Police Drama ‘The Rookie’ Reminds Primary 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,” foremost character John Nolan (Nathan Fillion), a rookie cop, is in a heap of authorized bother after being framed by Detective Nick Armstrong (Harold Perrineau). However John’s lawyer, Wesley (Shawn Ashmore), rapidly reminds John he’s being handled higher due to his race:

Wesley: Nolan? Do you perceive? Nolan. 

John: What?

Wesley: Technically, you are not underneath 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. Could have 72 hours to current their case in opposition to you. 

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

Wesley: After all. However I additionally know that you simply’re in shock, and I want you to focus. If convicted, you are 25 years, which is why you want 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 aspect. 

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

John: What? 

Wesley: By no means thoughts. 

John: No, I wish to know. If I used to be some other defendant, what? 

Wesley: You’re a white man. A cop. You’ve already been handled with a stage of deference my different purchasers would by no means get. In the event 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 in case you surrendered, assured that the D.A. would bully you right into a plea deal. 

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

Wesley: You telling me you have by no means bent the foundations? 

John: Not like that. 

Wesley: Look, you have got 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 rapidly printed an episode recap, which featured a dialogue with present creator Alexi Hawley, who referred to the scene as “extremely crucial” and stated that it “most likely wouldn’t have existed within the type that they’ve with out this motion occurring.”

Hawley acknowledged the dialog focuses on:

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

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

The present is poised to handle these points, as specified by a panel “Scripted Police Sequence and Their Affect on Tradition,” which welcomed Hawley and Fillion, in addition to different The Rookie producers and forged members alongside representatives from organizations Breaking Limitations United and Colour 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 referred to as, “relatively damning,” and described as a report which “particulars the myriad methods the medium, subtly and overtly, undermines racial equality — on the high of 2020, Colour 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 collection about points going through Black Individuals,” and she or he is quoted saying, “What we see on TV, it impacts the way in which we vote, the way in which that we react to folks and even the way in which that we both imagine Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group or not. This stuff are so foundationally vital.”

Colour for Change was additionally referenced within the Salt Lake Tribune’s reporting on The Rookie “attempting to be a distinct 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 government producer and author, talked about they “can’t do one particular episode, the place we really feel good and resolve racism ultimately, after which return to our normal factor the subsequent week. We wish to change issues for so long as we get to do that present.”

Viewers higher get used to this, then.