Alexi Hawley produced the American police procedural television series The Rookie for ABC. The series follows John Nolan, a man in his forties who joins the Los Angeles Police Department as the department’s oldest rookie. The show is produced by ABC Studios and Entertainment One, and it is based on real-life LAPD officer William Norcross, who moved to the city in 2015 and joined the force in his mid-40s.
Nolan just finalized his divorce, which had been in the works for a few years. He’s at the bank, where he’ll deposit his wedding ring and complete some other paperwork. He’s not pleased with the situation or with himself. However, when he thwarts a bank robbery by distracting the gun-toting robbers with his musings on life, the bank manager was astounded by his courage.
Cut to a sunny Los Angeles a few months later. Nolan, who studied law in college but ended up working in construction, has packed his belongings, relocated to Los Angeles, and joined the Los Angeles Police Department. He reports for his first day on patrol with go-getter rookie Lucy Chen (Melissa O’Neil) and legacy recruit Jackson West after completing the academy (Titus Makin).
Talia Bishop (Afton Williamson), Nolan’s training officer, assumes she’s on the fast track to the chief; Tim Bradford (Eric Winter), Chen’s hard-driving T.O., tries to get into Chen’s head, but he has a humiliating secret; and Angela Lopez (Alyssa Diaz), who only wants to beat Bishop to be the best, wonders if the know-it-all West will get in her way. Sgt.
Wade Grey (Richard T. Jones), Nolan’s watch commander, doesn’t want Nolan there because he believes he’s “a walking midlife crisis,” and he’s determined to fire him, believing that his willingness to “find himself” means he’s not taking the job seriously and could kill anyone in the sergeant’s squad.
We figured the whole pilot for The Rookie would be lines about how Nathan Fillion’s character is aged when we saw the teaser over the summer. However, the show soon establishes that the show is all about Nolan becoming a 40-year-old novice (and, bless Fillion’s rugged good looks, to say that Nolan is 40 is an understatement)
There are some flaws in the film. We don’t know enough about Chang or West to be worried about them at this time. Bradford is so obnoxious and dismissive, particularly after a car full of migrant workers honks at his car, that he looks like he’s wearing a MAGA hat.
There’s a romance going on between two of the rookies that makes no sense and seems to be on the verge of being dropped. However, even though it isn’t high art, it is a performance that is enjoyable to watch.
The Rookie is just nice enough to be entertaining without exhausting the mind too much. And shows like that are sometimes just what you need in your life.