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Series / The Rookie 2018
aka: The Rookie

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The Rookie is a police series that began airing on ABC on October 16, 2018.

John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) is a 40-year-old facing a tough divorce. After a life-changing incident in which he stalls a bank robber long enough for the police to arrive, he joins the LAPD as the oldest rookie officer on the force. With him are fellow rookies Lucy Chen (Melissa O'Neil) and Jackson West (Titus Makin). With training officers Talia Bishop (Afton Williamson), Tim Bradford (Eric Winter) and Angela Lopez (Alyssa Diaz), the trio handle life as cops and the conflicts.

The second season is set to premiere on September 29, 2019.


The Rookie includes examples of the following tropes:

  • The Alleged Car: After Nolan and Bishop crash two SUVs, the LAPD motor pool gets revenge by giving them a decades-old beater of a patrol car that is on the verge of completely falling apart. Bishop then proceeds to use the junk heap cruiser’s trunk as a battering ram upon the front door of a perp’s house when the situation becomes urgent.
  • Amusing Injuries: Pursuing a suspect, Nolan jumps over two fences without checking what's on the other side and ends up with a forehead full of cactus spines.
  • As Himself:
    • makes a brief cameo after Nolan and Bishop respond to a silent alarm at his home.
    • Mark Cuban appears in the Season 2, asking Nolan and Grey to take care of an annoying entrepreneur who won't stop trying to pitch to him.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The rookies are drinking at a bar to celebrate their first day and a waitress slips Nolan her number. The final shot has Nolan giving her a considering look before cutting to a trail of feminine clothing leading to Nolan's house... which turn out to have been Chen's.
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  • Brake Angrily: One of Bradford's "training techniques" is to suddenly slam the brakes during an ordinary conversation and scream, "I've been shot! Call EMS! Where are we?!" to demonstrate the importance of a cop always knowing their location. Chen is unable to answer, and he forces her to get out and follow as he drives slowly away, until she can tell him where they are. He fails to rattle West with the trick, however.
  • Bulletproof Vest: West's uniform top gets covered in vomit and he didn't bring a spare so he ends up wearing a bulletproof vest for the rest of the shift. It comes in handy when he takes a shot in the shoulder which would have been fatal without the vest.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The crux of "Greenlight" is a white supremacist ordering a full-on manhunt for Nolan... because he arrested his girlfriend and accidentally ripped her dress in the process.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The three training officers take this role with their rookies, barking orders at them and quizzing them even when dealing with calls. Bradford, however, is the nastiest of the bunch.
  • Double Standard: In season 2, Chen is rocked that Bradford is angry because she didn't write down on a report how he was ready to kill himself rather than face death by a virus. She's amazed he's so rules bound as he snaps that any important incident should be on a report if it plays into a cop's mindset. Chen fires right back that if that's the case, she should have been writing down the many times Brandford covered for his wife and Brandford shouldn't be acting so high and mighty.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Comes into play during a domestic incident, when Nolan suspects the much larger husband is being abused by his wife. He thinks about bringing it up, but leaves it be. Which proves a fatal mistake when the wife stabs her husband to death.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: For Captain Anderson. After being tied to chair and pushed into a pool, she dislocates her wrist to escape her handcuffs and caps two white supremacists (one of them underwater with his own gun) before the third fatally wounds her in the throat.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Narrowly avoided. A woman comes into the station to hand over her husband's collection of guns and a live landmine. Which she had stuffed in a suitcase she was banging around on the way in. Nolan is very careful with the unstable ordinance and calls for the bomb squad at which point the woman asks about the other mines in her car. Cue massive explosion outside.
  • Glory Seeker: Jeremy "the Hawke" has an obsessive need to be seen as a great police officer. When his career and personal life fall apart, he turns that into a need to prove he can outwit and outfight the police force.
  • Heroic Bystander: How Nolan's story began: he was stuck in the middle of a bank robbery and ended up talking to the robber long enough for the police to arrive.
  • Hidden Depths: Bradford may seem a thick-headed lunk but has a deep understanding of people. At a lunch, he expertly points out the issues Bishop and Lopez have with each other in a way that would do the department shrink proud.
  • Hidden Wire: Bradford's wife has to wear one as part of her CI deal, despite protests that it will likely get her killed.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Nolan's move into law enforcement is seen as this in-universe by more skeptical officers, with parallels only reinforced by his secret relationship with the younger Chen. However he is entirely serious about his new career and does his best to disprove his doubters.
  • Insistent Terminology: As Nolan learns on his first day, it's not a patrol car, it's a shop. They work in it.
  • Insult Backfire: First meeting West, Bradford snaps at him over being late and tries to put fear into the young man. West (whose father is a police commander) responds by saying he's more than happy to have Bradford act this way as it'll inspire West to be at his best.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Bradford's wife finally gets clean and is working through the rehab program, he tells her that they can't be together. Not because he doesn't love her but because his presence will be a constant reminder of her days as an addict. For her to really recover and rebuild her life, he can't be part of it.
