While all of the petitioning from Criminal Minds fans couldn’t save A.J. Cook from being wrongfully fired from the series, it appears that we haven’t seen the last of Cook’s lovable character Jennifer Juneau. This spring, Cook will be returning to Criminal Minds for a single episode.
Last summer, the Criminal Minds fandom rightfully revolted against the brash, thoughtless decision from the “powers that be” to terminate Cook’s contract with the series.
While departing cast members is not uncommon in television or for this series (Mandy Patinkin and Lola Glaudini both left previously), Criminal Minds has been criticized for their obvious and ongoing trimming of female cast members. Unfortunately, J.J.’s character reprise does nothing but confirm the accusations.
Cook’s return is neither a sole character piece nor a welcoming return for her character. Instead, Cook will be returning for former co-star Paget Brewster’s final episode. Facing the same fate as Cook, Brewster’s character Emily Prentiss was given a smaller role in this season of Criminal Minds, only to be completely written off midway through.
As fans will undoubtedly be happy to see Cook return to the BAU, the fact that it correlates with Brewster’s final episode somewhat dampens any potential joy. Fortunately, Criminal Minds fans are not the only ones unhappy with the way the series had chosen to release select female cast members. Kristen Vangsness, who plays the lovely Penelope Garcia, had a few choice words about this when we talked with her last July.
"It certainly didn’t feel good and certainly doesn’t make you feel like, 'Oh, everybody’s ok!' It makes you very aware that it’s a job and if they need you, they keep you, and if they don’t, they fire you.
Not that [Cook’s] not necessary! But, someone made a decision that she was not necessary and that’s a bad decision – in my opinion. My job, I did not choose to be “whoever makes these decisions” and that’s their choice. It’s like you’re living in someone’s rental and they get to decide who stays and who goes -- and it BLOWS!"
Perhaps it’s Vangsness’ sidekick-esque nature on the series or the fact that fans absolutely love her character, but Penelope Garcia seems to be the only female character that’s safe for any transition to the Criminal Minds “boys club” that appears to be forming. In fact, Vangsness will now be pulling double duties as her character will also appear in the Criminal Minds spin-off, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.
Even if it’s for a single episode and even if it's brought on by the departure of another female cast member, it will be nice to see A.J. Cook return to the series. Of course, whether or not these calculated character dismissals will mark the beginning of the end of this series still remains to be seen.
Criminal Minds airs Wednesday @9pm, on CBS
Source: TV Line