The Rookie (TV series)

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The Rookie
The Rookie Logo.png
Created byAlexi Hawley
Opening theme"Kings & Queens" by ChinChin
ComposerJordan Gagne
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes54 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducerMichele Greco
Production locationsLos Angeles, California
CinematographyDoug Emmett
  • C. Chi-Yoon Chung
  • Emily E. Greene
Running time43 minutes
Production companies
Original networkABC
Picture formatHDTV 720p
Audio format5.1 surround sound
Original releaseOctober 16, 2018 (2018-10-16) –
present (present)
External links

The Rookie is an American police procedural drama television series created for ABC by Alexi Hawley. The series follows John Nolan, a man in his forties, who becomes the oldest rookie at the Los Angeles Police Department. The series is produced by ABC Studios and Entertainment One; it is based on real-life Los Angeles Police Department officer William Norcross, who moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and joined the department in his mid-40s.

The series stars Nathan Fillion, Alyssa Diaz, Richard T. Jones, Titus Makin Jr., Mercedes Mason, Melissa O'Neil, Afton Williamson, Mekia Cox, Shawn Ashmore and Eric Winter. The Rookie premiered on October 16, 2018. The first season ran until April 16, 2019. The second season ran from September 29, 2019, to May 10, 2020. The third season ran from January 3 to May 16, 2021.

In May 2021, the series was renewed for a fourth season which is scheduled to premiere on September 26, 2021.


The series follows John Nolan, a forty-five-year-old newly divorced man from Pennsylvania, former owner of a construction company and father of a son in college, who, after inadvertently helping police officers during a bank robbery, moves to Los Angeles to pursue a new career as a police officer in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). After graduating from the Police Academy as the oldest rookie on the force, Nolan must navigate the dangerous, unpredictable nature of his job and is determined to make it in his new career despite the challenges.[2]

Series lead Nathan Fillion stated during an interview that the drama was inspired by a true story as the LAPD is one of just two agencies that accepts new officers over the age of 37.[3] The man whose story inspired the premise of the show was later revealed to be Bill Norcross, who continues to serve in the LAPD and also as executive producer on The Rookie.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Nathan Fillion as John Nolan: The oldest rookie (Police Officer I) at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), he is assigned to the Wilshire Division.[2] He studied law at Pennsylvania State University but dropped out upon learning his former girlfriend Sarah was pregnant and went into construction. At the age of 45, Nolan closed his construction company in Pennsylvania and moved out west to become a police officer. He is divorced with a 19-year-old son, Henry, who is a freshman in college. After his independent investigation into corrupt cop Nick Armstrong compromised his chances for future promotion, he has decided to work towards becoming a training officer himself.
  • Alyssa Diaz as Angela Lopez: An LAPD detective (Detective I) who starts out the series as a training officer (Police Officer III). She was assigned as the training officer to Jackson West, who threatened her hopes of becoming Detective. Although she gives West a hard time, Lopez also looks out for him. She gets engaged to defense attorney Wesley Evers in season two, and is promoted to Detective at the beginning of season 3, following the death of Nick Armstrong.[5] She discovers that she is pregnant with her and Wesley's first child in the season three premiere.
  • Richard T. Jones as Wade Grey: A sergeant (Sergeant II) and a watch commander of the Wilshire Station. Grey is initially against Nolan being a rookie because he feels that Nolan is having a midlife crisis and that being a police officer is not his true calling, but he later sees potential in him. Grey served in the United States Army prior to joining the LAPD. He has a daughter who is planning to go to college in the fall.[6]
