A.J. Cook, who spent the last six years fighting crime on Criminal Minds, is jumping over to the other side as a lesbian who is raped on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit tonight.
“I got to play the victim, which was a lot of fun after being on Criminal Minds.”
Cook is starring opposite series regulars, Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, but she is also going toe-to-toe with Oscar-winning actor, Jeremy Irons, who plays the father of her wife (also raped) in the episode.
“I was ready for it. I was excited and I was already a big fan of the show coming in,” Cook acknowledges. “I love Mariska, I love Chris…I just think they’re so talented and mesh so well together. But, everyone kept asking me, ‘Are you going to be nervous? It’s Jeremy Irons.’ ”
Nervous isn’t how Cook describes her feelings. It was more like an adrenaline rush.
“I was excited to get in there and see where he goes with this journey to see how these intense scenes unfold,” the actress stresses. “That’s why I love to do what I do, because you get thrown into a situation you get to see this thing unfold. It’s so much fun to let it happen and that’s kind of what we did.”
Despite the serious subject matter, there were a lot of laughs between takes, Cook tells HollywoodOutbreak.com.
“I think on a show like that you have to kind of keep things light, otherwise everyone would be suicidal over there.” she points out. “It was an honor and a privilege to be part of such an iconic show…and to be working with such iconic actors.”
Cook is a woman who goes with the flow as evidenced by her positive attitude after losing her gig as Agent J.J. Jareau on Criminal Minds. The blow could have been devastating, but instead the actress saw it as an opportunity.
“I’m not a Debbie Downer type of person. I’m optimistic,” she begins. “If you’re not moving forward you’re standing still or going backwards. I had five and a half to six wonderful years on Criminal Minds. I got to play a great character that started out as nothing and she grew into this amazing, complex mother, den mother, nurturer. I got what I go out of that show and I have friendships and I love those people…I will always love those people. For some reason, someone made a decision – and what can I do? I can move forward.”
Still, it was the fan reaction to her leaving that took her breath away.
“It totally took me off-guard,” she recalls. “I’m still blown away by how supportive and dedicated they are. Thank goodness I had that, otherwise I maybe would have turned into a little bit of a Debbie Downer…poor me…what’s wrong with me?…why did this happen? But, they really kept me going and made me realize, you know what? this isn’t the end of the world, I’m moving on. It was a great show to be a part of and here we go…let’s go on a journey and see where this takes me next.”
Cook revealed that she is under consideration for a few other projects as pilot season gets underway now. Unfortunately, she can’t give up what those shows might be…just yet.
Keep an eye peeled for her next gig, but her episode of Law & Order: SVU airs tonight, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.