Criminal Minds fans, have you calmed down after the first part of the season 9 finale yet? No? It’s okay. I’m with you, which is why I jumped at the chance to hop on the phone with series star A.J. Cook to find out what’s coming up in “Demons” next week.

This week, “Angels” brought the team to Texas to investigate prostitute murders, but as they learned, nothing was as it seemed. By the end of the episode, they were involved in a shootout that left two of the team injured. However, based on what the actress had to say, that’s just the beginning and we haven’t seen anything yet.

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Read on for part one of my chat with A.J. Cook, and stay tuned for the rest next week.

BuddyTV: Congratulations on season 10.

A.J. Cook: Oh man, I know, isn’t that crazy? And the early pickup too, at that, so we’re pretty excited.

Clearly Criminal Minds isn’t slowing down. This past episode was insane.

I know, right? How’s that for a cliffhanger?

That public service announcement tweet was pretty much what we needed.

Well, I just knew everyone was going to lose it. We shoot the two pretty boys. I mean, come on. That’s just mean!

What did you think when you first read the script?

I always get super anxious toward the end of every season because you’re like, “Oh man, what’s coming? What are they going to do? What’s happening? Are they going to try to get rid of someone?” It’s just how you think as an actor. As soon as you get it, you just flip to the end to see what happens. So that was shocking to see that, but what’s even more shocking is how “Demons” ends. You thought that was a shocker, just wait ’til the end of part 2.

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If you had to describe [“Demons”] in three words, what would they be?

Shocking, thrill-ride and change.

How does this season finale compare to the previous ones?

This season finale is– Okay, so in the two-parter, we left everyone hanging with two people being shot, so that was a huge — we’ve never put two of our main characters in peril like that. And you would think that’s the end of it, but the end of part 2 is just as shocking. It’s going to directly affect the future of the show, so it’s crazy. It’s totally Criminal Minds-style, just make people’s jaws drop on the ground. So this is definitely going to do that.

Where is the team emotionally when the second part picks up?

We pick up right where we left off. We’re in the middle of that shootout, guns blazing, and we’re pissed off. When our team is affected, that’s when — when things get personal, that’s where we just want to get these bad guys, and it turns out that it’s just a really deep, deep web of corruption. The deeper the team digs, it’s just kind of this crazy mess, so we have that to deal with, yet we also emotionally have to deal with one of our team member’s life hanging in the balance and we also find out something really kind of sad, a sad secret from one of our characters that we didn’t know about. So it’s a big episode. There’s a lot going on, a lot of personal stuff with our characters. Yet in the middle of all of it, we’re deep in this riddle of trying to figure out how deep this corruption runs. It’s a nail-biter, it’s an edge-of-your-seat action ride and the cool part too is we get to see Garcia jump into that action scene, so yeah, we’re just kind of flipping everything on its head and seeing how it all falls. It’s going to be an exciting, exciting finale. 

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Can you talk about JJ’s journey, especially what we saw this season, and how that affects her in the finale?

She went through a lot this season. We learned about her past and sort of why she is the way she is now. JJ is fierce when something happens to people she loves and she’s going to protect them and do whatever she has to do to save the day. She definitely takes on that action stance, but at the same time, she deals with a lot of the interrogations and dealing with some of these women that are kind of stuck in the middle of this corruption, so she’s trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together while people she loves are trying to survive. It’s a very emotional and action-packed episode. I’m dying to hear what everyone thinks about it when they see it.

Criminal Minds 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.