  • Titus Makin Jr. as Jackson West: An eager rookie officer (Police Officer II) and the son of Commander West, head of the LAPD's Internal Affairs Division. Top of his class at the Police Academy, West strives to be the best officer he can be despite his naive personality. Despite his commitment to the LAPD, West initially froze up whenever a shooting occurred and was nearly kicked from the training program by Bradford. He eventually redeems himself and has since moved past the shootings. He is close friends with Nolan and Chen and becomes the latter's roommate when he is forced to move out of his apartment after arresting his landlord. After Angela was promoted to detective, his new T.O., Doug Stanton, was revealed to be a racist with outdated gang views, forcing West to work with Grey to expose him. West is openly gay.[7]
  • Mercedes Mason as Zoe Andersen (season 1; guest season 3): Nolan's confident and irreverent commanding officer,[8] Captain Andersen was a former Marine with the military police. After leaving the Corps, she spent a year with the United States Pentagon Police Criminal Investigations Directorate before joining the LAPD. Because of her prior experience, Andersen rose up the ranks very quickly to the point where some of her officers saw her more as a boss than a fellow officer. Unlike Grey, she took Nolan under her wing and believed his life experiences would benefit the department. She was killed late in the first season while protecting Nolan from an attempt on his life by a gang boss.
  • Melissa O'Neil as Lucy Chen: An ambitious rookie cop (Police Officer II) who struggles to prove herself to Tim Bradford, her training officer. She is 28 years old and her parents are psychologists who opposed her career choice. She is close friends with Nolan and West and often hangs out with them while not on duty. After completing her training, Chen is partnered with West and later undergoes training to become an undercover officer. She briefly had a romantic relationship with Nolan, despite it being against the rules and remains close friends with him.[9]
  • Afton Williamson as Talia Bishop (season 1): A newly promoted training officer (Police Officer III) whose first assignment was Nolan. Throughout the first season, she worked hard to make detective and work her way up to chief of police. Near the end of the first season, Bishop was revealed to have lied about having an ex-con foster brother in order to get into the police academy. She does not return for the second season, as she has moved on to U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rather than face a possibly stalled career in the LAPD.[10][11]
  • Eric Winter as Tim Bradford: An overbearing training officer (Police Officer III). He is assigned Chen as a rookie and gives her a hard time. He used to be a Marine squad leader who served in Iraq and Afghanistan before joining the LAPD. He was initially married to a fellow cop named Isabel, but her drug addiction eventually caused their marriage to fall apart. Later in the first season, he breaks off his relationship with Isabel entirely after she gets clean; he starts dating social services agent Rachel Hall in the second season after losing a bet to Chen, but the relationship ends when Rachel gets a job offer in New York and Bradford wasn't willing to restart his career by transferring to the NYPD.[10]
  • Mekia Cox as Nyla Harper (season 2–present): Nolan's new training officer (Police Detective I), a detective coming off of four years of undercover work who is trying to return to her patrol roots. She is also fighting with her ex-husband for joint custody of their daughter.[12]
  • Shawn Ashmore as Wesley Evers (season 3; recurring seasons 1–2): A defense lawyer with whom Lopez initially clashes but then starts dating. The two become engaged near the end of the second season. Wesley becomes a contact for the team, to the extent that he agreed to act as Nolan's lawyer when he was nearly framed by Armstrong as a mole.


