By Dave B.
The Rookie (ABC) is a police procedural that follows the first year on the Los Angeles police department of three rookies. John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) is “the world’s oldest police rookie”, having decided to join the force after thwarting a bank robbery while in the midst of a divorce-induced midlife crisis. Through situations both harrowing and mundane, the rookies find their idealism tarnished, but not broken, by the realities they face trying to police Los Angeles’ chaotic and eclectic streets.
I’m very selective about what police shows I’ll spend even five minutes watching. Outside of The Wire (which is at most only half a police show), The Shield (where the police are the criminals) and a couple of other random exceptions, police procedurals generally aren’t my cup of tea. But I decided to give The Rookie a chance for one reason: I’m a huge fan of Nathan Fillion. If you’ve ever watched Firefly or Castle (one of the random exceptions) you know what he brings to the table: an extremely likeable personality whose characters are willing to buck protocol and tradition to do the right thing. So your feelings about The Rookie are going to largely be determined by your feelings about Fillion as an actor and the types of characters that he tends to play.
That said, I LOVE The Rookie. I mentioned earlier this year that The Passage was my second favorite new network show this season. That’s because The Rookie takes the number one spot (thus far). It’s filled with humor, romance, excitement, and a sense of unfettered optimism that is infectious. It doesn’t bring much new to the table as far as the overall plots of individual episodes are concerned. But it presents these episodes with enough hope and honor that this show is an easy binge watch. That said, the entertainment value of the show decreased somewhat in the last few episodes this season and that’s never a good sign. It points to the show’s biggest flaw, which is that it’s hard to see how it has staying power. The rookies can’t stay rookies forever and, like life in general, police work will crush youthful optimism sooner or later.
Despite my belief that this show will be lacking in longevity, it’s freshman season is extremely enjoyable. I accidentally watched episodes 4 through 14 in one sitting and would have gladly watched more if I hadn’t had to go to work in a few hours. I have no doubt that there will be people who will find the show to be a bit sappy, a bit predictable, and/or a bit propaganda-y. All fair points that I won’t dispute. But I recommend this show despite all of that because it has the one quality that I look for most in any form of entertainment: a ton of heart. If you’re a fan of Nathan Fillion (or would like to become one), you need to be watching The Rookie.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.