A.J. Cook is looking back on the legacy of her role on Criminal Minds ahead of the final season.
The actress, who has played Jennifer “JJ” Jareau, on the CBS crime procedural for most of its run, spoke about saying goodbye to the show in an interview published during production of the final episodes.
“It’s not a place I’m willing to let my mind go yet, you know?” she told Parade of leaving her 15-year job behind. “There’s a lot of compartmentalizing going on because we still have the job to do and we’re lucky that we still have this time together. We all just really enjoy each other. The chemistry is 110 percent real. We really enjoy each other and we know what we have is special. We know that lightning is probably not going to strike twice with that kind of chemistry.”
With only a few more weeks of shooting left at the time, Cook said the cast is enjoying every minute they get to spend together before production wraps on the show for good.
“We’re savoring every last moment and, the closer we get to the end, obviously, the harder it is,” she said. “As soon as I start letting my mind go there, I’m a mess, because I grew up here. This is my family. My family doesn’t know life without this show either.”
“It’s really been an amazing journey. To see a character evolve and grow that much is a real gift and something that most people don’t get the opportunity to do,” she added. “I’m so extremely grateful for that time that we had to see these characters grow up, change, go through the wringer and come out the other side and come out better for it. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to this character because truly she’s like a sister for me and I just feel so protective of her, so it’ll be really hard to say goodbye.”
While emotions will be heavy in the final days of filming, Cook was sure that the cast will remain close even after production is over. However, that doesn’t make leaving the show easier.
“…there is a little mourning there for these characters that we’ve developed and created, and watched change and grow. So, it’s a double-edged sword right now for sure,” she admitted. “People keep talking about the last day and I’m like, ‘Are you serious?’ I hope there’s a lot of emotional scenes in the last episode because we’re probably going to be crying a lot.”
The cast of Criminal Minds has been making headlines for documenting the final days of filming, showing bittersweet moments from the final table read, as well as group shots of the cast on set.
Details on the 10-episode final season of Criminal Minds are being kept under wraps, though it is expected to air sometime in the 2019-2020 season on CBS.