‘Criminal Minds’: AJ Cook Directed an Episode of the Show

by Amanda Glover

Actress AJ Cook has had the honor of playing Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer “JJ” Jareau since the beginning of “Criminal Minds.” But the star has a few other tricks up her sleeve.

Born and raised in Oshawa, Canada, Cook’s career took off while in college. She got her big break at 21-years-old in Sofia Coppola’s debut film, “The Virgin Suicides.” After the film, Cook starred in “Higher Ground,” co-starring with Hayden Christensen.

With the help of Looper, let’s take a look into the actress’s career in the industry. When she decided her career would take off farther in the United States, she moved to Los Angeles, California. The actress was lucky enough to be cast in “Criminal Minds” within a year of moving to the states. From there, her career took off even further.

According to AJ Cook, joining the cast made her feel like she “kept winning the lottery. The cast has become my family, and they have all helped shape me as a human being. I was a child when I started that show. I couldn’t have asked for a better family, and I consider it a true blessing I got to do that for as long as I did.”

Although Cook’s performance on “Criminal Minds” was one to be proud of, she discovered another great love. She directed an episode of the hit show in 2019. The actress directed Season 14 Episode 13 of “Chameleon.”

In an interview with TV Insider, the Canadian actress discusses being able to fulfill her dream of directing. “It’s just such a great energy and people are supportive of one another,” she stated. “I love acting and it will always be a huge part of me, but there was just something about directing that felt like home.” 

Here’s Where You’ve Seen AJ Cook Since ‘Criminal Minds’ Ended

Since her hit crime drama ended in 2020, AJ Cook has been keeping herself busy.

Even though her time as Jennifer “JJ” Jareau is sadly over for a while, the actress still relates to JJ in one way—she’s a proud wife and momma!

AJ Cook’s two blonde beauties with her husband of two decades, Mehkai and Phoenix, got their first acting roles alongside their mom in “Criminal Minds.” When the snow wrapped up, she told Parade Magazine that she would be taking some time off to spend with her family.

Aside from mothering, Cook is a board member Cook is an ambassador and board member of The Innocent Lives Foundation, founded by her husband Nathan Andersen, and continues to regularly work to support them. According to the non-profit’s website, their mission is “to identify anonymous child predators to help bring them to justice.” Well, Outsiders, it looks like Cook’s role on “Criminal Minds” managed to transfer over to real life.

While filming the hit CBS series, she held a contest to benefit the foundation. It also allowed a fan the chance to visit her on set. As a big “Criminal Minds” fan, that’s something I would’ve loved to participate in! What about you, Outsiders? Which member of the cast would you be most excited to see in person?