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Spoiler: In a Shocking Turn, 'The Rookie' Kills Off a Series Regular

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 21, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 21, 2019 |


There are a few network dramas that I’ve been following this season that have not necessarily warranted weekly coverage, but remain good enough to continue following. For instance, New Amsterdam had been fairly solid for much of the season, but it’s beginning to unwind as it loses focus on the characters and turns its attention to big ratings stunts. The most recent episode took place during a snowstorm and the next episode is set during a black-out that came as a result of the snowstorm. Sadly, that’s left less time for the show to spend with Dr. Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine), the warm and cuddly therapist, while Dr. Bloom has been siloed in a rehab facility. Anyway, I may be done with New Amsterdam soon if it doesn’t reverse course.

One network series that I have really gotten into this season, however, is ABC’s The Rookie, which has replaced Lethal Weapon as my token police procedural. It’s surprisingly good, although it probably shouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering it comes from Alexi Hawley, the twin brother of Noah Hawley (Fargo). Alexi was an exec producer on Castle and he brought Nathan Fillion over to The Rookie for what has become much more of an ensemble rather than the Nathan Fillion Show.

The series sticks to cases-of-the-week, but there is character progression, and the style is more akin to my all-time favorite cop show, Southland, than it is to the typical police procedural. As with Southland, the beat-cop profession dictates it: They don’t follow serial killers or solve mysteries. They basically put out fires, and they get shot at a lot.

It’s a terrific (and diverse) ensemble that also includes Alyssa Diaz (struggling in a relationship with a defense attorney), Titus Makin Jr. (trying to live in the shadow of his father), Melissa O’Neil (who began the show in an unwise relationship with Fillion’s character), Afton Williamson (who plays Fillion’s ambitious, no-nonsense partner), Eric Winter (a hard-ass with a soft spot for his drug-addicted ex-wife), Richard T. Jones, who plays the sergeant, and Mercedes Mason, who plays Captain Zoe Anderson. (Fun Fact: Mason is the real-life wife of David Denman, Pam’s original boyfriend on The Office).


Or, rather, she did play Captain Zoe Anderson, until The Rookie threw an unexpected shocker into a police procedural, killing her off in sudden and surprising fashion. A bad guy — a white nationalist, natch — shot her in the head, leaving no uncertainty about her death. She just straight-up got killed, which is a big deal for a police procedural, especially considering it wasn’t even the season finale. And yes, if you are wondering: Yes. It is permanent.

At least there’s clearly no friction on this set. In either respect, I’m sad to see Mason go, although after her all-too-brief stint on Fear the Walking Dead, she’s probably used to being killed off of television shows.

Speaking of ratings stunts, however, one is expected to arrive next week on The Rookie with the requisite California earthquake and an appearance from Joel McHale.

I also have a feeling that Mason’s role in the show will be replaced by Sarah Shahi, who will also double as the new love interest of Nathan Fillion’s character. It’s a weird swap for a number of reasons, not least of which is this.


The Rookie airs on Tuesdays on ABC.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: ABC