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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Rookie is a police show starring Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly) and an ensemble cast. Each episode follows three sets of officers on patrol as they encounter drug users, dealers, professional criminals and violent offenders. There's a lot of violence depicted, including murders and shootouts. Sometimes these things are portrayed for dramatic effect; other times for laughs. The show concentrates on depicting ways in which police officers must behave different from civilians -- things like following orders, handling weapons, and how to cope with things that happen on the job -- and when it may or may not be appropriate to break protocol in order to help people.
What's the story?
On the day he files his divorce papers, 40-something-year-old John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) helps thwart a violent bank robbery, which inspires him to reimagine his life and become a police officer. THE ROOKIE picks up after Nolan's gone through basic training and begins his first year on the force. He and fellow first-year officers Lucy Chen (Melissa O'Neil) and Jackson West (Titus Makin) are assigned training officers and sent out on patrol. Each episode follows Nolan, Chen, and West as they learn on the job, encountering plenty of hardened criminals and eccentric civilians along the way.
Is it any good?
No one is going to mistake a Nathan Fillion vehicle for prestige TV -- but for a network police show, this series does a lot of things well. The show is unique in that it doesn't use a crime-of-the-week format the way most procedurals do, but rather follows three sets of officers as they go on their patrols, encountering many criminals over the course of the day and keeping the action rolling.
Plus, it features an extremely diverse cast of charismatic actors who can pull off both the dramatic and comedic aspects of the writing. In general, it feels like the writers aren't afraid to take risks and attempt to breathe some life into a genre that's often seemed way past its prime. The results are mixed, but The Rookie makes up for its flaws with fast-moving episodes that pack a lot into their runtime.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about John Nolan. What inspires him to become a police officer in the middle of his life? What are the obstacles he faces in The Rookie? How is he different from his peers? Do you think he's too old for the job?
What advantages does Nolan's age give him? What disadvantages?
In what ways do police officers have to conduct themselves differently from regular people? What are the codes and regulations that they follow? Why are these codes so rigid?
For kids who love crime TV
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.