  • Mircea Monroe as Isabel Bradford (season 1): Tim Bradford's ex-wife, a former undercover narcotics officer who turned into a drug addict
  • Sara Rue as Nell Forester: A dispatcher for the LAPD whom Bradford bribes in order to get the best calls[13]
  • Currie Graham as Ben McRee (season 1): Nolan's friend who lets Nolan stay in his mansion as a house guest[14]
  • Demetrius Grosse as Kevin Wolfe (season 1): A detective who is assigned to Isabel's case
  • David DeSantos as Elijah Vestri (season 1): A detective who is assigned to Isabel's case
  • Zayne Emory as Henry Nolan: John Nolan's son who is a freshman in college. He becomes engaged in the second season.[15]
  • Michael Beach as Percy West: Jackson's father and the commander of Internal Affairs
  • Brent Huff as Smitty: A lazy training officer who lives in a trailer park across the street from the Wilshire station. He is usually only seen at roll call, and he filled in for Lopez in one episode as Jackson's training officer when Lopez rode with Nolan.
  • Angel Parker as Luna Grey: Wade Grey's wife and mother of their daughter Dominique[16]
  • Sarah Shahi as Jessica Russo (seasons 1–2): A former FBI hostage negotiator who now runs her own security firm and is a published author. She dated Nolan but later broke up with him in "Safety" when a pregnancy scare prompted them to realize that they wanted different things from their relationship at this time.[17]
  • Matthew Glave as Oscar Hutchinson: A prisoner who escapes from the prison bus crash but is later apprehended by Lopez and West
  • Harold Perrineau as Nick Armstrong (seasons 2–3): A new night detective who assists the LAPD Wilshire Division. Nolan is assigned to him on his first day and they become fast friends. Having made detective after only four years as a patrol officer, Nolan is eager to learn from him.[18] A widower, Armstrong lost his wife to cancer while he was on a case to catch a ruthless serial killer and has since regretted not spending more time with her while she was alive. During the second-season finale, Armstrong is revealed to be a dirty cop working for the Armenian mob because he needed money when his wife was in the hospital, and was injured in a shooting by Nolan before trying to frame him for also working with the mob. In the first episode of the third season, Armstrong escaped from the hospital before his wounds healed. When he met with the mob to execute Nolan, he was shot once more and killed.
  • Daniel Lissing as Sterling Freeman (seasons 2–3): A celebrity actor starring on a police procedural show, he witnesses Jackson take down a suspect and requests him to be a technical advisor on his show. He later falls in love with Jackson and they date briefly.
  • Ali Larter as Grace Sawyer (season 2): A doctor at Shaw Memorial Hospital. She and Nolan dated in college, but he broke up with her after discovering that Sarah (who would later become his wife) was pregnant with his son Henry.[19] She becomes the team's immediate contact for medical treatment of suspects and officers, and she and Nolan tentatively dated for a time, although she gave her relationship with her husband another attempt when he came back into her life.
  • Jasmine Mathews as Rachel Hall (season 2): A social services agent whom Bradford begins dating after Chen sets them up on a date as part of a bet. Bradford and Hall grew close, and when Hall got a job in New York, Bradford considered joining the NYPD to be with her; when he discovered he would lose his rank, she told him it was best they went their separate ways, allowing him to choose his career over her.
  • Enver Gjokaj as Donovan: Harper's ex-husband. Harper is fighting with him over joint custody of their daughter Lila.
  • Carsyn Rose as Lila: Harper's daughter from her previous marriage to Donovan
  • Madeleine Coghlan as Abigail: Henry Nolan's fiancée. She expressed interest in becoming a police officer, going on a ride along with Nolan and Bradford, but a childhood criminal record (she set fire to her ex-boyfriend's car when he posted revenge porn of her online) prevented that idea from going further.
  • Annie Wersching as Rosalind Dyer (seasons 2–3): A serial killer and nemesis of Armstrong, the officer that jailed her for murder. She assists the LAPD in finding unrecovered bodies as part of a plea deal, later instructing her boyfriend to abduct Chen. When Nolan discovered Armstrong was corrupt in the second season's finale, he went to visit Dyer in prison for more information. After Nolan's arrest in the first episode of season 3, Bradford and Chen visited her for further information. Following Armstrong's death, Dyer called Nolan to gloat that all of Armstrong's arrests were under review and she could potentially be released from prison.
  • Jeff Pierre as Emmett Lang (season 2): A firefighter who is mutual friends with Bradford. He dates Chen after they meet at the scene of a car accident.
  • Hrach Titizian as Ruben Derian (seasons 2–3): A member of the Derian crime family who has recruited Armstrong and Erin Cole to help him destroy evidence that implicates his brother Serj for the murder of Chris Rios
  • Brandon Routh as Doug Stanton (season 3): Jackson's new veteran training officer. Stanton abuses his authority to silence Jackson when Jackson becomes critical of Stanton's abuse toward non-white citizens. Jackson and Grey gather evidence against Stanton, eventually leading to his suspension from the force pending termination after Stanton allows Jackson to be severely beaten on a call in retaliation for threatening to have his father tear apart Stanton's career. Stanton, however, manages to get his termination reversed on appeal and is eventually reinstated, though at the cost of his TO status and permanent demotion from senior rank. However, Grey uses both his and Jackson's bodycam footages from the day of Jackson's beating in the guise of a re-training video to expose Stanton's actions, ruining his reputation in the LAPD.
  • Dylan Conrique as Tamara Collins (season 3): a homeless high school student whom Chen takes under her wing to try and help her cope with her situation.
  • Camille Guaty as Sandra "La Fiera" De La Cruz (season 3): A Guatemalan businesswoman and drug-lord, with a notorious reputation since she killed both sides of a gang battle she was caught in the middle of when she was a teenage mother taking her newborn son home.

