When ABC is Rookie reports back to service next Sunday, January 3 at. 10 / 9c, Officer John Nolan will have Lucy Ricardo levels of “splaining to do.
When we were last set on trial, Nolan (played by Nathan Fillion) and his TWO Nyla Harper (Mekia Cox) had rounded off just enough judgmental, if not circumstantial, evidence against detective Nick Armstrong (Harold Perrineau) to suggest that the legend was Crime Chief Serj Darien’s bid. When Nolan maliciously confronted Armstrong alone, the exchange of fire was replaced, with the latter wounded. That was when Armstrong revealed that he had taken steps to frame it Nolan like the other dirty cop that the late Erin Cole was in cahoots with ̵
Nolan stroked home and went crazy to prove that Armstrong had planted somewhere. But just as he uncovered a room built into the wall behind the headboard, sirens and lights arrived outside his doorstep, ready to arrest.
Although Officer Nolan is a do-it-yourself right if there ever was one, he must now convince his superiors of Armstrong’s illegal activities, while asking very hard questions about his and Harper’s tactics.
TVLine invited show runner Alexi Hawley to tease what comes next, as well as the series’ plan to tackle another kind of bad cop.
TVLINE | When I came out of the finals, I asked you how complicated things could possibly be for “Boy Scout” John Nolan, and you said you were determined to make it as complicated as possible. How did it go?
I think we did it quite complicated. Obviously, there are some major obstacles he must overcome, including the way he and Harper did business at the end of last season. So it’s not just the framing of Armstrong. It is also the consequences of the path they chose to go down.
TVLINE | Will we see Harold and / or Annie Wersching in the premiere?
We’ll see more of them both, in fact – spoiler alert! Armstrong was obviously shot by Nolan at the end of the final, and he will desperately try to spin feelings against Nolan and Harper. And then Annie comes in [as serial killer Rosalind Dyer], in an unexpected way.
TVLINE | We actually talked not far into the pandemic last time, and you just started figuring out what the show had to look like to move on. You thought you might have to “slow down” the last 30 days for rookies, to stretch them out. What did you end up deciding on?
We’ve done it. Part of it was definitely run by COVID; because of the protocols and because of the security issues, I felt that, as a show, we could not put our police in a meeting room, frankly, which is one of our main sets. So, basically, we felt like, ‘Let’s just get over the first nine or ten episodes, hoping that when we get there, things will change,’ and I think the outcome of that has been very good. It’s been nice to really dig into how the last 30 days of being a rookie are, both the “seniority” that comes with it – Lucy (Melissa O’Neil) and Jackson (Titus Makin Jr.) are basically a little done with to have training officers and to be students still – but also, from Tim (Eric Winter), the increase in stress. “Well, I only have you for another 30 days, so I have to double down on my training and put you through the knob one last time,” such things.
TVLINE | You say that Tim can actually become even more intense during this last stretch?
Surely. He feels that he only has a few weeks left with her, so he wants to make sure she is properly, fully educated before sending her out into the world.
TVLINE | Down the line, will we meet new rookies?
We will. You know, it’s interesting – we can not make the phone room and in a way point it down the road, but because it’s so symbolic of being a rookie, by sitting in the front row, the time our rookies move Getting back is going to be one thing. And obviously, when a new rookie or two shows up, there will also be one thing to take over the place. I do not want to hurt the show historically when I do not have those moments, but it is a slow roll.
TVLINE | You gave me a teaser about the character of Brandon Routh (Tomorrow’s legends) player, Officer Doug Stanton. Is he your main entry point in the topic of police issues? Or should you approach it in several ways?
He definitely is one of the roads in, but we approach it in several ways. One of the things we have, which most other police shows do not have, is that we are a patrol show. Most other shows are investigative, and they deal with one crime a week, and because of that, they are really a little hindered in how they can talk about police issues. But we do so many different things in each episode, so every conversation we roll into, in three different patrol cars, can be anything. This means that freedom can really get to the complicated questions in the police – which are too many to mention – honestly, throughout the season.
Brandon’s character comes in as Jackson’s new training officer, since Lopez (Alyssa Diaz) is going to be promoted to detective, and he’s a problem. He’s certainly a cop who crosses the line in ways that are particularly unpleasant to Jackson, and that lets us in, “How can you make up for that?” We know how difficult it is to discipline or get rid of the police when the unions are so strong, and because of the rules that are there to protect them. But you also have Jackson’s vulnerability as a rookie, who can be fired for anything, trying to navigate the waters of a training officer he ultimately disrespects. It’s very dynamic and very intense, and in the end it really allows us to push many of our characters in how they feel about things, when it comes to Brandon’s character.
By the way: For Brandon to come in and play a character, this polarizing, in this climate, is a proof of his bravery as an actor, and of his commitment to this cause. It is potentially risky for him, and yet he is committed to shining a light on this issue. I will be eternally grateful that he is willing to go in and play a character that is going to be challenging.
TVLINE | What kind of personal stories are in print this season?
We actually have a lot. When we broke season 3, we obviously felt a great responsibility to respect all these conversations about policing and really dig into a lot of trouble, but we also did not want to lose what made our show our show. We do no services if we suddenly become American crime or a special school – something that is not Rookie. Our show has a lot of fun in it, but at the same time we also do serious things, and we do romantic things, and therefore we were obliged to remain the same show, something I am proud to say that we have really done. They are spoiled [one personal storyline] in one of the campaigns – I hoped they would not – but you also have Lopez who becomes a detective and suddenly ends up at the bottom of the food chain; who is going to be a runner for her this season. We will also see Nolan’s mother this season, so I think it will be very exciting.
Everyone is going to have personal stories, because I think that’s what people really like about the show. As if they do not really show up for police work, as much as they show up because they care about these characters, and then yes, it becomes romance. It will be all sorts of things.
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