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The Rookie: Pilot

Let's start out with the obvious: this is not a show I would watch if Nathan Fillion weren't starring in it. And as I suspected, Fillion's considerable acting talent and massive charm are the best thing about it.

The set-up works, I suppose. Small town guy John Nolan (Fillion) once dreamed of being a police officer, but when his girlfriend got pregnant, he dropped out of college, got married, and worked construction for twenty years instead. In the opening scene, newly divorced forty-year-old Nolan is caught up in an armed robbery at the bank, where he shows presence of mind as well as conspicuous bravery, not once but twice distracting the robber while his friend the bank employee is able to alert the police. This experience spurs an understandable mid-life crisis for Nolan.

The story picks up nine months later after Nolan moved to Los Angeles, graduated from the police academy, and is about to experience his first day as an LA police officer. He and his two police academy buddies, Jackson West (Titus Makin Jr.), and Nolan's secret girlfriend Lucy Chen (Melissa O'Neil from Dark Matter), have been paired with three experienced training officers who clearly have their work cut out for them.

The three training officers, Bishop (Afton Williamson), Bradford (Eric Winter) and Lopez (Alyssa Diaz) were all well cast and did a good job; I thought Bradford was the standout because of his abrasive nature and possible racism. The Watch Commander, Sergeant Wade Grey (Richard T. Jones), pissed me off by constantly insulting Nolan's age, saying that he's "pushing the expiration date," "born before disco died," and a "walking mid-life crisis." And yes, all of these things might be true. But this pilot episode also shows, during the opening bank robbery and throughout Nolan's difficult first day at work, that his bravery, cleverness and life experience all contribute to his competence and success at his brand new calling.

I'm not sure what to think. I did enjoy this pilot episode and will probably keep watching, but again, that's because it's Nathan Fillion. I thought the writing was pretty good, and that Chen and West both have potential. I was less pleased with Nolan's luxurious Magnum PI living conditions (an old college roomie's guest house? Come on). It's hard for me to get past Castle, too. Fillion feels like he should be a detective, not in uniform.

Not to mention that I really, really hope that The Rookie isn't going to be one long string of old age insults. People over forty can actually start demanding new jobs, you know. It happens.

What did you guys think?
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I thought basically the same. Watching purely for Nathan Fillion. I understood the use of dash and chest cams, but it made it feel like I was sometimes watching an episode of "cops", a show I despised... The original reality show? Hate reality TV. Anyways, that reminder sorta soured it for me. But my love of Nathan supersedes my hatred of Cops. And Eric Winter played an unlikeable character very well; a character whom, I assume, we will come to love as the story unfolds.

  2. Thank you for the review, Billie, I didn't even know this show existed. Doesn't seem like my kind of thing though, despite Nathan Fillion.
    And now I miss Firefly.
    And Dark Matter :-(

  3. Michal, we live to serve. :) Yeah, I seriously would much rather Nathan Fillion chose to do science fiction. He's so good at it.

  4. Did they have to write Fillion in a relationship with a 20 something? Did they have to? No, they did not. Wish they hadn't. It gives me the ewws.

  5. this is not a show I would watch if Nathan Fillion weren't starring in it.
    Right there with you Billie! But two episodes in I'm enjoying it... I like his kind of innocent enthusiasm for the job and his way of disarming tense situations thanks to his ability to connect with people. That said not sure it will be enough to watch on a regular basis, will kind of depend on how the rest of the cast continues to grow and if it looks like the story is going somewhere or if it's just "case of the week".

    One thing's for sure... made me miss Dark Matter!!! Damn I wish they had given that at least a wrap-up movie!!! :(


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