[05/05/10 - 12:10 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "Rookie Blue" (ABC)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

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(Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c starting June 24)

The network's description: "A fun, fresh, high-stakes drama with a twist of danger follows the lives of five young, ambitious cops right out of the Academy. From their very first day on the job, these rookies are plunged into the world of big city policing, a world where even the smallest mistake can have life-or-death consequences and serious emotional fall-out. The soul of this close-knit group is 26-year-old perfectionist Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym). Honest to a fault, all Andy has ever wanted to be is "good police." Her father was a cop, and while he wasn't the best cop -- or the best father - Andy knows she'll never find this sense of family, loyalty and excitement in any other job. The series explores the trials, triumphs, competition and camaraderie of Andy and her rookie family -- boyfriends, best friends, mentors and competitors -- who are about to learn that no amount of training can prepare them for life."

What did they leave out? While it apparently takes place in a non-descript Canadian city, we're never actually told where it takes place.

The plot in a nutshell: "We've learned how to shoot, fight and drive a police car really fast," explains rookie police officer Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym) in the opening narration. "I mean we're ready." Oliver Shaw (Matt Gordon), her grizzled training officer at 15 Division, however isn't as convinced and with good reason - she's wearing her radio on the wrong side of her uniform. Such is the case for her fellow police academy grads and their training officers: wide-eyed Chris Diaz (Travis Milne) gets a real-world schooling from Frank Best (Lyriq Bent); Traci Nash (Enuka Okuma) is billed "Jenny from the Block" by Noelle Williams (Melanie Nicholls-King); while man-child Dov Epstein (Gregory Smith) and the rule-bending Gail Peck (Charlotte Sullivan) are saddled with desk duty.

It's not long then before our heroes are given their initial trial by fire - McNally and Shaw respond to shots fired at an apartment building where they and the rest of 15 Division stumble upon various threads, from a child that's been left alone to an undercover sting gone south. It's all fairly boilerplate stuff with the bulk of it revolving around Andy's potential beaus: Sam Swarek (Ben Bass), a smug undercover officer who's none too pleased about her blowing up his case, and Luke Callaghan (Eric Johnson), a helpful homicide detective who's investigating a cop killing from a previous rookie class. Ultimately the aforementioned cases are closed and the prerequisite sequence in which everyone returns home/raises a beer in celebration of surviving their first day kicks in.

What works: I get what the show is going for - "Grey's Anatomy" done as a cop show - but...

What doesn't: ...boy does it come across as needlessly hapless and silly. Andy and company don't appear to have any training at all, police or otherwise. Whether it be drawing their guns, using their radios or delivering commands to suspects, all of the above escapes them by wide margins. They're not rookies, they're rookies in blinking text, underlined with an exclamation point as the bad guys literally run circles around them. Even worse, all of the above is delivered without a sense of humor or a shade of quirkiness making it all feel rather ridiculous. While it's certainly not aiming for gritty realism (a la "Southland"), a healthy dose of believability never hurt anyone.

Not helping matters is how everyone behaves like teenagers, from their dialogue (Andy, while leaving the crime scene: "You work out of headquarters?" Luke: "No, I'm the lead investigator on the Zoe Martinelli task force, have been for two years." Andy: "Cool.") to their actions (Dov and Gail argue over who should have to strip search a transgendered woman, and yes, you did just read that) or general ineptitude (Dov's major concern: whether or not he can take his gun home with him). And while we learn a few character traits about each of them by the end of the hour (somebody's sleeping with somebody! somebody's got a kid!) none of it really pops.

The bottom line: I hate to go to this well so early, but it's on during the summer for a reason.

  [november 2023]  


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