The actress told TV Guide that her role as FBI cadet agent Ashley Seaver will become more prominent following the departure of Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster).
"Prentiss's story was far... more important than introducing Ashley Seaver," she suggested. "[The writers have] had to struggle to make me be present, but they couldn't give a lot of time to Seaver because she's not that important!"
She continued: "In that sense, I get [why some fans] think she's useless or doesn't do anything. But you'll get to see more of Seaver here and you begin to understand that although she's new, there's a reason she deserves to be part of the team."
Nichols explained that Seaver is "delegated to do something fairly intimidating" in tonight's episode of the crime drama.
"You see that she's up for it and is good at it," she revealed. "It shows that she's coming into her own quickly. Even though they have those intense situations that maybe someone new couldn't handle, you get to learn more about her strengths and you [also] get a little tidbit about her past."
Nichols previously confirmed that she was aware of the fan "uproar" following the controversial axing of A.J. Cook from Criminal Minds.
The series continues tonight at 9/8c on CBS.
> Criminal Minds star 'expects renewal'