The Rookie

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
The Rookie TV Poster Image
Nathan Fillion vehicle brings new energy to a tired genre.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

This series deals a lot with the difference between one's values in real life, and one's values in police life -- obeying superiors, getting hazed, etc. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nolan takes positive actions to improve his life, even though he is considered too old to make changes. He's compassionate, humble, open-minded and puts others' safety before his own. The Rookie also features a very diverse cast, in terms of both race and gender. All of the characters are strong but complex.


Lots of violence. Throughout the officers' patrols, they encounter murders, assaults, kidnappings and more. For example, in one episode, a woman stabs her husband repeatedly in the throat, a man wrecks cars with a baseball bat, and there's a shootout with assault rifles that leaves an officer gravely wounded.


Romantic relationships are shown, but nothing sexual appears on screen. Occasionally, crimes involving sex will be discussed. In the first episode, a couple has sex in a police car after getting arrested; a bare foot pressed against a steamy car window is shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The officers encounter numerous drug dealers and drug users throughout their patrols. Drugs are mostly portrayed in a negative light, but can sometimes be played for comedy. There's some casual drinking.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySavannahnicole143 May 10, 2021

The Rookie is amazing

I absolutely love this show, and I hope that there is a season 4 I mean they still have so much they could do in the show! It shows different lessons anyone cou... Continue reading
Adult Written byNickBro March 30, 2021

Woke SJW Nonsense

This show started out okay, but pretty soon became unwatchable due to too many woke SJW episodes always depicting white men as bad people. Children should not w... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 9, 2020

ABC Good job!

This is the Best show on ABC in my opinion other than AFV. I really think you would like this!
Kid, 11 years old February 23, 2020

A really good show! Hardly gets boring.

I could binge-watch episodes straight without getting bored. Its really good!!

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love crime TV

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