Episode Two is now in the books and Melanie Atkins and I are polar opposites this week regarding our opinions of the show. Here, see for yourselves, starting with Melanie’s portion of the review …

Melanie Atkins

The second episode of The Rookie zoomed along just as quickly as the pilot did. The show started with a car chase to ramp up our adrenaline and didn’t stop until the credits rolled. One thing I noticed? John Nolan should have attend the Writers’ Police Academy last summer so he could learn how to do a pit maneuver. (Insert wide grin here.) He finally managed it, but it took him a while—and he damaged several other vehicles along the way. The bride popping out of the car made me laugh, as did her hanging from the Hollywood sign, as improbably as that was. What a hoot. John Nolan is our hero.

But unfortunately, he’s still tangled up with Lucy, who has yet to tell him that Bishop, his training officer, knows about their relationship and has advised her to end it. All I can say is that she must have strong feelings for him, since she hasn’t told him. I just hope they don’t crash and burn or get anybody killed because they’re protecting each other on the street.

The show motored on an addled meth addict, a guy high on PCP West coaxes out of a church with the promise of water, and Lucy’s dilemma of working with an overly-cautious temporary TO. All the while, John struggles to put aside his old-life instincts, as Bishop calls them, and think like a cop. The three rookies are learning on the job, and sometimes it’s not fun. Repercussions abound for their training officers as well, because they’re ultimately responsible for their rookies’ success or failure, which has an effect on the public-at-large.

I’m enjoying this show very much. Can’t wait to find out what happens to our trio of trainees next week. As Bishop put it, “It’s all about making split decisions in chaos.”

I love it.


Lee Lofland

Me, well, I found that watching the show was nearly as painful as I imagine it would be to have sewing needles shoved into my eyes. I thought the scenes, from start to finish, were extremely clumsy and were punctuated with awkward dialog.

It’s almost as if the writers worked overtime researching police procedure so they could appear as “one of folks in blue” by injecting every single fact they’d found into a single episode. By doing so the entire show seemed extremely forced—a classroom setting—because they did the very thing writers are taught to not do—tell not show. Imagine reading this episode in book form. It would come across as a text book—Cop Stuff 101.

And I still cannot separate Richard Castle from Officer John Nolan. For me, it’s as if Beckett dumped him so he ran off to L.A. to lick his wounds. I see no differences between the two characters.

Actually, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand years, so I’ll let this one describe how I saw Fillion’s character this week.

But some decent facts were there so I’ll point those out so you’ll know what you saw was fact, not fiction, or the reverse. And yes, I wholeheartedly understand this is a fictional television show. Yes, I know people don’t watch fictional shows to see real police procedure. Yes, I understand that no matter how many times I point out that my portion of this interview is solely to help writers know the rights and wrongs about the police procedure seen on this show, someone somewhere will complain, saying I’m an evil ogre because they watch for enjoyment not as an educational experience.

I’ll say this once again for those in the latter category, please know that I write my portion of this review at the request of writers who do indeed want to know if what they’ve seen on the show is real. If not, they’ve requested this information so that won’t make the same mistakes in their own writing. Here goes …

  • Melanie’s absolutely correct. Castle Nolan should’ve attended the Writers’ Police Academy prior to attempting the PIT maneuver. The one we saw performed on the show was not even close to proper.

Here’s author Tami Hoag correctly performing a PIT at the Writers’ Police Academy. She’s driving the car in the rear. An instructor was driving the “suspect’s car,” the one with the light bar on top. A certified police instructor was also seated beside Tami.

  • Nolan’s TO said, “The job is about doing things counter to human nature.” The PIT maneuver is a perfect example because we, as drivers on public roadways, try to avoid crashing into other cars. We’re taught to drive defensively. We know that colliding with other vehicles could be harmful to our bodies. We could die. So to purposely use your car to torpedo into another automobile is absolutely counter to human nature. Cops are often trained to do things that are against the grain.
  • Officer West is confused about his fear of returning gunfire during a shootout since he’d been around guns all his life, so his TO tells him, “It’s different when they (the targets) are shooting back at you.” I wholeheartedly agree. There’s no other feeling that compares to having someone pointing a firearm in your direction, sending bullets zinging by your head at over 1,000 feet per second. It’s pucker factor times ten.
  • The fact that West did indeed miserably fail to respond appropriately during a shootout (he cowered behind the patrol car and wouldn’t return fire) while working in a probationary status, the time when things like this arise and are evaluated, should’ve been cause to send him home for good. But, unrealistically, the writers allowed him stay, which caused his TO to say, “I don’t want to spend every call wondering if you’re going to freeze up again.” She’s correct and that thought would always be on her mind … forever. As it would for every officer who knew about the incident. They’d more than likely fear that he’d not be there for them during sticky situations that involved gunfire.

The fact that he talked the PCP-using Incredible Hulk guy into wearing handcuffs is not even close to showing and/or knowing how he’d react during another shooting situation. The toughest and most fearless fighter in the world may be scared of gunfire. I’ve never been one to back away from gunfire, knives, and fistfights, not once, but I don’t like spiders and snakes. Apples and oranges.

  • Arresting the meth-using-woman, the situation where she complained to the cops that she’d been ripped off during a drug deal. Yeah, that happens more often than you’d think. People can be that dumb. Sadly, though, some are mentally ill as was this woman, I believe. Evidence of this was that she’d stabbed and killed a guy and nonchlantly told Nolan and his TO that she’d done so. Again, happens all the time.
  • The scene where the rookies are booking/processing the folks they arrested. Could be any night during any booking process anywhere in the country. Every officer has been there, done that.
  • We saw Officer West use a chokehold to subdue a violent man who was hellbent on beating West to a mangled pulp. Was the tactic legal? Of course it was. This was a deadly force situation where there was a clear and obvious threat of serious bodily harm or death. Using his firearm, had he been able to get to it would also have been an option. But … was he scared to shoot, the reason he opted for the chokehold? See, I’d have that in the back of my mind.
  • As a cop, Nolan is a screwup. He’s dangerous. A loose cannon. He rushed into a house after a shotgun-wielding subject, leaving his TO behind and locked out of the home. This was a time to call for backup or at least wait for his TO/partner. Then, when he did locate the captive victim he turned his back, knowing the suspect had to be in the house. A dead cop cannot help anyone. Clear the threat first.
  • It’s interesting that they showed Castle-Nolan punching a guy since I was quoted in an ABC news article just this week about that very topic. Blows to the head are not permitted unless in a deadly force situation. This was not one of those situations.

Again, in the list of many instructional “tell, not show” talking points offered to us this week, Nolan’s TO said, “Overcoming the impulse to punish may be the hardest part of the job.”

So true. It’s difficult to not administer a bit of “street justice” to the guy who lobbed a few rounds at your head. But cops absolutely must keep emotions in check—to go against the grain of human nature.

You know, roll with the punches, not deliver them.

7 replies
  1. Kari Wainwright
    Kari Wainwright says:

    I really wanted to like the show, but after viewing it twice, am sending it to the garbage heap. Thanks for your reviews.

    • Lee Lofland
      Lee Lofland says:

      Those things are extremely hot, so I totally understand that actors don’t wear them, especially on shows where realism doesn’t matter.

  2. Marni Graff
    Marni Graff says:

    Actually agreed with both of you. I like the hjinks for diistraction but find it tough to separate Castle from Nolan. He’s basically playing the same character with different motivation…

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