Days of Our Lives needs exciting, dynamic, young characters to draw in viewers.
JJ Deveraux is one such character. When SORASed JJ first burst into Salem in 2013, he quickly proved to be a complicated, fascinating, and relatable character.
He acted out his pain and anger at his father's sudden death, waging war on his mom Jennifer's new boyfriend while abusing marijuana to try to numb his feelings, while simultaneously yearning for connection with his mom and sister.
He soon sobered up and struggled to accept himself and his past and move on to a healthy, happy life with new girlfriend Paige, yet continued to be plagued by mental health issues and be unable to live up to Jennifer's expectations for him.
Then after Paige's murder in 2015, JJ was shoved into the background, not allowed to grieve on-screen for her brutal end and quickly sent through the Police Academy and into a job at the local cop shop – with no story to go with it.
Now, JJ is mainly a background character whose main story seems to be the most boring "romance" in the world with a woman who raped him when he was too drunk to consent to sex. It's a real shame since he is such a complex character and is played by a very talented actor to boot!
Here are seven ways Days of Our Lives could and should be using JJ instead of this nonsense.
Let JJ Work Side By Side With Steve as a Private Eye
JJ has the instincts, intelligence, and pushiness required to be successful at finding out dirty secrets people would rather not come to light. He also has a strong connection to his late father in town: his Uncle Steve.
Rather than continuing to ignore this relationship, why not have him work with his uncle on a private investigation or two and maybe even change careers to do it full time?
There's plenty of dramatic potential here.
JJ is desperately trying to rebuild the relationship with his dad that he lost to Steve trying to rein in his nephew's impulsivity. Kayla is having mixed feelings about it because Jack raped her and Steve has been a surrogate father to JJ while Steve's son has been in prison for murder.
Plus, since Paul already works with Steve and John, it could create an interesting rivalry between two characters who currently are occasional friends.
Jennifer Wants Him To Work With Her
JJ has had a complicated relationship with Jennifer since he came back from boarding school.
He clearly loves Jennifer and yearns for her acceptance, yet feels unable to live up to her expectations, describing himself as "more Deveraux than Horton." Besides, Jennifer has historically had a hard time letting go of JJ and allowing him to be a 20-something instead of treating him as an eternal 16-year-old.
Now that Jennifer is working as an investigative reporter again, this conflict could be explored in a new way. Jennifer and Jack were both investigative reporters back in the day, and I would love to see Jennifer believing JJ should join this family business, honoring his father's memory by quitting his job as a cop to work with her.
Such a scenario would be rife with drama. JJ might feel resentful, believing his mother is controlling his life – again – yet guilty he's dishonoring his father's memory by refusing to take her suggestion.
And if they did work together it would be an opportunity to confront the painful and unhealthy aspects of their mother/son relationship now that JJ is no longer a teenager.
JJ Has a Reaction to Abigail's Mental Health Issues
Abigail has always seemed to JJ to be the perfect child while he's the problem child. When he was struggling with bad behavior as a teen, his sister was the first to judge him, and Jennifer tended to act like her daughter was far more perfect, loveable, and important than her wayward son.
In recent years, though, Abigail has struggled with mental health issues of her own. She has PTSD as a result of her toxic relationship with psycho killer Ben and serious problems with committing to Chad and their son Thomas.
For someone like JJ, who has always yearned to be like his "perfect" sister, dealing with the fact that now she's the one with mental illness while he seems to have his life together should be a very big deal.
JJ could and should be struggling to accept his sister's problems, trying hard to be there for her, and secretly fearing he's not capable of supporting her the way she needs. He should also struggle with guilt and shame over his mental health issues and his perceived inability to be there for Abby the way she needs.
Finally, he and Chad should butt heads, not over the fact that Chad is a Dimera (that conflict is tired and ridiculous, especially since all of Salem judges JJ harshly for his past bad behavior), but over the fact Chad thinks he should be the one to handle Abby's PTSD. Chad also thinks JJ needs to back off.
JJ Has a Friendship With Nicole
Way back in late 2013 and early 2014, JJ sobered up after witnessing Theresa OD but had to keep the real reason for his transformation secret because doing drugs with her would have violated his probation and possibly voided a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid significant jail time.
Nicole caught on to the fact that Daniel was helping JJ cover up that incident and kept the secret for him. She didn't even tell anyone after Jennifer ruined things for her and Eric over those shredded papers, something that only happened because JJ accidentally outed her to Daniel.
Yet JJ and Nicole never interacted again, not even after Daniel – who was very important to both of them – was killed in a car accident caused by a drunk Eric.
If their friendship were to be brought on-screen now, it could lead to some powerful drama, as Nicole is guilty of killing Deimos, and JJ served time in jail after suspicion fell on him.
JJ Mentors Claire
Having JJ become a mentor to some of the teens would be a logical and powerful way to develop his character considering how troubled he was and how important Daniel's mentorship was to him.
It would especially make sense for him to mentor Claire. Before JJ's transformation into a cop, he was passionate about music, so much so that Jennifer commented that she should have realized something was wrong when he wasn't playing his guitar. And Claire wants to be a musician!
JJ mentoring Claire could re-ignite his passion for music, and he might struggle with feelings of jealousy as he sees her career take off even though he decided a long time ago the mature thing to do was leave music behind and embrace a more traditional career path.
The uber-talented Casey Moss – who is a guitarist and singer in real life – playing his guitar again on screen would be an added bonus to this type of storyline.
Not All Cops Like Working With JJ
Before becoming a cop, JJ was judged harshly for his criminal record. In fact, after he found Paige's body, the uniformed officers who responded to the call presumed he killed her because of his past crimes, even though the worst thing he did was smash a store window!
Given this history, along with JJ's tendency towards stubbornness, impulsivity, and refusal to follow orders, it's inconceivable that the entire department quickly accepted him as a cop. It's even weirder that no one has a problem with him ascending to detective so fast.
If JJ must remain a cop, why not create a storyline around some other cops resenting his quick progress and maybe even trying to sabotage him?
It could even be a sticking point between him and Lani. Even though JJ is far more competent than she is, it makes sense that she would resent a rookie with a criminal history becoming her partner when she is the daughter of one of Salem's most lauded former cops and has been on the force far longer.
I hate the pairing of JJ and Lani, and I would love them to break up after Lani joins some other cops in deliberately trying to harm JJ's career because they resent that a "punk kid" made detective before they did.
JJ Helps Lucas Get Back On Track
I really hate Lucas falling off the wagon after all of his time sober. He has been a pillar of strength, refusing to break his sobriety no matter what and helping other addicts to live without alcohol or drugs.
But since we do have drunk Lucas, JJ getting involved could make for a strong storyline.
It would be a real role reversal for JJ to help his alcoholic uncle overcome his relapse instead of needing his help. It might hit JJ hard to realize that he's grown up and is now giving help instead of receiving it.
Plus, if JJ catches Lucas doing something illegal while drunk, he might be torn between his duty as a cop and his duty as a nephew, especially given that he turned his own life around after Daniel didn't turn him in for getting high with Theresa.
The offense doesn't even have to be a large one, but something as simple as an open container in public for the moral ramifications to be valid.
JJ is also good at strategizing and sneaky plans, so he might come up with a plan to intervene in Lucas' behavior if confrontation doesn't work, which could be fun and interesting.
There are so many ways Days of Our Lives could incorporate JJ into the storylines instead of wasting the potential of this complicated character and talents of the actor who plays him.
What would you most like to see? Respond to the poll below and let us know in the comments!
What Storyline Would You Most Like To See for JJ?
Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.