Television and Radio Criticism

The Rookie- Anthony R. Mainville

Anthony R. Mainville
TVRA 4430W
Professor Mobina Hashmi
November 18, 2018
Media Review #2
695 Words


Fans of the ABC show Castle can watch Nathan Fillion starring on the network’s new cop dramedy, The Rookie, airing Tuesday nights at 10.  Fillion portrays a middle-aged man who is the oldest rookie police officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. 

Review of The Rookie

            Nathan Fillion finds himself in a totally different role as a ‘rookie’ cop on The Rookie instead of the mystery writer/assistant to the police fans had grown accustomed to for almost a decade on Castle (ABC, 2009-2016) (Wagmeister, 2016). John Nolan (Fillion) is a 40-year-old divorced father of a college son who owns his own construction company in Foxburg, a small, rural town in Pennsylvania.  After witnessing a bank robbery unfold inside a bank and confronting the suspect in a very composed manner, Nolan comes to the realization that it is time for him to leave the construction business and pursue the career of his dream.  He decides to move across the country to Los Angeles in the hope of becoming a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), which is the third largest municipal police department in the United States, with the New York Police Department and Chicago Police Department ranking first and second respectively (Godin, 2014).
            After graduating from the police academy, Nolan embarks on his first day with the LAPD with skepticism from veteran police officers because of his age, especially Sergeant Wade Grey (Richard T. Jones).  Jackson West (Titus Makin), who is the son of the commander of the LAPD Internal Affairs Division, and Lucy Chen (Melissa O’Neil), who is Nolan’s love interest, are the other rookie cops who are trying to prove that they belong in law enforcement.  Nolan, West, and Chen are trained by police officers Talia Bishop (Afton Williamson), Angela Lopez (Alyssa Diaz), and Tim Bradford (Eric Winter).  The training officers have their own unique way of testing the rookies to determine if they have what it takes to become a successful police officer.
            The Rookie tries its very best to incorporate the struggles West and Chen face towards attempting to achieve their dreams.  However, the very thought of Nolan making such a drastic change at age 40 is just so appealing that you can’t ignore it.  Even though the age jokes became a little redundant throughout the pilot episode, Nolan has a mature outlook about defying the odds stacked against him and continues to fight for his desired career as a police officer.  This is evident when Sergeant Grey questions Nolan about why he wants to pursue a career in law enforcement at this stage of his life.  When Sergeant Grey mentions to Nolan that he hopes the transformation from the construction industry to law enforcement is not because of a mid-life crisis, this causes Nolan to stand on his conviction that he is becoming a police officer for the right reasons.

            As far as the structure of The Rookie is concerned, it focuses primarily on street police officers and their daily tasks as opposed to procedural dramas such as 9-1-1 (FOX, 2018-present) and Chicago P.D. (ABC, 2014-present).  I find this interesting because there has always been a strong interest in how detectives solve crimes.  The Rookie shows how the rookie police officers and training police officers deal with encountering unpredictable situations on the beat while also managing their personal issues.  For example, Officer Bradford comes across as someone with a tight exterior that subverts a painful situation in his personal life.  It is discovered in the pilot that his wife, who also worked on the police force with him in another division, has been using drugs for a year.  This revelation illustrates how people in all walks of life sometimes must confront personal and professional drama simultaneously. 
            The character John Nolan provides a candid representation of what it means to “hit the reset button.”  The Rookie will draw you in immediately because you will probably relate to the fear of doing something out of your comfort zone while also proving to yourself that you are destined to succeed regardless of your current status in life.  Even if you not the most avid fan of cop shows, The Rookie will find a way to capture your attention immediately.  This is because there is something refreshing about rooting for an underdog like Nolan who carries himself with such poise and dignity despite falling victim to nonstop verbal jabs about his “old” age for a rookie cop.

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