Police Drama ‘The Rookie’ Reminds Major Character of Privilege: ‘You’re a White Man’


Proper from the season three premiere, ABC’s The Rookie goals to get political on policing.

On January 3’s episode, “Penalties,” important character John Nolan (Nathan Fillion), a rookie cop, is in a heap of authorized hassle after being framed by Detective Nick Armstrong (Harold Perrineau). However John’s lawyer, Wesley (Shawn Ashmore), shortly reminds John he’s being handled higher due to his race:

Wesley: Nolan? Do you perceive? Nolan. 

John: What?

Wesley: Technically, you are not below arrest. You are cooperating. However as soon as you are not free to go away past a short detention, that constitutes an arrest and begins the clock. D.A. Can have 72 hours to current their case towards you. 

John: Yeah, I-I do know — I do know that. 

Wesley: After all. However I additionally know that you just’re in shock, and I want you to focus. If convicted, you are 25 years, which is why you have to let me do all of the speaking. One mistake, one ill-chosen phrase, and you will jail. 

John: However we do not have to play it like that. The reality is on my facet. 

Wesley: And also you suppose which means one thing? [ Scoffs ] In case you had been every other defendant — 

John: What? 

Wesley: By no means thoughts. 

John: No, I need to know. If I used to be every other defendant, what? 

Wesley: You’re a white man. A cop. You may have already been handled with a degree of deference my different purchasers would by no means get. In case you had been Black or Brown, the police would’ve created exigent circumstances and kicked the door in, shot you in the event that they thought you reacted aggressively, arrested you when you surrendered, assured that the D.A. would bully you right into a plea deal. 

John: That is not honest. I am not that sort of cop. Neither is Gray. 

Wesley: You telling me you’ve got by no means bent the foundations? 

John: Not like that. 

Wesley: Look, you might have an opportunity to outlive this due to who you might be. However provided that you do precisely what I say. 

This scene was fairly purposeful. Leisure Weekly shortly revealed an episode recap, which featured a dialogue with present creator Alexi Hawley, who referred to the scene as “extremely obligatory” and stated that it “most likely wouldn’t have existed within the kind that they’ve with out this motion occurring.”

Hawley acknowledged the dialog focuses on:

how Nolan’s expertise differs from many different individuals. Particularly, Wesley’s purchasers of colour. Him being a white male cop had a profound impression on the way in which they handled him versus the way in which they’d take care of different individuals who did not appear to be him. 

The present telegraphed that it could be “addressing the Black Lives Matter motion that exploded within the wake of the George Floyd homicide in Might of 2020” in an article Entertainment Weekly revealed final month:

The present is poised to deal with these points, as specified by a panel “Scripted Police Collection and Their Impression on Tradition,” which welcomed Hawley and Fillion, in addition to different The Rookie producers and solid members alongside representatives from organizations Breaking Obstacles United and Shade of Change.

Color of Change was additionally referenced in one other December article on The Rookie, from The Hollywood Reporter,How One Writers Room Is Rethinking Policing on TV.” The group launched a 153-page report early final yr, Normalizing Injustice, which THR known as, “fairly damning,” and described as a report which “particulars the myriad methods the medium, subtly and overtly, undermines racial equality — on the prime of 2020, Shade of Change’s Hollywood arm has spent the yr since strolling welcoming writers, producers and executives by means of their findings.”

THR famous that Kristen Marston, the group’s tradition and leisure advocacy director, has “consulted on greater than 100 TV sequence about points dealing with Black People,” and he or she is quoted saying, “What we see on TV, it impacts the way in which we vote, the way in which that we react to individuals and even the way in which that we both consider Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group or not. This stuff are so foundationally essential.”

Shade for Change was additionally referenced within the Salt Lake Tribune’s reporting on The Rookie “making an attempt to be a special police present within the age of Black Lives Matter.”

And, lest anybody suppose this was only a one episode storyline for The Rookie, Terence Paul Winter, an govt producer and author, talked about they “can’t do one particular episode, the place we really feel good and remedy racism ultimately, after which return to our traditional factor the subsequent week. We need to change issues for so long as we get to do that present.”

Viewers higher get used to this, then.