It was recently disclosed that AJ Cook, who plays Jennifer (JJ) Jareau on on CBS’s Criminal Minds, will not be returning for their next season. Her option has not been picked up, as it were. On top of this, Paget Brewster’s (Emily Prentiss) offer was for a reduced role in the upcoming season.
Rumors abound that this is a financial decision. Rumor also has it that JJ’s character will be replaced with another woman. I suppose we’re supposed to be comforted by that, but honestly, all that leads me to believe is that the thought process was along the lines of:
1) We need to trim the budget.
2) We can’t touch the guys. They’re the GUYS.
3) Garcia’s got a little sumpin-sumpin UST with Morgan, Kirsten’s safe.
4) I’ll bet we could get someone younger and cheaper for AJ’s role. Perfect, as we need to work on the male 18-34 anyway! Always, always!
5) Is a female profiler really believable? Not full time, pfft. Let’s cut Paget back a little.
Oooookay. Right. So of an ensemble cast composed of four men and three women, the two impacted by these financial decisions happen to be female. Yay for keeping Kirsten Vangsness employed because I ADORE her and her character. Boo for the rest of it.
Frankly, I’d be upset to see this happen to any of the cast. Really, I swear. (But not really, really.) And my thoughts on the spin-off are … not positive. But my hackles are up on this situation, way up. In full disclosure, I should mention that several years ago one of my, uh, company’s branch offices decided it was a grand idea to let go three (THREE!) women in order to keep a grossly overcompensated man fat and happy, so I could be knee-jerking. By the way, I am not implying the male portion of the cast is grossly overcompensated, though I would be surprised if any of them made less than the women currently/formerly in the cast. So, financially speaking, CBS likely could save more money by “creatively managing” the male ensemble members than the female.
So, am I knee-jerking? I encourage you to talk amongst yourselves. 😉