Jennifer Jareau

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Jennifer Jareau
Criminal Minds character
AJ Cook as Jennifer Jareau
First appearance "Compulsion"
1x02, September 28, 2005
Created by Jeff Davis
Portrayed by A.J. Cook
Nickname(s) JJ
Occupation FBI Special Agent
Title FBI BAU Supervisory Special Agent
Family Rosaline Jareau
(sister) (deceased)
Unnamed niece
Sandy Jareau
Unnamed sibling

Jennifer "JJ" Jareau is a fictional character from the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, portrayed by AJ Cook.

Back story[edit]

During various episodes, Jareau has described growing up in a small town near Pittsburgh. She collected butterflies as a child, and also lost her 17-year-old sister, Rosaline, to suicide at age 11. A high school athlete, Jareau graduated from East Allegheny High School, where she was the captain of the varsity soccer team her senior year and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. She also attended Georgetown.

JJ decided to join the FBI after attending a book reading by BAU founder and Unit Chief Agent David Rossi. She once told Rossi that she had not known what to do with her life until she listened to his reading, which was held in the campus bookstore during her senior year in college. The next fall, she applied to the FBI Academy.

Time in the BAU[edit]

In the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), JJ acted as the team's liaison with the media and local police agencies.[1] Though talented and helpful, she was not actually a profiler, having once declined Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner's suggestion to take the necessary classes in behavioral analysis.[2] She works mostly out of the confines of the police stations and field offices the team visits. However, she does accompany the team on raids, and is proficient with firearms. This is made particularly clear when JJ resolves a hostage situation inside the BAU by killing the hostage-taker, Jason Clark Battle, with a single shot (Battle is a serial perpetrator of hero homicide, who lured Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia onto a date, and then shot her, in an attempt to keep his crimes from being discovered). During season six, JJ is given a promotion to the Pentagon, however, she returns in season seven as a full-time profiler, having received the necessary training.


In "The Boogeyman", JJ reveals that she is afraid of the woods. When Agents Derek Morgan and Dr. Spencer Reid ask her why, she tells them a chilling story about working as a summer camp counselor and discovering her boss's murdered body in his cabin. After telling the story, she admits she was joking, and says she doesn't know why she is afraid of the woods. In the same episode, JJ also states that she has a niece who, at the time, is about 8 years old.

When she and Reid unexpectedly came across serial killer Tobias Hankel in episode "The Big Game", and split up to apprehend the suspect, JJ walked into a dark barn and was attacked by several attack dogs. Although JJ shot and killed the dogs, saving her own life, Reid was abducted by Hankel in the meantime, and would later be tortured and almost killed by Hankel before the BAU team was able to rescue him. After this traumatic experience, it appears that JJ developed a fear of dogs.

In the episode "Penelope", it's announced that JJ has never shot someone until she shot the man who had attempted to kill, and who continued to threaten the life of, Penelope Garcia.


JJ is very loyal to her family and friends, as well as very protective. She is also known to be a crack shot. This was demonstrated in many episodes such as "Nanny Dearest" by shooting a fleeing suspect in the head at a faraway distance. In "Revelations", she killed numerous flesh eating dogs in a dark barn. In "Penelope" she kills Garcia's attacker by shooting him right between the eyes right as he turns around to find JJ behind him.

She also seems to have a slight obsession with Cheetos. She can be seen eating them often, and it was inferred that her online Scrabble handle was "Cheeto-breath" when she was playing Emily (who was hiding in Paris at the time).

Promotion to Pentagon and brief return[edit]

It is revealed in "JJ", that JJ had twice rejected a promotion to The Pentagon and hid the offers from her superiors. However, she is finally railroaded by Section Chief Director Erin Strauss into accepting the position because it would reflect highly upon Strauss' reputation. JJ's departure reflects that Cook was let go at the beginning of season six, for financial reasons relating to the premiere of the spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.[3] JJ's time at the Pentagon will be revealed in depth in season nine.

Cook later returned for the departure of Paget Brewster (Agent Emily Prentiss).[4] In the episode titled "Lauren", JJ receives a call and returns to help the BAU find Emily and capture Ian Doyle. The episode ends with Emily presumed dead after being stabbed with a broken chair leg in the stomach. It is later revealed that Emily is alive and in Paris with JJ's help, providing her passports from three different countries and a bank account in each "to keep her comfortable". In the season six finale, JJ returns in order to tell David Rossi that she is "coming back".

In "200", it was revealed that JJ's transfer was a backstop and that she was actually put on a task force in the Middle East with Mateo Cruz (who later became the section chief of the BAU following Strauss's death). During this time, she witnessed a mission she had pushed for fail and discovered one of the task force's informants dead.

Return to the BAU[edit]

The season seven premiere reveals that JJ has returned to the Behavioral Analysis Unit, having received the training to become a full-time profiler, instead of the Media Liaison, a position which has been split between Hotch and Garcia.

She is initially against summoning Prentiss "back from the dead," but Hotch insists on telling the team the truth. Also, she learns Reid is emotionally hurt by her deception, as she knew he cried for ten weeks after losing Prentiss and she never said a word, and Reid revealed he considered taking Dilaudid again.


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