I started watched Criminal Minds when it first started to air and have watched it since, though I have missed some episodes. Over the summer, stories came out about the fact that A.J. Cook, the actress who plays JJ, was being let go and Paget Brewster, Emily Prentiss, would be in fewer episodes because of budget cuts. All the promotion for the second episode of season six, titled JJ, has been focused on the fact that the episode is the final one for JJ.
I will be discussing specifics of this episode, so read at your own risk if you haven’t watched it yet but still plan to.
JJ has been offered a position with the Pentagon that she has turned down twice. Erin Strauss, the woman who has tried to get Hotch out of the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) more than once, finds out about the job offer and isn’t happy that JJ turned the offer down. The BAU gets a new case dealing with a missing daughter. Suspects are discovered fairly quickly and it doesn’t take as much effort for the case to be solved. While the case is underway, decisions are being made higher up and the end result is that JJ has no choice about the job offer and Hotch can’t do anything to keep her.
The case dealing with the missing girl just didn’t make much of an impact with me. The case is resolved a lot easier than ones in previous episodes. Things with the case are wrapped up earlier than usual, leaving time to finish up with JJ. I couldn’t get interested in the case and I have a feeling other fans of the show will feel the same way.
It does seem like a lot of what unfolds with JJ in the episode is influenced by the decision of someone higher up at CBS to get rid of the character. JJ, just like Cook, has no say in what is happening to her. Different characters end up saying some things that seem to also apply to the real situation. The episode ends showing footage of JJ over the course of the series while her voice is heard, talking about how the job change isn’t her decision. All the episodes have a character voice over at the end, but this one is so much more personal. It does sound like it could have been Cook addressing the fans of the show – though I have no idea if she actually had input in those lines. JJ’s departure was handled well overall, but it is still sad and emotional.
As of right now, I will keep watching Criminal Minds. That might change, depending on how I think the show works without JJ. Two other cast members have left and the show has survived that, but that was earlier in the run of the series and under different circumstances. JJ has been around longer and has become a well liked character. Her departure is going to leave a hole, especially knowing that it wasn’t Cook’s decision to leave. I’m not as upset about Emily being cut back since I haven’t liked her as much, but I’m not happy about that either. I’m also not sure about a new female cast member joining the show.
This episode of Criminal Minds was done well considering the situation. The cast did well with the material, and the fact that characters were upset is completely believable. I can’t really describe the episode as enjoyable because of how sad it is.
Criminal Minds at IMDB.com