A.J. Cook is a Canadian actress best known for her roles in the TV dramas Criminal Minds and Higher Ground and the films The Virgin Suicides and Final Destination 2.
A.J. Cook was born in Oshawa, Ontario but she and her three siblings spent most of their life growing up in Whitby. Her father is a teacher and her mother is a sheriff and works for a psychiatrist.
At four years of age, Cook began taking jazz, tap and ballet lessons. She danced competitively for many years and taught the art in her Oshawa home before deciding at the age of 17 that she wanted to try acting. She then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to study at Utah Valley University, where she first meet her now husband at a film class, until work made them move to Los Angeles around mid-2002.
Not exactly a total beginner - she had starred in school productions of Romeo and Juliet and You Can't Take it With You - she paid her dues with small roles and TV commercials. As a matter of fact Cook's first job was in the children's TV series Goosebumps and after a McDonald's commercial in 1997, she landed parts in two television movies, In His Father's Shoes and Elvis Meets Nixon.
In 1999 she got her first big break as one of the five blonde suicidal Lisbon sisters in The Virgin Suicides. That same year she took a starring role in the Vancouver-shot cable-TV series Higher Ground, in which she played Shelby Merrick, a rough-around-the-edges teenage girl dealing with abuse and heartache at a wilderness school for struggling kids.
After another TV movie and the snowboarding comedy Out Cold, Cook found her niche as a lead actress in thriller/horror movies including Ripper: Letter From Hell in 2001, Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell, The House Next Door and Final Destination 2 as Kimberly Corman, her most notable role on the big screen since. At the same time she was cast in guest star roles in TV series like PSI Factor, First Wave and Dead Like Me, and a recurring role as Lindsay Walker in True Calling.
Finally, in 2005 she got the role that has allowed her to gain recognition, FBI Special Agent Jennifer Jareau, media liaison-turned-profiler of the BAU leading team, in the drama series Criminal Minds.
During the hiatus of her main work, she continues to get roles in films like Vanished, Misconceptions and Mother's Day.
- Least Among Saints (2013) - Cheryl
- Criminal Minds - 206 episodes (2005-present) TV episodes - Jennifer "JJ" Jareau
- Mother's Day (2010) - Vicky Rice
- Misconceptions (2008) - Miranda Bliss
- Night Skies (2007) - Lilly
- Vanished (2006) - Hope
- I'm Reed Fish (2006) - Theresa
- Bloodsuckers (2005) - Fiona
- Tru Calling - 21 episodes (2003-2004) TV episodes - Lindsay Walker
- Dead Like Me - Sunday Mornings (2003) TV episode - Charlotte
- Final Destination 2 (2003) - Kimberly Corman
- The House Next Door (2002) - Lori Peterson
- Out Cold (2001) - Jenny
- Ripper (2001) - Molly Keller
- Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (2001) - Diana Collins
- First Wave - The Flight of Francis Jeffries (2000) TV episode - Lindsay Tilden
- Higher Ground - 22 episodes (2000) TV episodes - Shelby Merrick
- The Spiral Staircase (2000) - Local Girl
- Teen Sorcery (1999) - Dawn
- The Virgin Suicides (1999) - Mary Lisbon
- Blue Moon (1999) - Alison
- PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal - Second Sight/Chocolate Soldier (1997) - Jill Starling and Hell Week (1998) TV episodes - Lee Mason
- Elvis Meets Nixon (1997) - Hippie chick
- Goosebumps - Don't Wake Mummy (1997) TV episode - Kim Carter
- In His Father's Shoes (1997) - Lisa
- Laserhawk (1997) - Pretty Girl #1
- For an up-to-date Filmography: imdb.com/A.J. Cook
- Her oldest real-life son, Mekhai Andersen, portrays Henry LaMontagne, the son of her character Jennifer Jareau, on the show, starting with an uncredited appearance in the Season Five episode "100".
- In order to realistically portray the torture JJ experiences in "200", Cook agreed to actually be waterboarded. She was also hung up by bonds for hours at a time to act out a scene. This resulted in her losing feeling in her arm for a month.
- At one point, most likely before Mekhai was born, Cook admitted that she hoped for JJ and Reid to end up together.
- Much like Mekhai, Cook's newborn son, Phoenix Andersen, portrays Michael LaMontagne, the new son of Jennifer Jareau, on the show, starting with an uncredited appearance in the Season Eleven premiere "The Job".