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The Unexpected Criminal Minds Relationship Fans Really Wanted To See

It's no secret that 'shipping — the sometimes-casual-but-often-fervent hobby of advocating for fictional couples — goes hand in hand with fandom. If there's two characters on screen together, there's little doubt that at least one fan wants them to get together. Pairings grow in popularity as fans latch onto details that might be as subtle as a lingering glance or as overt as a love confession. 

One such Criminal Minds 'ship gained enough attention that even the cast members felt compelled to comment on it, lamenting that it never happened on screen. With Criminal Minds' revolving door of main characters throughout its 15 seasons, there was no obvious endgame couple. Of course, that didn't stop fans from desperately rooting for a romance between FBI agents Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) and Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook). 

It never happened on screen, but the hubbub surrounding this particularly mythic 'ship is worth revisiting even if you don't count yourself among the faithful.

Fans really wanted 'Jemily' to happen

As JJ and Emily were both on the show for over 100 episodes — JJ from the very first season, with Emily joining in season 2 — they had plenty of time to develop a strong bond, lovingly dubbed "Jemily" by fans. Now that the show has ended, though, fans are mourning the relationship that could have been. Reddit user u/4everspencerreid posted photos of JJ and Emily holding hands, writing, "Be honest do you think about them dating."

Several commenters expressed their support for the couple, with user u/crruss admitting, "Yes I think about them dating all the time haha. Okay not all the time but whenever I watch the show for sure" and saying that "they have great chemistry." 

YouTube user Roni Bo-bani commented on one of the many YouTube compilations of their tender moments together, writing, "I just wanna say that when JJ was kidnapped and tortured, nearly on her last string of giving up she didn't imagine [her husband] Will saving her, she didn't imagine Reid saving her or Hotch, it was Emily. She imagined Emily when she was on deaths front door. Let that sink in." 

The two of them often comforted each other in hard moments, leading many fans to feel that they were perfectly set up to become a couple.

The cast knew about the pairing and was onboard

It's a point of frustration for many Criminal Minds fans that the series' creative team wanted Emily to be gay, though it never panned out in the show. Brewster herself mentioned this in an interview with the fansite Criminal Minds Fans. She was onboard with showrunner Ed Bernero's plan to make Emily a queer character, and couldn't explain why it never happened. In a video on Twitter, she expressed her interest in Jemily in particular, saying, "AJ and I both were very aware of Jemily and we loved it ... We hold hands under the table at the BAU all the time, just for the 'shippers."

Thomas Gibson, who portrayed Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner, said on TikTok (via Reddit): "I absolutely, 100% believe in Jemily. I think that it was an unexplored relationship, that if there is ever a spinoff of Criminal Minds, that's one of the places that we should be going." 

Fans on Reddit were particularly dismayed that the cast and writers of the show wanted JJ and Emily to get together, and yet they never made it happen. Several commenters blamed CBS for disallowing the LGBTQ+ relationship, though there is no confirmation that that is the case.

Fans compare Jemily to another relationship on the show

Over the course of the show, JJ dated, married, and had two sons with the Will (Josh Stewart), but suddenly professed her love for Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) in the finale of season 14. Though she ultimately decided to stay with Will, the hypothetical JJ and Reid relationship, nicknamed "Jeid," is a controversial Criminal Minds pairing that has much of the fanbase divided. Many feel the confession came out of nowhere, and that Jemily had far better chemistry.

User u/kdizzle098 wrote, "I don't hate JJ and Will lemonmeringue but I would have much preferred Jemily. If JJ revealed her love for Emily instead of reid [sic] it would have made much more sense." It's a sentiment echoed by many fans, with user u/hazel365 arguing that JJ and Reid had more of a sibling relationship. They wrote, "Watch the TOTAL lack of sexual tension between the two. And then tell me that they've loved each other 'all along.'"

Since Criminal Minds ended last year, it doesn't look like Jemily fans will get to see their 'ship set sail, but those glances and handholds will live vibrantly in their minds — and their steamy fanfics — forever.