  • Impersonating an Officer: The officers run into a guy running a con by pretending to be a cop pulling people over on "traffic violations" and then accepting a bribe to drop it. They quickly see through it due to his uniform not looking right and lacking the right car markings.
    • The season 2 premiere has a pack of crooks stealing uniforms from a police store and paranoia washes over the force with a couple of cops ready to fight others they don't recognize.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: Jeremy "the Hawke" lost his position on the force and was relegated to training duty while also facing a pending divorce from his wife. After a drunken confrontation with her boyfriend, Jeremy chose to flee rather than be arrested and used his knowledge of police tactics to evade capture.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Wesley has sex with Angela inside the police station (in a back room, but still), as a reward for letting off his client.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Chen and Nolan each have their own when show post coital in "Time of Death".
  • Nepotism: When Bradford realizes West freezes under fire, he chews out Lopez for not warning him. He wants to go ahead and report West but Lopez points out how the guy is the son of a major Internal Affairs officer and "you think he won't blame you for this?"
  • New Meat: Nolan, Chen, and West are fresh out of the police academy and are just starting to find out what it means to be a cop.
  • Noodle Incident: One episode opens with Chen somehow having managed to roll her shop with no explanation whatsoever.
  • Older and Wiser: Despite being the oldest rookie, Nolan's life experiences had made him an expert with saying the right stuff to people.
  • Police Code for Everything: Naturally. Played for laughs at the beginning of the season finale, where the trio pause a study session to arrest a pair of Stupid Crooks who failed to notice the rookies reciting police codes five feet away. They recite the codes for the various offenses, and then one of the crooks corrects them on a code.
    Jackson:: Also a 12-0-20.
    Chen: Oh, illegal possession of a firearm.
    Crook 1: Actually, its a 417. The guns are fake.
    Nolan: Ha! He's right!
    Chen: Yep, but this knife is real and that is a violation of...
    All three rookies: 21510b!
    Crook 2: WTF look
  • The Reveal:
    • Nolan and Chen are in a relationship which they keep quiet.
    • Bradford is seen giving money to an obvious drug addict—who's his estranged wife.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Bradford is fond of saying "everything is a test" to Chen. He acts like he doesn't understand Spanish and is pulling over some Latino men because of their race. When Chen argues about it, he answers her in Spanish to ask "now was I pretending the subtle racism or not knowing the language? You don't know."
    • When Bradford is forced to take time off after being shot, Chen is assigned to a laid-back officer who talks of how he's happy to never put himself in danger. When a call comes in, he's reluctant but Chen insists they back some fellow officers up. Later at the station, Chen finds out the guy is a good friend of Bradford's and he got Chen assigned to him. Bradford states that he wanted to be sure Chen wouldn't accept such a laid-back attitude and looks forward to working with her again.
    • Chen is in a public restroom when someone reaches over the stall door to take her belt and gun. She races to tell Bradford, who chews her out for being so irresponsible. Bradford then gets a call saying his wife is in the hospital and they have to go. When Chen asks about her gun belt, Bradford just reaches into the car to hand it to her, revealing he'd stolen it and might well have driven her crazy about this "mistake" all day if not for the call.
    • Subverted as Bradford realizes an Internal Affairs officer is trying to get him to implicate himself with things like letting Mario Lopez go for a traffic violation. He and Chen find an addict who accidentally stepped into a bear trap. Thinking it's another IA test, Bradford compliments the man on his great "makeup work" before yanking the foot out...and the guy nearly bleeds to death as Bradford realizes this is for real.
  • Sex with the Ex: After breaking up, Chen ends up having Sex for Solace with Nolan when trying to comfort him in "Time of Death".
  • Spotting the Thread: Nolan and Bishop are checking out a gym with the owner claiming everything is okay. A former construction worker, Nolan notes that in all the houses he's been in and built, he's never seen anyone putting a circuit breaker right next to a water pipe. He opens the door to show a stash of drugs and money.
  • Swallow the Key: When a stubborn protester attempts this in "Redwood", he immediately begins choking on it.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: The second episode's Cold Open has Nolan convincing a recently dumped bride not to jump from the Hollywood Sign.
  • That Man Is Dead: Bradford attempts to warn the detectives that his wife, having changed drastically due to her drug habit, is nothing like the veteran undercover cop in their records. They ignore his warnings and she proceeds to make a mistake that tips off her target.
  • These Hands Have Killed: "Time Of Death" features Nolan killing a suspect in self-defense, plus the subsequent mental anguish it brings on him.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: A serial killer is revealed to be an ordinary-looking, seemingly kindly older man with senility.
  • Wham Episode: "Greenlight" as Captain Anderson is killed in the line of duty while saving Nolan.
  • Wham Shot: After a night drinking, the camera cuts to Nolan's house... where Chen is stepping out of the bedroom, revealing the two have been together for two months.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Bradford has a chance to get back in his wife's good graces by removing a stash of drugs from her apartment before it is searched. He nearly goes through with it but in the end leaves the drugs to be discovered.

Alternative Title(s): The Rookie


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