|“||There are things we don't want to happen but have to accept. Things we don't want to know but have to learn. And people we can't live without but have to let go.||”|
— JJ in "J.J."
Jennifer "JJ" Jareau is a Supervisory Special Agent who was the BAU's former liaison with police and media officials. Upon her return in Season Seven, she officially becomes a profiler while her original position has gone to Aaron Hotchner (until his departure from the BAU) and Penelope Garcia. For a time, she was the acting unit chief of the BAU, taking over as Emily Prentiss was placed on suspension, pending an investigation by Assistant Director Linda Barnes and was briefly terminated.
JJ grew up in the small town of East Allegheny, Pennsylvania. She graduated from East Allegheny High School near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was the captain of the varsity soccer team her senior year and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. She also attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where she was inspired to join the FBI in her senior year after hearing a lecture made by Rossi. It is also noted in "Risky Business" that she had a sister who committed suicide when she was young; the sister's name was revealed to be Roslyn in "In The Blood." In Season Two, it is stated that she has an eight-year-old niece. She is a fully qualified federal agent but stated in Season Two that she does not want to become a profiler, even though she later took training to become one.
Even though she wasn't a profiler for the first six seasons, she often participated in the profiling process with other members of the BAU.
Being the BAU's media/police liaison, JJ has spoken to the press many times in an effort to get the media to indirectly assist in investigations and served as the first point of contact for police officers requesting the BAU's assistance. She also assisted Hotch in getting information from serial killer Jacob Dawes. JJ once went on a date to a Washington Redskins game with Reid but little has come of it romantically. She also accompanied the team and local investigators to numerous crime scenes.
During one case, she and Reid split up at the home of the unsub and she accidentally stumbled upon a barn full of dogs who were known to eat human flesh, while Reid was abducted. Though she survived by shooting them all, the event left her with brief psychological scars; at one point while washing her hands, she hallucinated that one of the dogs was behind her, and almost shot Prentiss. She seems to have recovered in subsequent episodes, though she later told Reid at another crime scene that "no matter what happen[ed], [they weren't] going to split up".
In the episode "North Mammon", JJ plays a key role in the case involving three missing girls. After the case is completed, she receives praise from Hotch before responding to his question about if she ever thought about becoming a profiler by saying that she likes being the voice on the end of the phone that the detective or relatives of victims can talk to.
In the episode "Jones," she meets Detective William LaMontagne, Jr. It is obvious that they are attracted to each other and at the end of the episode she gives him her number. Nothing appeared to have come of it until "In Heat" when she finally showed him affection in front of the team. However, they had known about the relationship from the beginning.
JJ continued working during her pregnancy until "Memoriam" when she went into labor. She then went on maternity leave, her position being temporarily filled by Jordan Todd until she returned in "Cold Comfort."
In the episode "100," JJ picks up medicine for Henry with Will while searching pharmacies frequented by George Foyet. Like the rest of the team, JJ is upset when overhearing Haley saying her last words to Hotch and Jack before her death.
When the identity of Billy Flynn is discovered by the team during his killing spree through Los Angeles, JJ is forced to act as a hostage negotiator, communicating with Flynn over the radio under Hotch's direction. JJ's speech deeply affects Flynn, who decides to release his young captive, Ellie Spicer, and commit suicide by taking a couple hostage, forcing Morgan to shoot him by threatening them. ("The Longest Night")
Sometime after the Flynn case, it is revealed the Pentagon had offered JJ the position of a liaison for the Department of Defense, something she kept hidden from the team. Despite refusing the promotion twice, JJ, after a missing persons case in Maryland, is forced to take the position because of Strauss' authority, with Hotch being unable to do anything for her. ("J.J.")
At least a week later, Garcia is shown taking JJ's nameplate off the door of her old office. ("Remembrance of Things Past")
JJ became part of the BAU-led interagency task force to capture Ian Doyle and briefly became a part of her old team. In the end, she is apparently one of the few people aware that Prentiss' death was faked and is last seen handing her passports and bank account information in Paris, wishing her luck. ("Lauren")
Sometime later, she presumably takes advantage of Strauss's temporary absence from the BAU as well as the FBI's budget cuts to meet up with Rossi and tell him she's "coming back". ("Supply and Demand")
In this season, JJ officially rejoins the team, having received the training to become a full-time profiler and field agent, instead of returning to the Media Liaison rank, which now presently goes to Garcia and Hotch, who divide the position between them.
