Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jennifer "JJ" Jareau: Equal Parts Conviction and Compassion

Many in the Criminal Minds fandom were excited to learn that the January 20th episode "Risky Business" promised some long-awaited backstory on our team's press liaison. Great ratings last night...second this season only to the premier. Was this a coincidence? Maybe...but the fact of the matter is, JJ has long been a character that we are very curious about.

"Risky Business", written by Jim Clemente, tells the story of four recent teenage suicides in a small town in Wyoming. JJ feels a personal connection to the case and at the end we find out why.

JJ has this strength of conviction that is very compelling. She showed us again last night that she has great instincts. Hotch believes in her abilities and once again agreed to look into a case when others might have questioned whether the BAU should be involved. The big brother/little sister relationship that Hotch and JJ have is one that isn't showcased enough. Thomas Gibson and AJ Cook have great chemistry together.

We found out last night what helped shape JJ's compassionate side: her sister committed suicide when JJ was eleven. No other details were given so we don't know the reasons why, but JJ experienced a tragic loss at a very early age. It has often been said that JJ exudes so much humanity and kindness when dealing with the families that have lost loved-ones. We now know why. One can only imagine how awful this would have been for her and her family to go through.

Yet, after dealing with a case that struck so close to her heart, what does JJ do after revealing to Hotch that she lost her own sister to suicide? She uses that painful memory to perhaps provide a little hope and comfort to her boss. She tells him that "It does get better, Hotch. Losing someone is never easy but one day you'll remember her and you won't hurt. You'll be happy." Such powerful words.

Wonderful work last night by AJ Cook as well as the rest of our terrific cast. Like Hotch says at the end of the episode, "Thank you for everything."


  1. I really like this posting. It shows the great understanding the writer has about the episode. Such articles are so refreshing to read. My hats off to the author.

    It is a great episode where the team was in forefront and are awesome. Learning about JJ secret was so sad. But she kept it professional and did well. The scene between her and Hotch showed that they really understand each other. Garcia “interrogating” the boy was a really a cool moment and the plane scene at the end was so welcome after a case like we saw. Thumb up to the actors, crew and writer!

  2. I agree with Sofie, this post is well written and spot on!! I view Hotch as fatherly to most on the team except for Rossi and JJ. You're right, it is more big bro/lil sis and def not showcased enough! A lot of the exchange between Hotch and JJ in this ep was non-verbal and I am once again in awe of Thomas Gibson's acting skills. So subtle yet powerful. Can someone please just hand this man an Emmy right now please? LOL.


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