Monday, June 21, 2010

CRIMINAL MINDS: AJ COOK -ONE FAN'S PERSPECTIVE


CRIMINAL MINDS: AJ COOK – One Fan’s Perspective
By: Kris Quiroz-Orr

I have been asked many times before why and how I became a fan of AJ Cook. Since she was released from the show, I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot so I thought I’d share the reasons with you.

First of all, I will say I have never been the person that likes the obvious fan-favorite best. I’m dating myself here but when I was a kid, everyone liked Ponch on CHiPs while I liked Jon. Everyone loved Farrah Fawcett on Charlie’s Angels; I was a Jaclyn Smith fan. Which is not to say I didn’t like Ponch or Farrah but I don’t always pick the most popular character on a show as my personal favorite.

So you see on Criminal Minds, Hotch would be so easy to be a fan of. How could you not like the strong leader of this group? Or even Matthew with his offbeat quirkiness and his little kid brother likeability or Shemar just because he’s so physically attractive. Even the other women on Criminal Minds are extremely easy to love. Kirsten and Paget both are beautiful, funny and warm.

So why AJ? Well the first time I met AJ Cook was at an event for Criminal Minds at The Paley Center. The entire cast was there and they were all so personable and quite funny. I remember being surprised that AJ was there having just given birth to her son less than two months before. But she was a trooper and was there, looking a beautiful as ever. My first reaction…she does not look like a woman that just had a baby.

The panel was extremely entertaining and we spent a lot of time laughing as we listened to their tales from the set and about their lives. You could tell the seven of them were tight and seemed to genuinely like each other. You could also tell that AJ had been missed by her castmates while she was out on her recent maternity leave.

Afterward, the cast signed autographs and posed for pictures; everyone was so gracious with their time. Honestly it made me love the show ever more. The group then migrated to the lobby of The Paley Center

The friend I’d gone with and I decided to go say hello to AJ. At the time I liked the character of JJ just fine. I was one of those fans who was more of a fan of the entire team than of any one character. All that changed with a simple conversation.

AJ Cook was lovely to speak with; so open and honest, so kind. We spoke a bit about that night, about the show, about how much JJ deserved a great storyline. AJ had not yet announced anything about her son. We only knew she had given birth to a little boy in September. I asked her about her son and she couldn’t have been prouder to speak about him. She told me his name and how blessed she and her husband Nathan felt to have him in their lives. AJ had just returned back from her leave and she spoke about how hard it was to leave him and how tired she was.

Quite frankly, talking to AJ was like talking to a friend. If you didn’t know she was an actress, you would have just felt like you were talking to a pal. She makes you feel like that; she makes you feel like you are a friend. There is nothing fake about her.

I’ve had a couple of other conversations with her since that night. Once at the studio when I paid a visit with Jill and another time when I was a guest at the party for the 100th episode party at The Breeder’s Cup. AJ has always been warm and friendly and let me tell you, it is not an act.

Ask anybody about AJ Cook and they will tell you she is the salt of the earth. She is very laid-back and easy going. The woman is not a diva or a nightmare like you hear other actresses are on the sets of other shows. She is simply a wonderful light God put on this Earth. She did not deserve to be treated like this.

So when I watch AJ on Criminal Minds, I always root for her. I will miss her tremendously if she is not brought back. There is no replacing this wonderful actress in the Criminal Minds ensemble or in the hearts and minds of the fans. We should all feel bad when someone as kind and warm as AJ is treated like this. She deserves better and, if I can’t root for her on CM, I will root for her wherever she lands.

I have also had the pleasure of meeting Paget Brewster and can’t wait to share some of my thoughts on our favorite dark-haired agent with you soon.

43 comments:

hotchnerprentiss said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kris! She sounds like an amazing women.

ivyhamster said...

She always seems so sincere and sweet in the interviews she gives and I really enjoyed her chat a few weeks ago. I feel terrible for her. It has to be very painful being let go by a show that she has helped make wonderful for five seasons. She has my support now and in the future.

Vanessa said...

Thanks for your thoughts Kris. AJ does always seem lovely and the reaction of her fellow cast shows how valued she is. I followed her from The Virgin Suicides to Tru Calling to Criminal Minds and I'll continue to follow your career. AJ is a gem and CBS are idiots.

Tracy said...

Beautiful!

abbey rollings said...

Just thinking about her leaving the show is enough to bring a tear to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your experiences with A.J. with us.

Blair said...

Kris, this was a great article. How sweet and throughtful of you to do this.

AJ is one of those rare few actresses that are completely down-to-earth and just plain real. I've never even met her before (though I wish to), and I can already tell. From the fan encounters, from the interviews she does, etc. Such a nice person, but also has a hard shell I see.

