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The Real Reason Criminal Minds Fans Hated JJ In The End

It's impossible for a show like "Criminal Minds" to reach 15 seasons without massive support from dedicated fans who tune in week after week to see their favorite characters. Of course, that same dedication can create headaches for a series' creative team. Fans become protective of characters, decrying any divergence in portrayal. Yet, writers know they need to keep things both interesting and fresh, which typically involves giving characters new challenges and experiences. It's a fine line to walk. Change a character too drastically or too quickly and you're met with a backlash like "Game of Thrones" experienced in its last season. Change too little and you face complaints that the character did not grow enough.

There's one conversation happening on Reddit that perfectly captures that dilemma. In the penultimate season of "Criminal Minds," the series' writers took a risk with Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook) that did not sit well with many viewers.

JJ crossed a line in Season 14

While the main focus of "Criminal Minds" is the Behavioral Analysis Unit's investigations into various unsubs, viewers also get peeks into the characters' personal lives and struggles. We learn about Spencer Reid's (Matthew Gray Gubler) family as well as Derek Morgan's (Shemar Moore) horrific childhood. Likewise, we learn a great deal about JJ over the years, especially her relationship with Will LaMontagne (Josh Stewart), whom she meets in Season 2 and eventually marries. The couple seems to have an idyllic relationship, with Will even offering to retire from law enforcement and become a stay-at-home dad. For many, JJ and Will represent a modern family rising to meet the many obstacles of both couplehood and parenthood. And then came the Season 14 finale.

While JJ and Reid are dealing with an unsub, JJ — pretty much out of nowhere — tells Reid that she has been in love with him from the moment they met. If you're feeling a bit of whiplash, you're not alone. With the exception of one date in Season 1, JJ and Reid had maintained a brother-sister relationship, with each providing the other emotional support. There had never been any indication of unspoken attraction between the two.

When Redditor u/hi_michelle___ shared their opinion on the out-of-left-field confession, many voiced their agreement. The conversation is essentially a hate-fest of JJ. Commenters pointed out that JJ was happily married with two children when she proclaimed her love for Reid. Another even said the episode ruined a character the show had built up so well over 14 seasons. We can only assume the series' writers heard similar feedback after the episode originally aired because other than a short conversation between JJ and Reid in Season 15's first episode, the topic was shelved and the two remained friends.