Is Officer Lucy Chen cut out for undercover work?
She was certainly excited about the prospect as she and Officer Bradford worked security at the California Covert Operations Association convention on The Rookie Season 3 Episode 6.
And wouldn’t that be a cop’s worst nightmare to have a criminal organization infiltrate a convention all about sharing the trade secrets of undercover work?
But back to our question…
Lucy is young, with an inherent air of innocence about her, which is why most people underestimate her strength as both a person and a cop.
It’s also why she’d probably be fantastic as an undercover operative; the odds are on her side that no one would suspect her of being a cop.
Lucy has always looked up to Nyla Harper, so hearing even a small snippet of her Women Undercover seminar had Lucy curious.
Women make up only 12% of law enforcement, but they are attacked almost twice as often as male officers, and yet, male officers are three times more likely to fire their weapons, they are three times more likely to get injured while on duty, and they make up 95% of citizen complaints. Which begs the question, are women just better cops? Oh, you better believe it.
Harper has challenged Lucy in the past but also helped her realize that the things she needs to learn as a female police officer can be slightly different from their male counterparts. Harper also quickly figured out that Chen is much tougher than she appears, so it makes sense that Lucy looks upon her as a mentor.
And even Lucy admitted that she wanted Bradford’s approval, Harper never chastised her for it. She didn’t see it as a weakness at all, and that only served to build Lucy’s confidence in her own feelings and instincts.
But I will admit that throwing a rookie into the deep end of an undercover drug buy as a chemist with special knowledge of making liquid fentanyl seems like a death sentence.
That Lucy was able to pull it off proves she’s a quick study and can think on her feet, but it still feels unnecessarily reckless, making Bradford’s anger justified.
They know the Gladiator cage you’re walking into. You don’t. That’s not volunteering; that’s being used
Outside of work, I worried when Lucy blew off Tamara’s interview and then rescheduled for the following night. So many things could have gone wrong during that undercover op that could have kept Lucy from being there, and trust is a big deal for a kid like Tamara.
But not only did Lucy come through, she brought Officers Harper and Zhang along for a group interview with both thoughtful and hilarious results.
Tamara: Women have been cops in the LAPD for over 100 years now, but does it still feel like you have to act like a man to fit in?
Chen: I think, I think fitting in is a trap. I’ve been sitting between two of the best cops in the state who had to navigate an avalanche of obstacles just to get to the mountain top. They didn’t do it by trying to fit in. They did it by, you know, by being stronger, smarter, more agile. They had to to navigate a system that still believes that being a girl is inherently soft or weak, as though empathy is somehow a liability. There isn’t a guy on the force who can do what these guys can do, and there sure as hell isn’t anyone tougher.
Lucy was right. She doesn’t need to fit in, and there’s no way for a young woman to fit in with the old boys’ network in law enforcement.
But Lucy Chen is as strong and as smart as they come. How many other cops could have looked a serial killer in the eye while they locked the lid on that barrel and not flinched? Or written out chemical equations while conversing with a drug dealer in another language with a gun pointed at their head?
Lucy needs to forge her own path because she deserves to be there as much as anyone.
Speaking of fitting in, Nolan was finding that difficult at college.
Did Nolan have an ethical obligation to tell his classmates he was a police officer? Do any of us have an obilgation to reveal to complete strangers what we do for a living?
The easy answer is no, but I can see how being a cop can change the conversation in an Ethics and Criminal Law class. Still, I don’t blame Nolan for not wanting to deal with the backlash.
But was Bradford right? Does Nolan now have to sit in the back of the class and watch the door? Does he have to be vigilant because his classmates will know he’s probably carrying an off-duty weapon and may have anti-police bias?
Nolan: I can’t live my life like that, always being suspicious of people, seeing the world as dangerous.
Bradford: The world is dangerous. Being vigilant is the price of admission.
As much as I wish I could agree with Nolan, he’s being naive. He’s a cop, and it is a dangerous world. In some ways, everyone needs to be vigilant, but a police officer even more so, even when they aren’t on the job.
Bradford had his own issues with old friend, Officer Mack Daniels, now an oxy addict.
Tim has been to hell and back with his ex-wife Isabel’s drug use, and he’s got a long list of regrets. So when it came to Daniels’ overdosing on pills, he wasn’t going to let that slide, even if it was a fellow cop.
Cops have to be held to a higher standard. Anything less, all hell breaks loose.
Tim was right to question all of the ways Daniels may have abused his power to get those drugs and hide his addiction.
But Daniel’s wife was furious, and I suppose that is to be expected. Not justified, but expected. Losing Daniels’ job and pension could cripple her family financially. It’s easier to blame Bradford for not covering for her husband than it is to blame the man for lying, cheating, and scoring drugs illegally.
Finally, Jackson was working back at the Community Policing Center, and I’m glad that they are revisiting this storyline instead of dropping it.
Smitty was pretty useless at the center. Of course, Smitty is the kind of person that does the least amount possible just to get by, no matter what the assignment, so this wasn’t a surprise.
But Jackson is great at community policing. He listens, he empathizes, and he looks for solutions.
A lot of cops would have dismissed Silas, but Jackson didn’t. He took Silas’ work in that journal seriously and used it to help the neighborhood.
And when Silas got hurt, he didn’t shrug his shoulders and write up a report, much like Smitty probably would have done. Jackson investigated and found the man who attacked him.
As an added bonus, he also may have found a new boyfriend. Not only do Jackson and Isaac make a cute couple, but they both understand the stress of the job, so I’m all for seeing this relationship continue.
Besides, someone on this show besides Angela and Wesley, who were absent this episode, needs a personal life. It might as well be Jackson.
Now it’s your turn, TV Fanatics?
Should Nolan have told his class he was a police officer?
Was Bradford right to bust Officer Daniels’ even though he let Isabel off the hook for far longer?
Do you want to see Jackson and Isaac start dating?
Who else needs a personal life on The Rookie?
And should Lucy pursue undercover work?
Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button down below to tell us what you think. And don’t forget, you can watch The Rookie online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.