Criminal Minds’ fan-favourite character, JJ, was allegedly fired in season six, but was later brought back due to the backlash received from fans.
Criminal Minds came to an end in 2020, but in the years since its final season, it has maintained a cult-following, with more new fans being introduced to it since it was made available across multiple paid subscription video-on-demand platforms.
One of the fan-favourite characters in the history of the show has to be the character of Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, who fans watched evolve over the 15-season duration of the series.
However, her stint on the show almost ended in season six, when she was allegedly fired and later reinstated following a public outcry.
What was Criminal Minds?
Criminal Minds first premiered on CBS in 2005 and was an immediate hit with fans.
The crime procedural drama series was created by Jeff Davis, and the premise of the series is, “The cases of the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.), an elite group of profilers who analyze the nation’s most dangerous serial killers and individual heinous crimes in an effort to anticipate their next moves before they strike again.”
The series was so popular during its 15-season run, that it spawned spin-offs, namely, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, both having had a shorter life span on television than their predecessor.
A look at JJ from Criminal Minds
Throughout the 15-season run of Criminal Minds, there have been multiple fan-favourite characters that have graced the show. Some left, only to come back in later seasons, and some left with no return subsequent to their departure.
But one fan-favourite character that remained with the show until its demise was Agent Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, who was played by Canadian actress, A.J. Cook.
JJ made her first appearance on the show in season one, episode two, Compulsion, where she was introduced as a media liaison for the B.A.U when it was called to Arizona.
At the time, JJ was not working as a profiler with the B.A.U, this only happens in season seven.
The time between season six and seven was important, because it was when the show’s producer realised the impact of Cook’s character after the series had allegedly fired her following the season six finale.
As a result of the public outcry, she was brought back to the show. In subsequent seasons she would marry her on-screen boyfriend, William LaMontagne, and had two children with him.
Her straddling motherhood and professional life would define her character throughout the show.
Why did JJ leave Criminal Minds?
In season six, JJ did not appear much in the series. This is because the series was writing her character off in the story and gave her two episodes to conclude her storyline. Her absence during this season was explained by her transfer to the Pentagon.
However, in actuality, A.J. Cook was reportedly fired from the show, allegedly because of cost cuts, which resulted in the dismissal of the only other female agent in the B.A.U, Paget Brewster, in the role of Emily Prentiss.
In light of allegations that the network was being sexist, since it was believed that the actresses would have been replaced with younger actresses, the public called for Cook to return or risk a boycott of the show, hence her return in season seven.
Did JJ return to Criminal Minds?
The backlash received by the network, along with the threat of boycotting of the series if A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster did not return, seemingly worked.
During the season seven premiere of Criminal Minds, JJ returned to the B.A.U. Moreover, in the story, she returned from the Pentagon with the necessary training she required to become a profiler and credit to officially join the B.A.U as a team member.
Her joining the team made it official that she would remain in the series until it came to an end in 2020, when it was cancelled.
Why was Criminal Minds cancelled?
There are multiple factors to take into consideration when it comes to Criminal Minds being cancelled.
Firstly, the series’ later seasons’ viewership, same day and live numbers dropped, so much so that the show did not even make the top 40 watched television shows.
Secondly, the show was becoming increasingly expensive to make as a result of rising salaries and a drop in commerciality, meaning that they made less advertising revenue.
Lastly, there was a change in television viewing brought on by the influx of video-on-demand platforms. This resulted in CBS cancelling some of its long-running series like Criminal Minds.
Criminal Minds’ Jennifer “JJ” Jareau was one of the series most beloved characters. This is because the character, at the height of the series’ 15 years, embodied the ambitions, struggles, and sacrifices that professional mothers have to make as they balance marriages, children, and their demanding workload.
Hence, when it was confirmed that A.J. Cook was fired from her role, allegedly due to suspected “budget costs” or sexism on the network’s part, fans launched a social media activation to have her brought back, which worked, since she returned in season seven and stayed on the show until its end in 2020.