Season 14 of Criminal Minds ended on a huge twist in the love department when JJ revealed her longtime love for friend and colleague Reid. Their last scene together in the finale indicated that the story of JJ's feelings for Reid was far from over, and fans of their potential romance had something fun to speculate about over hiatus. Now, however, an outside love interest has been cast for Reid that may not make JJ too happy. Rachael Leigh Cook will appear in Criminal Minds' final season as Reid's love interest.
Rachael Leigh Cook of Perception fame will play a woman by the name of Max. A woman with a kind heart and straightforward nature, Max apparently will have plenty of quirks to set herself apart. Cook will appear in at least two of the ten episodes in Criminal Minds' final season. Notably, appearances in more than two episodes have not been ruled out, and filming is currently ongoing. It's entirely possible that there will be more of Max than can be reported now.
Although it's too early to guess how exactly Max will fit into (or stick out of) the Reid/JJ dynamic that had to have changed after JJ's bombshell revelation, it sounds to me like Criminal Minds has found a character who may not come across as "the bad guy" for getting in the way of a potential romance.
Of course, Reid/JJ shippers who have been hoping for a love connection from the very beginning may not be happy about Max, but nobody should panic just yet. Rachael Leigh Cook could be a fun addition to the show before its final credits roll. Reid may need all the support he can get, depending on how the story with his mom goes down.
Even if she wants to be, JJ may not be able to be there for him in the ways he needs. She is after all a seemingly happily married mom. Although the finale didn't end with JJ explicitly reaffirming that she was sincere when she dropped the love bombshell on Reid during a bad guy's twisted game of "Truth or Dare," it wasn't difficult to see that she couldn't take it back.
The confession that she's loved him for years is out there. With an outside love interest in the mix and JJ's husband presumably still around, how are they going to handle it? Will Max be impacted by what could be a messy situation? Will JJ and Reid struggle with their professionalism now that the confession is out there?
Not too many questions can be answered ahead of the premiere of Season 15, but Criminal Minds head honcho Erica Messer did tell TVLine that the confession is "definitely a huge driver for the first handful of episodes that will help add layers to those characters again." So, whatever goes down between Reid and JJ, don't expect it to be over and done with after just the first couple of episodes!
Unfortunately, there's no premiere date set for the fifteenth and final season, so there's no saying how long we'll be waiting to see what happens next. The good news is that there are plenty of solid TV options now and in the not-too-distant future, and you can find them on our midseason TV premiere schedule.