Earlier this spring, ABC chose to renew its police drama The Rookie for a third season, and at the time the decision was understandable. The ratings dictated more episodes and traditionally, this is a very popular genre of television.
Yet, it’s fair to say that the climate surrounding police dramas has changed radically in this country. Documentary series like Cops and Live PD are now gone, and there are calls for scripted programming on the same subject to go away. The Rookie is likely one considered to be at the center of everything. This is a show about uniformed officers out in the streets, plus a show that often uses body-cam footage as a storytelling device.
At the moment, we can’t tell you for sure what the future holds for the show, including whether or not it continues. (We’ve heard nothing suggesting that it is being canceled.) It’s possible that new episodes could just be held until midseason.
If The Rookie does come back, though, it has a responsibility to tell some stories a little bit differently. Focus more on the plight of the victims. Make them more than just exposition. While we know the show is focusing on a dirty cop already, you have to dig deeper than just corruption. You need to address angles like the militarization of officers and systemic racism that exists for officers. You can work in order to encourage change to the very police systems that gave you this platform in the worst place.
The worst thing The Rookie can do is go back and be business as usual. Ignoring the cause is rallying against it. There is still a need for characters like John Nolan who try to do the right thing, but there needs to be an accurate world around them.
Make no mistake, The Rookie and all cop shows have a hard road ahead of them, trying to reflect the modern-day reality of the institution. Yet, they have to up to the challenge. After all, very few within the cast or crew can relate to or even understand what millions of people suffer through every year.
How do you think The Rookie is going to move forward?
Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: ABC.)