helped me hold my head up high and say, ‘You know what, I worked really hard the years that I was there to create this character who I love,’ and it was really satisfying to know that everyone else love her as much as I do. We sort of feel like we’ve accomplished something. Season seven is going to be really great. It feels nice to have the whole family back together again.

The show is famous for very intense storylines. Are there storylines from the past that stay with you even today?

A.J. Cook: Well, for me it’s always the ones about kids that irk me. I’m a mom, and so those are the ones that are a little hard for me to swallow. They can be intense. Not can. They will be intense. But what I love about our show is the psychology of all of it, like, yeah, people do these crazy things, but this is why they do it. It’s about figuring out why people are the way that they are. I loved psychology anyway. So, it’s all very interesting to me. I don’t exactly love what they do. It’s pretty sick, but it’s interesting to sort of dive into the head of these people.

Are there any upcoming storylines that you can tease from this season?

A.J. Cook: I think what’s so great about a season seven is that you can really dive into the personal lives a little more and just with all the huge changes over the past year, we’re going to take that time to not ignore what happened, but actually embrace it, talk about it and deal with. We’re going to see a little turmoil within the team over certain things. But it’s nice to see where they go when they leave the BAU as well which we’re going to get into a little more, their personal lives. We’re going to see JJ’s personal life. Will and her baby, Henry, all of that. It’s exciting. That’s what I love about the show. I love to see the personal things. I love learning new things about our characters. That’s what the fans really like, too.

Are there particular storylines that you’d like to see for your character, even things that would never happen like a musical number or something?

A.J. Cook: We joke about that all the time because we have a lot of great singers. Paget [Brewster] and Thomas [Gibson] and Kirsten [Vangsness] and so we’re always sort of singing and acting like idiots. So, we always joke about, like, ‘”Criminal Minds,” the musical.’ That’s never going to happen. I feel like they’re really good about, like, if you want to try something as long as it’s not completely outlandish they’re pretty good about it.

I put in a request this year that I need to get into a really all out fist fight because everyone else has gotten the crap kicked out of them. It’s JJ’s turn. She never has. She’s gotten hit over the head with a shovel. That’s it. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it’ll be fun.

Fingers crossed, right?

A.J. Cook: Yeah. I want to get beat up.

If could guest star on any show on TV, your pick of the litter, which one would it be?

A.J. Cook: There’s a lot of good ones. Well, I think that ‘Breaking Bad‘ is insanely good. We’ve actually had a lot of the cast members come through our show. That’s just a super intense show, but I wouldn’t mind doing a comedy. I’m not going to lie. Just to completely do something different. I’d take any comedy right now.