Hollyweird is a place where you constantly have to keep your head up and keep your feet running, and that's exactly what AJ's doing. Keeping it classy and mature, while there's just plain chaos concerning her work-life. How can you NOT appreciate someone like her?

To me, AJ's irreplaceable and they've made a huge mistake in letting someone like her go.

She knows by now though that she's got plenty of support, love and appreciation from her fans, no matter what is decided and what will happen. :)

Kris ftw!

AJ Cook ftw!

gil and sara rule said...

If she was some super hard to work with, nasty, big egoes actress I would be able to better understand CBS' decision but your story just backs up all the lovely things we've heard about AJ all these years. She just doesn't deserve to be tossed away like garbage. Well done Kris!

celeste said...

Very sincere and very moving.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kris for sharing - yes the more I read, the more I see, the more I hear, the madder I get. This is such a travesty, and yes everyone is saying AJ is great and talented and she'll get more work. Firstly that is not really the point and secondly, I am afraid it is not that simple - as an actor myself and a female at that I know just how this business with it's fickleness, bitchiness, sexist and agesit industry it is. AJ if you read this, know that we the fans of CM and all decent minded people are behind you and Paget and we will continue to support you whatever may come of this.

Denise said...

What a great article! Thanks for writing and sharing with us.

Michaela said...

Reading the words here wrote about AJ has brought tears to my eyes. I have follow AJ's career for many years now, but I have never have been lucky enough to meet her.

She seems like a sweet, sincere person who does her job for the love of it - not to get famous like so many others.

She has given so much to CBS. Like said in the post, she returned to work mere weeks after giving birth. To her first child no less.

I just hope with my whole heart that CBS rethink their desicion, and reinstate AJ in her original position.

henri said...

Terrific fan tribute Kris!

She sounds like a truly wonderful lady. Lordy knows she is fantastic actress.

Maura Newman said...

My disgust with CBS just rose a notch and I didn't think that it was possible to get any madder than I already am. Your sweet article is just another example of why her being fired sucks and is totally unfair. Thank you for writing it and Jill for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Great article Kris, wish CBS could see what we see in AJ and change its decision.


Brigitte

waldingerz said...

Wow! You are so lucky to have met these fine ppl. With every story of meeting any one of them, the theme is the love for each other and the wonderful appreciation they show the fans. I hope you sent this to Tassler, who, by firing AJ, has demonstrated she hovers on the dark side! Please call her and read this to her on her voicemail.

wren said...

If I could meet only one of the actors on the show it would be AJ. Cool article. Thanks. Lets hope all of our efforts change CBS' mind.

Caitlin said...

Thank you for sharing that with all of us! AJ seems like a terrific person. She is a wonderful actress & Criminal Minds won't be the same if they don't put her back on the show.

Judy said...

Loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about AJ.

rayna said...

Firing AJ doesn't make any sense and it is so unfair to all her fans. I hope her next project brings her the recognition she deserves. She sounds like a doll.

Jaclyn said...

Kris thanks for sharing those thoughts! They were awesome...AJ has always struck me as the type of person who is, as you say, the "salt of the earth." There is no way to fake the wholesome goodness she projects.

And I am with you on Charlie's Angels...I love(d) Jaclyn Smith over everyone else! In fact my mother got my name from hers...you could say I am named after her!

AJ definately w/o a doubt brings all she is to the JJ character and it shows. While some people are the complete opposite of those they portray on tv...AJ and JJ seem like they are the same person.

lorijobelle said...

Thank you for this story Kris. The team will never be the same. I will never abandon the show, as some have threatened. I just love it and the other six team members too much. Now, I feel even worse, knowing what a kind and gentle soul AJ is. I just feel helpless out here in twitterland watching everything unfold.

Laura said...

I hope your viewpoint shows A.J. one important thing, possibly the only good thing that can be drawn from this situation: Her fans adore her.

We know what a wonderful person she is, and we are heartbroken to see her going through this. And I know I don't just speak for myself when I say that we'll all keep fighting for her!

enormousvdofan said...

I've spent five seasons waiting for them to develop JJ's character and I feel cheated. I've really enjoyed watching AJ on CM and I really can't wrap my mind around her being gone from the show. I will miss both AJ and JJ. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us and I hope AJ gets the chance to read what you wrote. She seems like the type of person who would really appreciate the kind words.

megan connor said...

Thanks


xoxox AJ!

Rosemary said...

Thanks for the article.
I could cry when I think that "they" could actually let AJ go. She has been there from the beginning and has always been such an important part of the show and helped to make it the success that it is.
It doesn't surprise me that she is also a sweet person but it is nice to read.
I can't imagine what she must be going through right now but she does know that the fans love her and always will be behind her whatever happens.
Don't do it CBS. You are blessed with 7 very talented people who work amazing together. Don't split them up!!!!!

allstar22015 said...

