AJ fan, Ryka Hirokane, recently had the opportunity to visit the set of Criminal Minds! While there, she met AJ!!
She shared her story with ajcookfans.com:
Please understand that set visits are not easily or freely given out. So much goes into one visit that a very good reason is needed just for the okay.
This story begins when Tari, the owner of criminalmindsfans.com and myself arrived at the studios and was greeted by Harry Bring’s assistant, Jenny. Jenny brought us to meet everyone’s favorite swearing hairball, Harry.
Harry gave us the grand tour of the offices upstairs, where we met writers Erica Meredith and Erik Stiller. As we made our way towards the end of the hall, Breen Frazer graciously met and talked with us for a minute in the middle of his busy schedule. When we reached the end of all the offices, the one and only Erica Messer stepped out to meet, talk, and take pictures with us.
After the offices, Harry took us around the stages and exterior of the building with all of the trailers and then it was off to lunch with Jenny in their “lunch box”.
With lunch done, we walked around a little more, until we were taken to a small building out front and got to sit in on a table read! We were seated right behind Joe Mantegna, Adam Rodriguez, and Daniel Henney. Writer Jim Clemente came by and we chatted with him for a little bit as the cast began showing up. So, AJ walks in and I’m freaking out that I’m seeing her in person! She is literally sitting across the room from me! My friend said MGG wiggled his eyebrows at AJ after one of his lines and she laughed and shook her head but I didn’t catch it After, I wanted to catch AJ but she was quickly rushed out to get ready to film a scene.
Right after the table read, I was able to chat with Joe for a few minutes, and then Adam talked with me for a while. He couldn’t have been nicer! As I got outside, I was able to catch a quick hug, introduction, and picture with Paget. Jim came back outside shortly after to take some pictures with us, when suddenly he said he was stealing us to tour the inside of the BAU.
In an incredibly quick tour (because they were getting ready to shoot inside) we were able to see (and sit in the chairs) of the round table room, Rossi’s and Prentiss’ offices, and none other than Garcia’s lair.
After the incredible tour of what I’ve always wanted to see, Jenny took us back into the BAU while we waited for them to set up the scene. As we waited, Jenny let us linger in the bullpen and offices awhile longer where I sat in none other than JJ’s chair, at her desk. We were also taken to the one place we had not seen, the jet!
After some pictures and exploring the interior, we went back to the stage where Kirsten had just finished a scene and walked right up to us and introduced herself. I had mentioned to her that I met her in San Francisco when she did her play “MESS”, and she remembered me. That blew me away. Kirsten in person is just as sweet in person as Garcia is on TV.
When everything was set up, we were led to seats in front of the monitors where we got to watch and listen to AJ and Kirsten film their scene. What an incredible honor it was to watch these two women work their craft.
When all was said and done, I still hadn’t met AJ yet, so in between filming, Jenny asked if we could come over and say hi. AJ was all for it and when we walked over there AJ was about to stick out her hand for me to shake it but then she was like “no no we need hugs here, c’mon bring it in”. And I just about died that I hugged her for so long! It was not just a ‘oh hi nice to meet you’ hug, it was a genuine, genuine hug! My friend is a Jencer (JJ & Reid) shipper and told her she’s a “big fan of her and Reid getting together”, AJ laughed and asked Kirsten, “wait what do they call that? Jemily? No no, that’s JJ and Emily together. I was thinking Jemily ‘cause we were just talking about that the other day”.
We literally had about two minutes so AJ was like “pictures!” Kirsten took a picture of me and AJ on my phone, then flipped it around and did a selfie with all three of us. I was trying to show AJ my shoes (see my Instagram for a picture or post talking about my fitness journey) to see if she would remember the quick story I posted about 4 months ago, which she saw but the crew came in saying “um the ladies need to go do their shot” and AJ and Kirsten were ushered away by crew members. As AJ was leaving, she said “wait, are you guys leaving already?? Is it over? I hope not!” AJ sounded disappointed that we had to leave. She genuinely wanted to talk with me more.
When I got to the hotel, I posted the picture of me and AJ along with the shoes saying what meeting her had meant to me and that I was trying to show her my shoes and tell her my story. She replied saying “Oh my goodness!! I wanted to talk to you more too. Sorry it was such a busy day. I completely remember you and your incredibly inspiring story. Such a pleasure to meet you. By the way, I LOVED the shoes”
I can’t say enough about every single person we met that day. EVERYONE was incredibly nice and took the time out to talk with us. I am incredibly thankful to each of them, cast and crew for making this experience the most memorable thing in my life. I especially want to thank Harry and Jenny, who really took care of us and stayed late so I could meet AJ. No words can truly express my thanks and gratitude for this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
See more photos of AJ with Fans here