Criminal Minds has put viewers on the edge of our seats again with its season finale. In last week's part one of two, multiple members of the BAU team were injured in a shootout, and one character is rumored to be leaving the series in tonight's conclusion, "Demons." To get the dish on the season-ender, BFTV checked back in with A.J. Cook, who plays agent Jennifer "J.J." Jareau, after she spoke with us for the season premiere back in September.
While you're biting your nails waiting to see who survives, A.J. said she too gets nervous when it comes time for the season finale. "Absolutely. At the end of every year, I do," she told us. "I get super anxious and it's like 'What's going to happen?' Then as soon as you get that script, you just kind of flip to the end to see who's going to make it out and who's not and all that fun stuff. It was pretty mean, that cliffhanger! But that's how we do it on Criminal Minds."
"Demons" features a serial killer played by someone we know well: the ever-charming Michael Trucco, our One To Watch In 2014. If you didn't already know, Michael's the polar opposite of his character. "He's lovely. For some reason, I keep thinking he's Canadian. Maybe it's because he's so nice," A.J. laughed. "He's like 'It's kind of interesting to see him in this role, because he's not necessarily [playing] a good guy per se. It's fun.
"And we also have Brett Cullen, who plays Preacher Mills," she added. "He's amazing. He's pretty epic too."
Season 9 opened with a two-part case, and now it's closing with a two-parter as well. Does A.J. enjoy shooting two-part stories as opposed to single installments? "I do," she said. "Especially on a show like ours where it's quote unquote procedural, I think it's kind of cool. It definitely keeps the fans on the edge of their seat. And we certainly did that with how we left 'Angels.'"
Just don't ask her too many specifics about the episode. "Honestly? I was deathly ill shooting the whole thing," she revealed. "I don't remember much...I'll be watching it and it'll be new to me too.
"I get to do some cool action stuff. I have some nice interrogation scenes," she continued. "[J.J.] gets a little fiesty, when people mess with her team and people are threatened that she loves."
It's the capper to a big year for the actress, whose character got a whole lot of development this time around. "This was a huge season for J.J.," reflected A.J. "We got to learn a lot about her, and we've seen her kind of grow up and step into the profiler shoes, I guess you could say.
"'200' was a huge episode for J.J.," she added, referring to Criminal Minds' 200th episode, which aired in February and contained several major flashbacks to what went on with J.J. during her absence from the BAU in season six. "She can be tortured and almost raped and lose a kid. All these horrible things happened to her, which sort of informed who she is now. She's come a long way and she's a tough cookie for sure."
Yet the biggest development would seem to be yet to come. "We're just turning everything on its head for the season finale," A.J. said, revealing that "How this one ends is going to directly affect Season 10."
Unlike her character, A.J. can now enjoy some stress-free downtime. "I'm sitting on my rooftop deck right now just kind of soaking up the sun. My plan is to not do much of anything," she laughed. "I'm going to do some international press. I get to go to Monte Carlo and London. That'll be really cool for sure. I get to travel and enjoy life."
She certainly deserves the break. After all, she added, "It's been a long season!"
The Criminal Minds ninth-season finale airs tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on CBS. The series has already been renewed for a tenth season. For more on A.J. Cook, be sure you're following her on Twitter (@ajcookofficial).