When the team captures Ian Doyle and his son is abducted, JJ and Hotch realize that they cannot get information from Doyle without Prentiss. She is flown in as Hotch tells the rest of the team that she is alive. The team realizes that Declan's mother Chloe Donaghy, is behind the kidnapping, and they manage to save Declan, though Doyle and Chloe are both killed in the process. Following this, JJ and the rest of the team were placed under investigation, though Prentiss managed to clear them. ("It Takes a Village")
Reid later began to avoid JJ and Prentiss as he was angry with them for not telling him she was alive. He reveals that he went to JJ's house for ten weeks after Prentiss 'died', crying, and also revealed that he had thought about taking Dilaudid again. Prentiss later talked to him, and he forgave her and JJ. ("Proof")
When an armed unsub takes a hostage and JJ confronts him alone, she convinces him to lower his weapon. However, when JJ tries to arrest him, the unsub fights back and attempts to stab her. She instantly displays adept fighting skills, which she uses to subdue the unsub. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Morgan specifically taught her these skills, which were part of her training. ("Closing Time")
When Will becomes a hostage to a group of murderous bank robbers, JJ becomes heavily distraught. The situation becomes even direr when it turns out that Will unintentionally and indirectly gave away his and JJ's address, leaving Henry vulnerable as the unsubs had now gone on the run with Will as a captive. She and Rossi race to their house and she gets into a fight with one of the unsubs when she tries to kill Henry. The unsub nearly shoots her with her gun, but JJ is able to unload it before she can pull the trigger, right before subduing her. Will is later rescued and he proposes to her at the hospital. By the end of the episode, the two get married. ("Hit" and "Run")
JJ reveals that her grandparents owned a farm in Pennsylvania and her grandmother had to do a C-section on a cow, which ends up helping with the current case. In that same episode, JJ's son Henry doesn't want to celebrate Halloween and so she convinces him to go out by saying to find out which monsters are real and which aren't. For Halloween, Henry dresses up as Reid, "his favorite profiler". ("The Good Earth")
JJ reveals to Blake that her sister committed suicide. She also locates a planner and several other items belonging to Judy Morrison, which the team uses this to clear Bruce Morrison and incarcerate his daughter Sera for the crimes. In the same episode, she is held at gunpoint by Sera before Morgan and Reid rescue her. ("All That Remains")
It is revealed in this season that JJ knows the new BAU Section Chief Mateo Cruz (who was brought in to replace the late Erin Strauss) from her time working at the Pentagon. However, for reasons currently unknown, they keep their relationship a secret from the rest of the team. In "Strange Fruit," the nature of their secrecy is partially clarified, in which it doesn't involve them having an affair. ("To Bear Witness")
JJ receives several calls as the BAU investigates the current case. The caller's identity or the nature of the calls have yet to be elaborated upon. At the end of the episode, she goes to a plaza with a center fountain, expecting to meet up with someone, when someone grabs her from behind and drags her away. ("The Road Home")
JJ is later held captive and tortured by her former colleague Tivon Askari, who tries to force her to reveal her the security codes that allow access to "Integrity", a database containing need-to-know information relating to the case that she worked on during her time in the State Department, called "Operation: Classified" (which specialized in tracking down Osama bin Laden), assembled Undersecretary Rosemary Jackson, along with Cruz. She finally pretends to give in and supplies them with a code that will trigger the alarms of the building they are in. Trying to force Cruz to do the same, Michael Hastings threatens to rape JJ, but Cruz gives in. Once the access to the case files has been obtained, Hastings leaves with several of his accomplices, while Askari is left alone with them. Askari kills a remaining accomplice, stabs Cruz in the stomach, and prepares to slash JJ's throat when Hotch and Prentiss arrive, the former killing Askari just in time. While Hotch and Prentiss attend to the severely-wounded Cruz, JJ disappears, in pursuit of Hastings. As the rest of the BAU shoot and kill Hastings's accomplices, JJ and Prentiss (who had joined her in the chase) enter the building roof, where Hastings is. Prentiss tries to apprehend him, but he retaliates and JJ is forced to intervene. Both lose their footing and fall off the roof; JJ is caught by Prentiss while Hastings falls to his death. During this episode, the real nature of JJ's work during her time at the State Department is revealed, including the danger she was in and how she was caught in an explosion, the result of which was a miscarriage of who would have been her second child with Will. ("200")
It is revealed JJ was still struggling to come to terms of being abducted when the one-year anniversary of the event comes up. As a result, this compromises her decisions during a case, culminating when she shoots the unsub despite the risk of triggering a gas explosion in the process. ("The Forever People")
Later, JJ announced to Reid that she was pregnant with another baby and that he could expect another godson or goddaughter. ("The Hunt")
JJ is left shaken after a case. ("Sick Day")
Picking up from the ending of "Red Light," in "Wheels Up," JJ and the team is involved in a deadly car crash caused by Scratch and as a result, can't see and has bits of broken glass all over her head.
