I had something else planned. This was going to be a quick post to say that The Rookie had become one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2018/19 season: I expected a Nathan Fillion vehicle, and I got it, but what I hadn’t anticipated was that good writing and an excellent supporting cast would turn the show into much more of an ensemble piece. Like Unpopcult favourite 9-1-1, it’s a show about decent people (mostly) trying to do their best in difficult circumstances, and every now and again it packs a solid emotional punch. Looking forward to season 2, I was going to say; and some particular praise for Afton Williamson and Eric Winter, both combining intensity and humanity in their roles as training officers.
And then… well. Last week Williamson announced that she was leaving the show. Uh-oh, I thought; there’s probably another shoe to drop. And, sure enough, Williamson has now clarified that she quit because of racial and sexual harassment, and the unsatisfactory response of the show’s hierarchy – specifically show runner Alexi Hawley – to her complaint about both. (It should be said that the racial harassment came from the show’s “hair department”, per Williamson, and the sexual harassment is alleged to have come from a “recurring guest star”, rather than any of the show’s regular cast or crew. I can think of two obvious candidates, and a third possible, but it would be unfair to name names.)
The production studio now claims to be investigating Williamson’s allegations, and it can be said with certainty that we haven’t heard the last about all of this. As ever, I don’t pretend to know the truth, although it might reasonably be said that there would be little obvious reason for Williamson to walk away from a gig of this nature unless the working environment were, indeed, toxic. So I’ll just say that (a) there are one or two people here, not necessarily accused of any personal impropriety themselves, who need to speak up; (b) this is a huge loss to the show, because Williamson was close to being the MVP; (c) I now wonder whether s2 will actually happen; and (d) this sort of shit is why we can’t have nice things.