Police Drama ‘The Rookie’ Reminds Major Character of Privilege: ‘You’re a White Man’

From the premiere of the third season, ABC’s The Rookie wants to motivate the police politically.

In the January 3 episode “Consequences,” the main character John Nolan (Nathan Fillion), a rookie cop, finds himself in a heap of legal trouble after being framed by Detective Nick Armstrong (Harold Perrineau). But John’s attorney Wesley (Shawn Ashmore) quickly reminds John that he’s being treated better because of his race:

Wesley: Nolan? Do you understand? Nolan.

John: what?

Wesley: Technically, you’re not under arrest. You cooperate. But if you are not free to go beyond a short term, that constitutes an arrest and starts the clock. DA will have 72 hours to present their case against you.

John: Yeah, I know – I know that.

Wesley: Of course. But I also know that you are in shock and that you need to concentrate. If you get convicted, you will see 25 years why you have to let me do all the talking. One mistake, one poorly chosen word and you go to jail.

John: But we don’t have to play it that way. The truth is on my side.

Wesley: And you think that means something? [ Scoffs ] If you were any other defendant –

John: what?

Wesley: Never mind.

John: No, I want to know. If I were another defendant, what?

Wesley: You are a white man. A policeman. You have already been treated with a level of deference my other clients would never receive. If you were black or tan, the police would have created an emergency and kicked the door, shot you if they believed you had reacted aggressively, arrested you if you had surrendered, confident that the prosecutor would have you on a plea would bully.

John: That’s not fair. I am not that kind of cop. Not gray either.

Wesley: Are you telling me you never broke the rules?

John: Not like that.

Wesley: Look, you have a chance to survive this because you are. But only if you do exactly what I say.

This scene was very purposeful. Entertainment Weekly quickly released a recap of the episode, which had a discussion with show artist Alexi Hawley, who described the scene as “incredibly necessary” and said that it “probably wouldn’t have existed in the form it would have without the move.” ”

Hawley admitted that the conversation focused on:

how Nolan’s experience is different from many others. In particular, Wesley’s customers of color. Being a white cop had a profound impact on the way they interacted with him and the way they interacted with other people who didn’t look like him.

The broadcast telegraphed in an article published last month in Entertainment Weekly: “The Black Lives Matter Movement that exploded after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.”

The show stands ready to address these issues as outlined in a “Scripted Police Series and Its Impact on Culture” panel that featured Hawley and Fillion, as well as other The Rookie producers and cast members, along with representatives from the Breaking Barriers United and Color The organizations Change.

Color of Change was also mentioned in another December article on The Rookie by The Hollywood Reporter, “How a Writer’s Room Rethinks Policing on TV.” The organization released a 153-page report earlier last year called “Normalizing Injustice,” labeled the THR “pretty damned” and described it as a report that “describes the myriad ways the medium has subtly and openly undermined racial equality – at the top of the list.” In 2020, Color of Change’s Hollywood arm spent the year guiding writers, producers, and executives through their insights. “

THR noted that Kristen Marston, the organization’s director of culture and entertainment, “has consulted more than 100 television series on issues facing black Americans,” and is quoted as saying, “What we see on TV affects the way and way of how we vote. ” The way we react to people, and even the way we either believe Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization or not. These things are so fundamentally important. “

Color for Change was also mentioned in the Salt Lake Tribune’s coverage of The Rookie, “Trying to Be Another Police Show in the Age of Black Lives Matter”.

And lest no one believe this was just a storyline for The Rookie, Terence Paul Winter, executive producer and writer, mentioned that they “can’t do a specific episode that makes us feel good about and ends up resolving racism.” the next week back to our usual business. We want to change things as long as we can do this show. “

The viewers get used to it better.

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