It’s been one year since JJ was abducted and tortured (in the show’s 200th episode), and this week, Criminal Minds is going to be showing her confronting old demons and dealing with her PTSD, something that she hasn’t done up until now, as AJ Cook told BuddyTV.

Which team member is she going to talk to about what she’s feeling? How is Faran Tahir returning as Tivon Askari? Read on for part 1 of this exclusive interview with Cook.

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It sounds like this next episode is going to be one of the toughest ones yet for JJ. How has she been dealing with her PTSD?

Well, that’s just it. She hasn’t been. This is what has her in the predicament she is in “The Forever People.” It just so happens that the anniversary is coming up, and that’s a lot of the times what pushes people over the edge to break and to snap. She’s not been dealing with it. She’s been suppressing it and just pushing it down and pushing it down, as you do, as a working mom and just as a busy individual. You don’t have time to deal with it. You don’t want to acknowledge it because if you don’t acknowledge it, maybe it’s not really there. Unfortunately, when you’ve been through something as traumatic as her, that’s only going to fly for so long. I think it’s great. I’m impressed that she’s even held it together this long. It’s nice to see that she’s not superhuman, you know? It’s nice to see that she has real emotions and that she has to deal with things like everyone else and has to face her demons.

So, in this episode, in particular, it’s been really, really nice because Spencer, Dr. Reid, is the one that kind of calls her on it. We kind of get to see their incredible relationship again. We haven’t seen it in a really long time, but these two are best friends and they really care for one another and they love each other and you really feel that, you really feel their connection and the want from Dr. Reid to help JJ so badly, and you really feel the desperation from JJ looking at Dr. Reid, just sort of pleading, ‘Help me, what is – I don’t know what’s going on here.’ We have a lot of really great scenes, just really sincere scenes that I think the audience will respond to and they were so much fun – I don’t know if fun’s the right word – but very emotional to shoot. Yeah, it’s a heavy one, for sure.

The storyline through the episode — the team finds a bunch of frozen bodies in the water in Nevada, which obviously doesn’t add up, so they head out there, and it starts to unfold that it may have to do with a cult, which is so fascinating to me, that there’s so many twists and turns within that cult. It was written really well, and it’s definitely a thrill ride from the beginning to end, so I’m excited for people to see it.

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The man who abducted JJ returns, so are we seeing flashbacks? Is JJ having nightmares? How is that going to play out?

I know! When that guest cast list was released and Tivon Askari was on there, people kind of were very confused by that, like ‘What? How? How is he there? I thought he was dead…’ I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s one of the most intense scenes I’ve ever shot in my life, and he is so freakin’ talented, Faran [Tahir], and this episode would not have worked if he didn’t come back and play with us. There is an insanely intense scene between the two of us, so that’s all I say on that. … I don’t want to give anything away, because it’s such a cool thing that they did. I’ll let everyone be surprised.

Watch the promo for “The Forever People” below:

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Criminal Minds season 10 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Meredith Jacobs

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

If it’s on TV — especially if it’s a procedural or superhero show — chances are Meredith watches it. She has a love for all things fiction, starting from a young age with ER and The X-Files on the small screen and the Nancy Drew books. Arrow kicked off the Arrowverse and her true passion for all things heroes. She’s enjoyed getting into the minds of serial killers since Criminal Minds, so it should be no surprise that her latest obsession is Prodigal Son.