It’s a common trope on TV and in movies and books for a reason. The best relationships have a solid foundation in a friendship. Friends fall in love, but one or both pine, there are misunderstandings and obstacles, and eventually, they get together. And doesn’t at least some of that apply to JJ and Reid?
He liked her in Season 1 and even tried (and failed) to ask her out on a date. (She saw it as team bonding for the younger members and asked Garcia to join them, as she revealed to Prentiss in the Season 14 premiere.) Since then, the timing just hasn’t been right. Ignore the serial killers and horrors of their everyday lives, and the pieces can fall into place, allowing this to end just like any other love story.
CON: … But there was no real build-up
After that Redskins game in Season 1, both seemed to move forward and never look back. We didn’t get any “what if?” moments except for a brief conversation about imagined futures in Season 14 Episode 12. We didn’t see either pining, not as JJ fell in love with and married Will, nor during Reid’s tragic relationship with Maeve.
In fact, there was more foreshadowing that she didn’t mean the confession. During a game of poker at the beginning of the finale, Reid thought he knew JJ’s “tell,” but she was able to fool him. “Guess I’m a better liar than you thought,” she told him.
PRO: This would be the first inter-team romance …
The agents have had personal lives outside of the team (some more successful than others), and we’ve seen flirtations between team members (the always entertaining banter between Morgan and Garcia, for example), but this would give the series something new to explore in the final episodes. And considering it’s going to be the show’s 15th season and they’ve had over 300 episodes, that’s saying something.
Let’s see how the team handles two of its members in a relationship and all the baggage that comes with it. We’ve seen how everyone adapts to agents coming and going, and this would be a test for all of them, especially Prentiss as the boss.
Richard Foreman/CBS; Monty Brinton/CBS; John Paul Filo/CBS
CON: … But the lack of one made the series stand out
It’s rare for a procedural drama to not have a will-they, won’t-they romance between partners these days, but this one managed to do just that for almost 14 seasons. While we had the Tiva of NCIS, the Densi of NCIS: Los Angeles, and the Jamko of Blue Bloods, the emotional focus of Criminal Minds remained the team as a whole and the various relationships in it.
Add in a romance between two of the members, and all of a sudden, theirs is the one that is the most talked about and might necessitate more screen time. Put one of them in danger, and you expect the other to be the most concerned. But we’ve gotten that over the years, even between JJ and Reid, without even the hint that either had more than friendly feelings for the other.
PRO: They’ve always been very close …
We’ve seen the two confide in and help each other time and time again, whether due to one of them being kidnapped and tortured or working through something in their personal lives involving their families. There isn’t another relationship like theirs on the team, and that’s because we’ve seen them go through tough times together for 14 years. Why not explore just how deep that bond can go?
Richard Cartwright/ABC Studios
CON: … But some saw them as siblings
And showrunner Erica Messer was one of them before having conversations with the rest of the show’s writers. “My immediate reaction was, ‘That’s not going to work, they’re siblings. No, they’re siblings, they’re siblings,'” she told TVLine.
And we could even look at JJ making Reid godfather to her children as an indication that she felt the same way. After all, are you more likely to give that role to someone you see as a potential match or someone you see as a brother?
PRO: She’s “always” loved him …
“I’ve always loved you,” JJ admitted to Reid. “And I was just too scared to say it before, and now things are just really too complicated to say it now.” Taking her words at face value, she’s been holding these feelings in because there are too many factors to consider. She only said told him because it was a life-and-death situation, not because she expected anything to come of her confession.
But now that it’s out there, shouldn’t she get the chance to be with the man she loves, especially after all this time?
CON: … But what about Will?
Longtime fans watched JJ and Will meet, fall in love, (eventually) get married, have children, and, until her confession, be one of the most stable and realistic — they had their issues over the years, but they worked through them — couples on TV, especially in a drama. (And bonus: He wasn’t killed by an UnSub!) What was all that for if all those moments are going to end up meaning nothing and JJ is just going to end up with Will?
Furthermore, if JJ and Reid do get together, the series has done it in a way that makes JJ the “bad guy,” not Will. That’s not a great look for one of your main characters.
PRO: It would add romance to the show …
We’ve gotten glimpses here and there of the agents’ relationships outside of the team, but if JJ and Reid do get together, we would have to see it much more often and in a different way than bookends on an episode. Like an inter-team romance, this would bring something new to the series, and it could do so in a way that allows fans to see their relationship without just putting them together in the series finale.
CON: … But it’s still a crime procedural
At the end of the day, Criminal Minds is about the BAU and the serial killers they hunt. And with only 10 episodes left (and the Chameleon still out there), there’s only so much time that should be spent on JJ and Reid’s relationship.
Furthermore, Messer told ET that the characters “haven’t really talked about it because it’s made that much of an impact” in the six months that passed between seasons. It’s hard to imagine something that complicated — JJ leaving her husband for Reid — getting the time necessary to truly explore it and all the ramifications. This is not something that should be rushed, but without changing the core of the series, it could be.
Criminal Minds Season 14 ended on quite the emotional cliffhanger, with JJ (AJ Cook) admitting that she's "always" loved Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). But what comes next?
JJ didn't state definitively that she meant it in the romantic sense, though it was heavily implied when they gazed at each other at Rossi's (Joe Mantegna) wedding — while JJ's husband, Will (Josh Stewart), was by her side!