The Rookie is the newest vehicle (in this case, one that features a siren,) for Nathan Fillion, who, of course, is best known for his starring role as Captain Malcolm Reynolds on Fox’s ignominiously axed, ahead-of-its-time 2002-2003 space/sci-fi/western series, Firefly, and a 2009-2016 run – opposite Stana Katic – as the title star of ABC crime procedural Castle. Now, two years after that series came to a (controversially sloppy) close, Fillion returns to ABC on this freshman cop series that mixes hard crime drama with some occasional Fillion levity.
In the latest news, ABC has just made a full season order for The Rookie, adding seven more episodes to its previous thirteen, bringing the currently-running Season 1 to a new total of 20 episodes.
The series debuted on ABC on October 16 as a Tuesday night primetime offering, banking a modest 5.4 million viewers and 0.98 in the 18-49 demo; a number that has, nevertheless, held steady at 4.5 million and 0.83 in the 18-49 for its two subsequent episodes. Moreover, its numbers improve with the addition of DVR viewers, which brings its average to 9.7 million viewers and 1.8 in 18-49. With a backorder in place, fans of The Rookie can rest easy about the show’s place on the network lineup.
Based on a true story, dramedy series The Rookie centers on John Nolan (Fillion), a forty-something man who makes a radical career turn that lands him as the oldest rookie in the LAPD. Having abandoned a comfortably tranquil small-town existence, John decides to navigate life in Los Angeles, pursuing a dream that has nothing to do with showbiz, as a rookie cop, working with uniformed peers who are generally twenty years younger than him, while facing all the bodily dangers and political pitfalls it brings. Fillion is joined in the cast by Melissa O’Neil, Titus Makin Jr., Afton Williamson, Eric Winter, Alyssa Diaz, Richard T. Jones and Mercedes Mason.
The Rookie stands as Fillion’s first regular series role since the 2016 conclusion of Castle. He’s since had appearances on former Firefly co-star Alan Tudyk’s Vimeo series, Con Man, a memorable guest run on Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet, a recurring role reprisal on Modern Family and lent his voice to animated fantasy films Yamasong: March of the Hollows and Cars 3. His producing partner, Alexi Hawley, got his first break as an associate producer on Castle, eventually working his way up to executive producer/showrunner. He’s also worked on Fox crime drama The Following and ABC forensic procedural Body of Proof.
The Rookie got some of the Castle band back together, since the initial project was a collaborative reunion of sorts between Fillion and that show’s final executive producer, Alexi Hawley, who has also written the script. After spending seven years on Castle playing an eccentric author/police consultant, The Rookie , Fillion emerged from the sidelines to put on a uniform as a cop. Fillion and Hawley executive-produce The Rookie alongside The Mark Gordon Co’s Mark Gordon and Nicholas Pepper, also joined by Michelle Chapman and Jon Steinberg.
The Rookie airs on ABC Tuesdays at 10/9c.