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What The Rookie Did Right (And Wrong) In Season 4

There’s another season of The Rookie in the books, and the show will continue on next year. However, more often than not, The Rookie that comes back for a new season looks a little different than the one that went away. Hopefully, they bring back more of the things the series did right and a lot less of what was wrong.

In general, The Rookie tends to get the more personal stories right, and that tradition continued this season. The unfortunate side effect of this is that tension-breaking comedy is often then relegated to the police storylines. Sometimes, it’s done effectively like in the two “documentary” episodes. Other times it undercuts the gravitas of these stories, especially when the suspects are used as the punchlines.

What The Rookie Got Right in Season 4
Each season, it seems that the series is less and less about Nathan Fillion’s John Nolan. While some might see this as a problem, it’s not a fatal one… yet. First, Nolan has been through a lot in the series. Real police officers might go their whole careers without getting in one shootout, and Nolan goes through one each week. (TV shows are exciting!) He’s also been framed, and he’s buried two friends. This is on top of the divorce that upended his life, sending him to the LAPD in the first place. So, his relationship with Jenna Dewan’s firefighter (and Army Reservist and black belt) Bailey is a nice change of pace for the character. He’s enjoying his life, while still popping into the stories to help his friends and save the day.

Another way The Rookie beggars belief is that Bailey and Nolan would run into each other in their respective jobs so often in a city as large as Los Angeles. Yet, such a criticism veers into the territory of being mad at a TV show for being a TV show. With so much on-the-job interaction, Nolan and Bailey can be all about their work without creating tension in their personal lives. Instead of making the relationship a drag on the life that Nolan wants for himself, she’s not just emotionally supportive but literally involved in almost all of his “cases.”

The other great relationship on the series is the one between Melissa O’Neil’s Lucy Chen and Dylan Conrique’s Tamara Colins. In the absence of Officer West (more on that below), she’s given Chen a person, not Nolan or Eric Winter’s Tim Bradford, who can always be there for her. It also is a nice progression for Chen, who does not have supportive parents, to be a supportive surrogate parent/big sister to Tamara.Mekia Cox’s Nyla Harper and Alyssa Diaz’s Angela Lopez both worked as detectives in The Rookie Season 4. While it was nice to have the whole gang out on the streets in uniform, the addition of two detective characters fans already care about is smart. It allows the show to adopt more “procedural” stories like other network cop shows. Yet, the focus can still be on the uniformed officer level rather than the detectives’ bullpen. It also will give the rest of the beat cops higher-ranking friends when Richard T. Jones’ Captain Grey eventually goes away. The new Captain will likely be a source of tension in Season 5 or later.

Lastly, the story around Tru Valentino’s Aaron Thorsen was not perfect, but the storytellers got more right than wrong. While the choice to make him part of a reality TV family and the son of a hip-hop mogul is strange, it helps them create this character who shouldn’t exist. Only a rich kid could be an ex-con and a police officer. The fact that he wasn’t just wrongfully accused but famously so adds a new perspective. All of our favorite cops on The Rookie are empathetic, but Thorsen is actually sympathetic to convicts. This is something that can help the series correct one of the biggest things it got wrong in Season 4.

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