Is Mercedes Mason leaving The Rookie? If you watched Tuesday night’s new episode of the ABC cop show, there’s a pretty good chance you already know the answer. This show is many things, but one of them is not a zombie thriller.
Last night seemed to be the last appearance for the Fear the Walking Dead alum Mason as Captain Anderson, who found herself killed in the midst of a shootout near the end of the episode. This death may be a driving force for John Nolan as the show progresses, but you also don’t want to look so far ahead that you miss what’s directly in front of you — this show removing a capable performer from the equation, and in the very first season, no less. We consider this to be a firm reminder of the ol’ nobody-is-safe doctrine that we’ve seen, time and time again, professed on a number of other cops shows. Even with that said, though, very few have the guts to really take it on in anywhere near as head-on a matter as The Rookie is here. There’s a boldness to getting rid of someone who viewers enjoy so early on; you run the risk of them being angry, and you hope that their anger is offset by the interest they have in seeing the next few movements of this television sympathy.
So why make this move, and was it always meant to be Anderson who died? Not exactly. In a post on Twitter, show executive producer Alexi Hawley notes that the team “went back and forth about it in the writers’ room. But it ultimately felt like the most dramatic and powerful way to impact our story.” We get where he’s coming from, only in that there’s a little extra weight added to it being someone looking after the rookie cops, as opposed to the rookie cops themselves.
Hawley also seems to reiterate this statement with his follow-up tweet (which are a part of a lengthy live-tweet session he did during the episode):
“There definitely will be consequences when it comes to] all of our characters, but especially Nolan … It definitely has an impact on how he sees and does the job — if anything, he feels a greater responsibility to succeed to honor her memory, and the faith she placed in him.”
So there you have it — the first major death on this freshman show that’ll stick with you. As for whether or not there will be more after this, you gotta take more of a wait-and-see approach. Hawley is already tinkering with season 2 ideas so that it’s all-systems-go if that renewal comes in, but there’s no guarantee that it will. Even with a most-generous tax credit, The Rookie is bouncing up and down on that ratings bubble and it could be a last-minute decision — one that varies depending on the ratings of other shows the rest of the way and how many pilots get that magical green stamp of approval.
Maybe losing Anderson here cements that a lot of other characters get out of season 1 still alive so producers don’t get too kill-happy — but, you also know what people say about assumptions…
Are you surprised that The Rookie has done away with a major character so soon? Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: ABC.)