‘Rookie’ mistake: a generic cop show
One of the most tired plots on every cop drama ever made is the rookie plot. Some newbie comes on the job, and some smug, hard-bitten veteran inevitably shows this “Bambi’’ the ways of the street. Rookie mistakes are made, lessons are learned, first days are finished with whiskey shots at the local bar.
The brilliant idea behind ABC’s new cop drama “Rookie Blue’’ is to give us the rookie plot over and over again, all summer long. The series, which premieres tonight at 9 on Channel 5, follows five newbies as they hit the beat and get tangled up in shootings, overdoses, and domestic squabbles. They are as earnest and green as they are pretty, as they struggle to get comfortable carrying guns and shouting commands into car radios. But we know they have guts underneath their spotless uniforms, and — spoiler alert — we know they’re going to make it after all.
Missy Peregrym stars as Andy McNally, who spends her first day botching a drug bust. The cast also features Gregory Smith from “Everwood,’’ but he and the other rookies, including familiar types played by Eric Johnson and Enuka Okuma, are peripheral to Peregrym. She’s the character who gets taken hostage by a frightened kid with a gun. She’s the one whose father is a cop who likely has unreal expectations of her. It’s the central Meredith Grey role, although comparing “Rookie Blue’’ to “Grey’s Anatomy’’ is a disservice to the latter, no matter how played-out it may be.
I wondered why “Rookie Blue’’ would use the word “blue’’ in the title, begging comparisons to “NYPD Blue.’’ After I saw the premiere, though, I thought maybe the makers of the show are hoping we’ll make the connection and assume the series is set in New York. This is a Canadian production filmed in Toronto, and the nameless city in which it’s set feels as blandly generic as the characters. There’s absolutely no texture in the world of “Rookie Blue,’’ no effort to make it seem like anything more than a routine hour of TV. And who needs that? After decades of layered series such as “Homicide,’’ “The Shield,’’ and “NYPD Blue,’’ we’re no longer rookie viewers.