The latest offering from Nathan Fillion follows a recent divorcee towards the end of the life he's known. At the bank of his small town to iron out some final details his experience at an attempted robbery inspire him to make something more of the non-life, he's lived so far. Cut to a year later and we see that John Nolan and a pair of fellow academy graduates are set for their first day. Following the three rookies, the first episode takes us along for their first day on the job as they struggle to learn the in-person lessons of what it means to be a police officer.
My initial reaction to this premise was a roll of the eyes. We've seen this plot before, where the older, wiser beginner has deeper insights because of their lived experience. I was looking forward to Nathan Fillion's trademark charm and little else. As such, I was honestly surprised by some of the turns the show took. Yes the department isn't happy about what they see as a mid-life-crisis endangering their lives but rather than devolve into showing Officer Nolan winning his officers over, the show plays it as him actually being a rookie. He falls into the same traps and makes the same mistakes the other newbie's do, he just happens to also be 40. I'm honestly quite grateful for that since having the "wise beginner" story would have been an easy and cheap character device.
You do get to see that patented Fillion charm in action but absent the fun arrogance that defined his role in Castle. Instead, he's a small town guy with the general attitude that would entail. It's a good role for Nathan Fillion and it should be interesting to see how he continues to develop it. The supporting cast are also well set up to provide a more complex and enriching narrative but I can't really get into them without falling into spoiler land. Suffice it to say that there's almost enough backstory and character complexity to have six main characters in this series. It reminds me of the show Third Watch but with a much lighter atmosphere.
The only complaint that I have is that the first episode gives too much away too quickly. Character aspect and details that should have been made to know later are instead nearly all on the table by the end of the premier. It could be they wanted to showcase this program as something more than just a police procedural and so we got as much information about personal lives and trials as we did. As is the first episode's final third has a major speed up in pace as character details come at you at a rapid pace.
Beyond that small quam The Rookie is an enjoyable show thus far and worth your time to check out. It's not dramatic enough to be taken too seriously nor is it so comedic as to undercut the seriousness of character or circumstance. It doesn't do anything spectacular, but it has fun twists of character and plot and a healthy respect to avoid the worst kinds of repetitive tropes.