This is so moving and beautifully written; I really feel like I could cry. Thanks for putting it out here, and I wish the best for AJ Cook.

jenna r. said...

Kris, Thanks for sharing your impressions and thoughts about A.J. with us. She sounds like a really classy lady.

Nina Tassler could take a lesson from her!

Kathryn said...

Love this article! Makes not regret more for loving this show to pieces!

I still believe that those with good heart and pure intentions always prevail. I bet this goes the same to AJ, Paget and the rest of the CM family!

Anonymous said...

First off let me say that I am very jealous that you have met both of them. Thank you for sharing your story. AJ seems like such a down to earth good person which is exactly what I would have expected. I feel so bad for her all of this cannot be easy. I will support her always.

laurel said...

Bravo Kris. I loved reading your article. I hope that she knows how many loyal fans she has.

Pamela P. said...

I hope that the fight isn't over to keep AJ on the show though the news doesn't sound good. She sounds like a cool gal and I will miss her on the show.

brooke said...

Her goodness and talent has earned her very loyal fans like you Kris. I bet that she sincerely appreciates all the fan support she has gotten and is still getting.

carla from montana said...

I ditto everyone else. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about AJ with us. I truly loved reading about your interactions with her.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Like you I am not always 'attracted' to the obvious choice on a show (I was a Jon fan on CHiPS as well) While Hotch is my favorite a very close second is JJ.

I likely will stop watching simply because I find it very distastful to say we're cutting back financially so AJ Cook has to go but we'll bring in another actress in a few episodes to replace her. Sure this actress will likely cost less being new to the Criminal Minds contract and will not have the built in increases, however, if money truly was the issue why not negotiate with the entire cast so that everyone sits out two or three episodes in a 24 episode season.

Someone could be on vacation or on a seminar or consulting on a case or interviewing a death row inmate or whatever. Seven actors all sitting out three episodes (or gasp, four) would save a lot of money and keep the entire cast intact.

CBS hopefully will take care in the future to cast smaller ensemble shows so as to keep these costs in check in the future. I'd rather fall in love with five characters and keep them the entire time than fall in love with seven and have two ousted so rudely.

AJ Cook sounds like a woman with her head squarely on her shoulders and a good perspective and that is to her credit. CBS however has been very shameful since they apparently gave no thought to announcing this quietly behind the scenes and then going public but rather decided to wait until just before the new season's filming began and then boom, ousted this fine actress.

AJ Cook, you sound like a class act, judging by your response over this past week, simply thanking the fans and affirming your affection and respect for your castmates, you are a class act. Greater things will come, for now perhaps you'll be able to do the greatest thing you can ever imagine, raise your little boy hands on, what a gift.

Thank you for five wonderful seasons.

Jericholuva said...

CM won't be the same w/out AJ. Great blog post, Kris.

Emily said...

What a wonderful article you've written. She seems like such a genuine, good-hearted person. I don't understand how CBS could propose wrapping up her character's story line in 1 episode. What a slap in the face!

Silvinha said...

This is so beautiful!!

I feel horrible about all this situation and this is not fair. AJ doesn't deserve this and I truly wish her all my best.

After five seasons Criminal Minds would never be the same without her. And I don't want to say goodbye!


Thank you very much for sharing with us!

Sophie said...

Thankyou for sharing your story, you're so lucky to have met both AJ and Paget!
Hopefully CBS and NT will see how wonderful both women are and give them their full time jobs back with sincere apologies!

Blümchen said...

What a great article, thanks for sharing Kris.
She is a wonderful person, the words are true.

Patricia said...

This was a beautiful article. AJ always added something to CM and was really missed when on maternity leave. On the show she comes across as such a sweet person and in "real" life obviously is. The show cannot be the same without her.

Aline Souto said...

Kris, thank you for showing AJ. I loved the words: "Ask anybody about AJ Cook and Will They tell you she is the salt of the earth. She is very laid-back and easy going. The woman is not a diva or a nightmare like you hear on the other actresses are sets of other shows. She is Simply a wonderful light God put on this Earth. She did not deserve to b treated like this. "
She really deserves better.
AJ, we love you and we miss you.
Brazil loves you!!!

Vali said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Kris. You spoke from your heart and it has touched me.

BeauJest77 said...

CM died for me this week. Truthfully, it is one of two primetime shows that have held my interest during the past 3-4 years. And AJ is captivating. Her real-life genuineness radiates through her character. Cant imagine this show without her, so CM is RIP after season 5. I know she will handle this with class and dignity, and she'll be just fine. Too bad the same cant be said for the full-of-themselves clueless suits at cbs.