The end of season 3 of The Good Doctor has given me a bit of capacity to write about something else. So I thought I’d give The Rookie a go, for a couple of weeks at least. As I said at the end of the first season I was, specifically because of the loss of Afton Williamson, more than a little concerned about how things might go: as well as what it might say about the culture of the show, she was an excellent member of the cast. And my worries increased when we were introduced to Nolan’s new training officer, Nyla Harper (Mekia Cox), who seemed at first to be the sort of aggressively difficult character that The Rookie really doesn’t need. She settled down, though, and while Williamson is still missed, as far as I’m concerned the show is ticking over nicely.
This week’s episode is typical, and typically enjoyable, with each of the rookies given the task of following up on a dormant investigation. So Jackson and Lopez look into the theft of a hideous statue from a garden in an affluent area: suspects, everyone, including the wife of the man who bought the statue. Nolan and Harper have a robbery/homicide, in which a shopkeeper was shot. And Bradford and Chen are given perhaps the trickiest case: a young man out of prison is working in a bakery and trying to get out of gang life, but his former associates are determined that he’ll launder dirty money for them. Keeping him both out of trouble, and alive, looks like an impossible circle to square. Sergeant Grey (the terrific Richard T. Jones) tells Bradford that it’s the sort of difficult call he’ll need to make when he’s a sergeant himself: yes, Bradford has passed the sergeant exam, a favourite device of every American cop show I’ve ever seen.
Nolan’s personal life, meantime, is becoming complicated: not only does he invite Dr Grace Sawyer (Ali Larter) over to his new house for dinner, he suddenly discovers that his estranged father has died, leaving him a legacy in the shape of a car. And that he has a half-brother, Pete. Pete is played by Pete Davidson, who is actually quite good, but kind of feels as if he’s maybe wandered in from another show. He then wanders out again with exotic dancer Chastity, played quite charmingly by Meg DeLacy.
But there’s another reason for liking The Rookie. For most of the show’s run I’ve been enjoying, in a kind of low-key way, the taut but undeniable chemistry between Chen and Bradford, while coming to terms with the unlikelihood of any sort of romantic connection: Bradford regards his duties as a TO as sacred; and Chen, of course, gave up her relationship with Nolan because of the complications involved in dating a fellow officer. (It should be acknowledged in passing that Chen and Nolan’s graceful transition from lovers to friends is very much to The Rookie’s credit.) After episodes 10 and 11 of this season, though, in which Chen is abducted by a serial killer, throwing Bradford into a state of terror, I am unashamedly shipping Chen and Bradford VERY HARD INDEED. I don’t care that they work together, or that he supervises her. I am ALL ABOUT THE #CHENFORD. (And if you want reasons why you should be too, I recommend this on ShipRecced.)
And so this week, Grey pulls a few strings and ensures that Bradford is offered the chance to transfer to another division as Sergeant. In two weeks. Chen looks suitably shocked. Two weeks! At the end of the episode Chen puts a brave face on it. “North Hollywood”, she tells Bradford, “is lucky to have a sergeant like you coming in”. But Bradford tells Chen that he’s turned the offer down. “Tim Bradford finishes what he starts. I haven’t finished training you yet.” Beat. “No, you haven’t”, murmurs Chen. No, indeed he hasn’t. And how her “training” might be “finished” is something which is going to consume me for the next few weeks.