Given the current climate and how it relates to the world of The Rookie, there was a lot to unpack on The Rookie Season 3 Episode 3.
Since the series revolves around patrol officers, it’s difficult to address what’s been happening in our police force without making cops appear to be on the right side of everything.
On the one hand, you can’t make all your characters villains, or there wouldn’t be much of a show. On the other, you can’t have a cop show that ignores or excuses the racism that has become so ingrained in law enforcement officers.
Much to my surprise, The Rookie found a way to thread the needle.
Stanton tackling an innocent man only because he was black like the suspect was a scene that was hard to watch play out. There was no reason for him to pull his gun or even arrest the man in the first place, and the situation only escalated.
It was impossible not to feel angry or to shout at your television screen during the encounter. A mom screaming for her son with a loaded pistol pointed at her face is an image that won’t leave viewers’ minds anytime soon.
What was worse was the helplessness everyone felt in the situation. The man’s family was unable to do anything other than beg while they watched their loved one’s life be threatened by someone who is paid by the state to protect its citizens.
Jackson was clearly uncomfortable during the entire exchange, but with Stanton waving his gun at anyone who moved, he wasn’t able to take control of the situation or calm down his training officer. And he shouldn’t have to.
We’re arresting the whole family? Even the grandmother? Are you serious?
It’s a situation that never should have happened. Jackson never should have been in a position where he had to choose between disobeying his training officer and saving innocent lives.
Thankfully, Tim and Lucy showed up at the scene and Tim talked Stanton down. It probably helped that Tim was white, but he was also the superior officer and Stanton acknowledged that the decision of whether or not to make the arrest was left up to him.
Tim did his best to make up for Stanton’s actions and apologized profusely to the family. But an apology isn’t enough to make up for what went down.
Despite telling off Stanton, Tim isn’t completely innocent. It seemed fitting that his comment from The Rookie Season 3 Episode 2 would carry over into the next installment. While Tim isn’t a racist, and he does stand up for what’s right in the moment, that doesn’t mean he isn’t part of the problem.
Not only did he brush off Jackson’s concerns about Stanton, but he also advised that Jackson simply ignore Stanton’s racism and focus on what else he could learn from him.
Clearly, this was a flawed point of view.
Given Tim’s enlightened attitude about most political issues, it was a bit surprising that he was so quick to give Stanton a pass. But, that’s reflective of real life. The Rookie needed to use a character as beloved as Tim to prove that even “good” cops add to the problem.
If good cops ignore the bad things they see, do good cops even exist, at all?
Rather than making the entire LAPD perfect angels who band together to fight one bad apple, the series acknowledged that they are all bad apples to an extent.
Lucy is often able to get through to Tim in a way that others can’t, and after her obvious disappointment in him, Tim realizes that he’s in the wrong.
Lucy: Stanton is a racist.
Tim: You don’t know that for sure.
Lucy: Uh, yeah. Actually, I do. But you’re right. Let’s just make excuses for him.
When Jackson complains to Sergeant Grey about Stanton’s actions, Tim voices his support. However, all it does is get Stanton put on desk duty, which isn’t the result Jackson was hoping for.
The argument between Jackson and Sergeant Grey is something that I didn’t expect. Grey may be hard on his officers, but it’s usually because he wants them to do their jobs right. But it just goes to show how flawed the system is, and how hard it is to make real change.
Jackson was the real MVP of the episode, and he wasn’t going to back down from doing the right thing. Even though the way he addressed his superiors could land him in loads of trouble, it was important that he made sure his voice was heard.
Tim: I’ve been making excuses for pricks like Stanton my entire life. I figured there was no changing him so I let it go. I gave him a pass.
Jackson: But it wasn’t a pass! You gave him permission. Silence is complicity, sir.
Tim: Yeah. I get that now.
Despite his plans to retire, Grey had a lot to contemplate after his conversation with Jackson.
After hearing about Stanton, it became clear to him how much work needs to be done. Yet, throughout his time as sergeant, he hasn’t changed a single thing he set out to.
What’s the point in being in a position of authority if you don’t use it to make a difference?
Grey: When I joined the department I told myself to do whatever you need to do to survive, get a promotion, then make some real change.
Luna: And now you’re about to retire.
Grey: And I didn’t change a damn thing.
Luna: Okay. What are you gonna do about it?
We can’t imagine The Rookie without Sergeant Grey, so we have our fingers crossed that this will inspire Grey to stay with the LAPD and use his power for good.
Lucy beating Tim in the shooting contest when he finally thought he’d get first place was all too satisfying. Can we also talk about how he placed a bet that she would win?
Nolan took more of a backseat this episode, which was a bit refreshing. Nolan is a good protagonist, but The Rookie has such an incredible cast that we can’t help but enjoy when the focus shifts to other characters.
Nolan’s scenes with his mom were fun to watch. Plus, her contact name being “momster” was hilariously creative.
It didn’t seem possible for Angela to get even more badass than before, but she’s killing it as a detective. The dialogue between her and La Fiera held a lot of weight, and it got us thinking about how Angela’s priorities are going to change once her child is born.
The relationship between Lucy and Tamara is a bit frustrating at times. It’s hard to see a character as kind as Lucy get taken advantage of by someone so unappreciative. However, Tamara finally seems to be opening up, so hopefully, this will be a turning point for the two of them.
Over to you, TV Fanatics! What did you think of “La Fiera”? Hit the comments section down below and let us know!
And don’t forget that if you missed the episode you can watch The Rookie online right here at TV Fanatic.
The Rookie airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.
Rachel Foertsch is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.