Criminal Minds season 15 spotlight: What should be next for AJ Cook’s JJ?

Criminal MindsIn this week’s edition of our ongoing Criminal Minds season 15 spotlight series, the focus is planted squarely on Jennifer Jareau — an integral, foundational part of the series’ success. While she may not be in every single episode over the past 15 years, she’s been in the vast majority and brought a sense of humanity, kindness, and determination to everything she does. JJ’s a tough character to take down any UnSub, but also recognizes that being a good agent does not mean becoming a bull in a china shop. You need nuance, intelligence, and strategy to solve most cases; anything else will lead to a trail of dead bodies and probably a lot of clean up paper work afterwards.

Entering the final season, JJ’s in a fascinating place — obviously she’s more than capable of stopping future UnSubs, but can she keep her life away from work from being derailed after a stunning personal revelation in the season 14 finale? That’s one of the subjects we’re breaking down as we chart a course towards JJ’s ideal ending on this show.

Refresh your memory on the season 14 finale – Interested in doing so? Then check out our analysis in the video below! Be sure to subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube so you don’t miss any other videos coming up on the show. We have a Criminal Minds playlist to make your search for videos even easier.

Does JJ really love Spencer Reid? – The discussion at the end of season 14 was ambiguous — maybe the admission was only her trying to free herself and Reid both from a life-or-death situation. Or, maybe she meant it fully. Or, maybe there is a third option in that she didn’t meant it in the moment, but realized after the fact that she did. Before anything can happen (good or bad) in JJ’s life, clarity is needed. Otherwise, this moment will hover over everyone’s head and cause all sorts of anguish. (Luckily, showrunner Erica Messer told CarterMatt in an interview that such a resolution is coming early in season 15.)

What will JJ do about her feelings, if she even has them? – For those who love the relationship she has with Will, don’t think of this necessarily as putting them on the road to divorce. It could be an issue, but one they can work through. Marriage isn’t always perfect, and her having love for Reid doesn’t mean she has zero love for her husband. No matter how this situation unfolds, we don’t want it to sap away the JJ we’ve known all of these years. Having an affair, for example, would seem totally out of character and change the perception of her in a really negative way. It needs to be dealt with in a way that stays true to who she is, one where none of the people involved are severely hurt. Form there, all parties can take a deep breath, and then start to move forward.

Spotlight JJ’s relationship with her kids – This is something that really could use more attention. We get a little sense of it over time, and the strain that the BAU puts on both her marriage and the time she has with her kids. This could be the time to hone in on that a little bit more. Being a mom is a huge part of who she is, and we don’t want that to be ignored. She and Matt Simmons are the only characters still actively trying to raise kids. Giving more time to this will only make JJ more relatable as a character.

How willing is she to go back into the field? – The last time JJ was out there, she almost died. Is she really going to say “put me in, coach” to Prentiss right away? We get it that she’s probably used to heart-pounding situations after so many years in the BAU … but these people are not numb agent-robots. They do still feel and hurt and wrestle with the past. It would make sense for JJ to have some hesitation.

The culmination of her training – What has JJ taken away from her years at the BAU? We’d love to see her in situations in this final season where she’s a leader, a mentor, and an inspiration! The best way to showcase the journey of a character is to create contrast. Show viewers a reminder of how far she’s come, from the person she was in the early days to the seasoned agent she is today. It’ll give you all the more appreciation for the journey and remind you that every case matters … even the dozens of them you probably forget about a few hours after they first came on the air.

Want to see our most-recent spotlight about Rossi?

Then be sure to visit the link here! Also, sound off in the comments with your own wishes for JJ across the final season! (Photo: CBS.)

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