Why did A.J. leave Criminal Minds?

A.J. Cook, who played Jennifer Jareau in Criminal Minds left the series in season six due unconfirmed reasons, only to return during the seventh season.


Criminal Minds is no stranger to the departure of beloved main characters due to the nature of the show being a long-running television series.

However, when it was announced that A.J. Cook who played Jennifer Jareau, would be making a surprise exit in season six, the fans made numerous calls for her return.

Was A.J. Cook fired from Criminal Minds?

When A.J. Cook left Criminal Minds, fans questioned the reason for her abrupt departure, with some even speculating if she was fired. With no news of any behind-the-scenes antics, it’s safe to assume that Cook was not to responsible for her departure.

Why did A.J. Cook leave Criminal Minds?

According to the production, Cook was dismissed from Criminal Minds for two reasons, both of which are not her fault. Firstly, she was dismissed due contractual disputes. Secondly, the production budget called for the series to make some cast cuts. Nevertheless, both reasons suggest that the executives did not believe in paying Cook her rightful salary, which is surprising, considering the impact her role had on the show. However, in light of the fans demanding her immediate return, it seems that the executives changed their minds.

When did A.J. Cook return to Criminal Minds?

It did not take long for A.J. Cook to reprise her role as Jennifer Jareau, as she returned to the show in the season seven premiere. The quick turnaround time of her return is attributed to the calls from the public, as at the time, it was suggested that Cook was simply going to be replaced with another actress.


In season six of Criminal Minds, the series faced its first major cast shakeup, which had fans threatening to boycott the show due to A.J. Cook’s departure.

While the speculated reasons were financial, it seems that the executives opted to comply with the calls from the public, as Cook returned at the beginning of season seven.