Notable guests[edit]

  • Danny Nucci as Sanford Motta: An arrogant major assault crimes detective who looks down on rookies[20]
  • Shawn Christian as Jeremy Hawke: Nolan's former training officer at the Academy who goes rogue[21]
  • Joelle Carter as Megan Mitchell: Hawke's ex-wife who is fighting with him over custody of their son Logan[21]
  • Niko Nicotera as Carson Miller: Isabel's former boyfriend and a drug dealer[22][23]
  • Jose Pablo Cantillo as Franco DeSantis: A drug dealer who steals money from a drug bust after being tipped off[24]
  • Beau Garrett as Denise: A woman who Nolan rescues on Valentine's Day who has an unhealthy obsession with him
  • Sean Maher as Caleb Jost: A prisoner who escapes from the prison bus crash in "Manhunt" but is later apprehended by Nolan, Bishop, and Russo
  • Mario Lopez as himself: A celebrity pulled over by Bradford and Chen for running a stop sign who tries to talk his way out of a ticket as part of an integrity test by LAPD Internal Affairs[25]
  • Joel McHale as Brad Hayes: A former border patrol officer turned people smuggler for a cartel, who is placed under the protective detail of Bradford and Nolan[26]
  • Michael Trucco as Sean Delmonte: An assistant district attorney who assigns Nolan and Bradford to a protective detail in "The Shake Up". He later returns in the second-season episode "The Dark Side" when he makes a deal with Rosalind Dyer in order to find the bodies of her previous victims
  • Jim Lau as Patrick Chen: Lucy Chen's father who is injured by one of his patients and forced to go the hospital. He later has an argument with Chen regarding the LAPD's handling of mental health cases
  • as himself: Appears when a silent alarm is tripped at his residence, caused by a man who accidentally parachuted into the wrong yard and got stuck in a tree
  • Stephen Lang as Williams: The LAPD chief of police. He is the one who administers the oral exam to Nolan, Chen, and West during their midterm exam
  • Felicia Day as Dr. Morgan: A CDC task-force specialist specializing in infectious diseases[27]
  • Mark Cuban as himself: Appears when Nolan and Grey respond to a disturbance at his restaurant
  • Mitch Pileggi as Rex: A bounty hunter and retired LAPD cop. He is good friends with Bradford
  • Seamus Dever as Chaz Bachman: A lawyer who is arrested by Nolan and Lopez for buying drugs[28]
  • Jon Huertas as Alejandro Mejia / Cesar Ojeda: An undercover DHS agent who is compromised and nearly killed by two assailants seeking information from him[28]
  • Lauren Tom as Mrs. Chen: Lucy Chen's mother who comes to stay at her apartment briefly after having an argument with Chen's father
  • Eric Weddle as himself: appeared during a Los Angeles Rams junior football camp. Was a high school football adversary of Bradford's.[29]
  • Robert Woods as himself: appeared during a Los Angeles Rams junior football camp[29]
  • Alan Tudyk as Ellroy Basso: A cleaner employed by the LAPD to help clean up crime scenes. He and Nolan later apprehend the criminals who committed the original crime when they return to the scene. He also has a crush on Nell Forester.[30]
  • Michael Cassidy as Caleb Wright: A man whom Chen meets at a bar, who later turns out to be a serial killer and Rosalind Dyer's associate[31]
  • Pete Davidson as Pete Nolan: Nolan's half-brother whom he meets following his father's death[32]
  • Seth Green as Jordan Neil: A man who steals Nolan's identity, causing his credit score to go down[33]
  • Roselyn Sánchez as Valerie Castillo: An ambitious reporter
  • Bailey Chase as Michael Banks: A DEA agent who assists Nolan and Harper during a drug raid
  • Don Swayze as Sharp: A prison guard deputy at the California Correctional Facility who assists Nolan and Harper during a riot
  • Hannah Kasulka as Erin Cole: A rookie officer who is later revealed to be a dirty cop working for the Derians
  • Christopher O'Shea as Chris Rios: A rookie officer who is fatally shot by Serj Derian, leaving West devastated as the two had been close friends
  • Frances Fisher as Evelyn Nolan: Nolan's overbearing and manipulative mother
  • Frankie Muniz as Corey Harris: A former child actor who now runs a cult
  • Skyler Samuels as Charlotte Luster: Corey's childhood co-star and friend
  • Rainn Wilson as himself: A celebrity interviewed by a true crime documentary who owned the mummified body of Charlie Chaplin
  • Molly Quinn as Ashley: The daughter of prisoner Oscar Hutchinson who is a person of interest in a kidnapping case
  • Emily Deschanel as Sarah Nolan: Nolan's ex-wife and mother to their son Henry
  • Kyle Secor as Special Agent Taggert: A DEA agent assigned to the La Fiera case
  • Jenna Dewan as Bailey: Nolan's date to Lopez's wedding


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
120October 16, 2018 (2018-10-16)April 16, 2019 (2019-04-16)
220September 29, 2019 (2019-09-29)May 10, 2020 (2020-05-10)
314January 3, 2021 (2021-01-03)May 16, 2021 (2021-05-16)