In "Cure", JJ is sent an email by the FBI's Assistant Director Linda Barnes. The last time she got an e-mail like she did from someone like Barnes, she was taken off the team. During a conversation with Simmons, he tells JJ Barnes was the main reason for the IRT's disbandment and how Barnes profiles as a pure political animal; her eyeing ambitions to be the next FBI Director and how she's all about power. After finishing a case, JJ meets Barnes in her office, only for Barnes to tell JJ that she's been promoted to Acting Unit Chief of the BAU by as Prentiss was placed on administrative leave, pending an internal review.
Picking up from the ending of "Believer," JJ and the team are left in distress when Reid and Garcia are kidnapped by the Believers. When she was alone with Prentiss in the bathroom, it is revealed that JJ invited Garcia to go to the Redskins game with her and Reid, who initially thought it was a date.
In "The Tall Man", JJ starts remembering the events surrounding her older sister's death as the team travels to her hometown for a case.
In "Truth or Dare", JJ confesses to Reid that she has always loved him. Despite insisting that she only said it to distract a killer holding them hostage, Reid questions what she said was true but chooses not to dwell on it for the sake of their friendship.
In "Under the Skin" and "Awakenings", JJ survives from a gunshot to the abdomen by Grace Lynch after she and her father, Everett Lynch, escape from federal custody. JJ wakes up and tells Reid that what she said was true and he'll always be her first true love and hold a part of her heart, but didn't want to risk it any further for her family. Despite this, she and Reid agree to keep it a secret and remain best friends and is visited by her family.
In "Family Tree", JJ is offered to run the New Orleans FBI office.
- She carries a Glock 26 as a sidearm. She also sometimes uses a Glock 19.
- She's a fan of the Washington Redskins. ("Plain Sight")
- Reid and Garcia are the godparents of her son, Henry.
- She used to collect butterflies when she was young. ("The Fisher King, Part 1")
- She likes Cheetos enough to choose the screen name "CheetoBreath" to play online Scrabble with Prentiss while she was in hiding. ("Painless")
- She doesn't like the woods, part of a joke she told in the mentioned episode (and had the misfortune of being born and raised in a town surrounded by it). ("The Boogeyman")
- She had a sister named Roslyn who committed suicide by cutting herself using one of her father's razor-blades. ("Risky Business," "Route 66," "In The Blood") JJ was eleven at the time of the suicide, while Roslyn was seventeen. After her sister's suicide, she couldn't walk back into her house, let alone walk past her sister's room. ("All That Remains") JJ found her sister after she committed suicide and admitted she froze for about ten minutes. ("The Tall Man")
- Curiously enough, in "The Boogeyman," it was said JJ has a niece who was eight years old at the time of the episode, indicating she has at least one other sibling. However, there have been no references towards other siblings aside from Roslyn.
- She frequently calls Reid "Spence" and he even comments on this, telling Gideon early on in Season One that she is the only person in the world that calls him that.
- In the Season Four episode "Zoe's Reprise," JJ mentions that she heard Rossi making a lecture while in "her senior year at Georgetown [University]", which inspired her to join the FBI. However, previously, in the Season Two episode "North Mammon," she mentions more than once that she is a graduate of "Pitt", which was meant to be the University of Pittsburgh, with a soccer scholarship. No mention is made of ever having transferred colleges.
- She is very good at darts ("The Big Game") saying the sport was like a national sport where she lived although when older she preferred bowling.
- She was captain of her high school soccer team and mentioned that she played the sport because "an athletic scholarship was the only way [she] was going to college". ("North Mammon")
- She knows some Spanish, presumably learning it in school. ("Foundation")
- She was a valedictorian in her high school and got a soccer scholarship. Reid later theorizes from this that she may have been "one of the mean girls" in her school, to which she defensively retorts that she was nice to even nerds. ("Painless")
- She once dated a man who would wash his car more times than his own hair. ("Roadkill")
- Her grandparents had a farm in Pennsylvania. ("The Good Earth")
- She was pregnant while on a mission in Afghanistan, during 2011. The only people whom she told was Cruz and (to some extent) Reid, although Michael Hastings overheard their conversation about it. She hadn't even told Will, although they were trying for a second child. She suffered a miscarriage when a giant explosion went off. ("200," "The Forever People")
- It is implied that she went to frat parties. ("What Happens in Mecklinburg")
- While she was pregnant with Henry, she kept earphones over her belly to keep him undisturbed by external noises and had him listen to music from the Beatles, among others. ("Catching Out," "Breath Play")
- Her earliest childhood fear was being separated from her parents. ("Mr. Scratch")
- She carpooled with Hotch. ("The Storm")
- Before he was properly mentioned on the show, Erica Messer confirmed in an interview that she and AJ Cook have decided he should be deceased. However, in "Hamelin," her mother mentions he left her and had recently married another woman, contradicting this earlier statement.
- Episode 2x15, "Revelations"