On October 26, 2017, ABC announced a straight-to-series order for The Rookie, starring Castle star Nathan Fillion, and written by Castle executive producer and co-showrunner Alexi Hawley. Fillion and Hawley serve as executive producers, along with Mark Gordon, Nicholas Pepper, Michelle Chapman, and Jon Steinberg. The series is produced by ABC Studios and The Mark Gordon Company,[2] and premiered on October 16, 2018.[34] On November 5, 2018, The Rookie was picked up for full season of 20 episodes.[35] On May 10, 2019, ABC renewed the series for a second season which premiered on September 29, 2019.[36][37] On October 28, 2019, the series received a full season order of 20 episodes for the second season.[38]

On May 21, 2020, ABC renewed the series for a third season which premiered on January 3, 2021.[39][40] On May 14, 2021, ABC renewed the series for a fourth season, which is set to premiere on September 26, 2021.[41][42]


With the series order in October 2017, Fillion was cast as John Nolan.[2] On February 7, 2018, Afton Williamson and Eric Winter were cast as Talia Bishop and Tim Bradford, respectively.[10] They were shortly followed by Melissa O'Neil as Lucy Chen,[9] Richard T. Jones as Sergeant Wade Grey,[6] Titus Makin as Jackson West,[7] Alyssa Diaz as Angela Lopez,[5] and Mercedes Mason as Captain Zoe Andersen.[8]

On August 4, 2019, it was announced that Williamson would not be returning for the second season due to the alleged racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault she suffered during the first season.[43] On October 2, 2019, Mekia Cox joined the cast as a new series regular, Nyla Harper, for the second season.[12]


In January 2018, Liz Friedlander signed on to direct and executive produce the pilot.[44] Production on the pilot began on March 7, 2018,[45] with filming taking place in Los Angeles, Oxnard, Burbank and New York City.[46] On April 15, 2021, police received a call of a possible shooting while filming was taking place between Hartford Avenue and West 5th Street in Los Angeles. Three gunshots were heard by various eyewitnesses and the production crew confirmed no one from the show was injured during the incident. Filming in the area was shut down as a result of the reports but filming continued at other already scheduled locations.[47]

On-set misconduct and harassment allegations[edit]

On July 26, 2019, TVLine reported that Afton Williamson, who portrays Talia Bishop, would not be returning for the second season. While the outlet initially claimed that the split was amicable, Williamson, in a lengthy Instagram post, stated that she had left the series due to having "experienced racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department."[11] Williamson also alleged that she was sexually harassed by guest star Demetrius Grosse, who portrays Kevin Wolfe in a recurring role, as well as an incident of bullying that escalated into sexual assault at a party; the head of the hair department was identified as Sallie Ciganovich. Williamson claimed that she had gone to the showrunners multiple times with these allegations, but was ignored.[48]

Everyone involved in the allegations denied them. An investigation was commissioned through the law firm Mitchell Sillerberg and Knupp along with a third-party firm, EXTTI, which conducted nearly 400 hours of interviews and examined video and other evidence.[49] The results of the investigation were published on September 17, 2019, which found that the allegations made by Williamson had no merit, and could not be proven. Williamson stood by her claims, calling the results of the investigation "heartbreaking" and postulated that the producers had lied to cover up the truth of what happened.[50]



The Rookie is broadcast in the United States on ABC. The first season aired on Tuesday, while the second season aired on Sunday.[51] The Rookie has been licensed in more than 180 countries and territories.[52]

Home media[edit]

The first season was released on DVD in Region 1 on August 27, 2019,[53] and in Region 4 (Australia) on January 22, 2020.[54]



Viewership and ratings per season of The Rookie
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Viewership
Avg. viewers
Date Viewers
Date Viewers
1 Tuesday 10:00 p.m. 20 October 16, 2018 (2018-10-16) 5.43[55] April 16, 2019 (2019-04-16) 4.06[56] 2018–19 48 7.79[57]
2 Sunday 10:00 p.m.[58] 20 September 29, 2019 (2019-09-29) 4.11[59] May 10, 2020 (2020-05-10) 4.66[60] 2019–20 32 8.19[61]
3 14 January 3, 2021 (2021-01-03) 3.44[62] May 16, 2021 (2021-05-16) 3.77[63] 2020–21 29 7.11[64]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 68% approval rating with an average rating of 6.33/10 based on 22 reviews for the first season. The website's consensus reads, "Nathan Fillion's reliably likable presence makes The Rookie worth tuning in, even if the show around him isn't particularly memorable."[65] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 64 out of 100 based on 12 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[66]


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