September 13, 2013



ROOKIE BLUE did a solid job of wrapping up its fourth season and setting up cliffhangers for Season 5 (already ordered) with last night’s episode.  Although the Grey’s Anatomy-with-guns police soap has never had the level of success as its medical forebear, it’s been a steady summer performer for ABC, and this season successfully saw it weather some changes, including the introduction of new regulars.

The season finale, written by co-creator Tassie Cameron and directed by David Wellington, brought to a close the storyline about a suspected child molester that had been brewing for most of the season, as the somewhat unbalanced investigation by bipolar officer Marlo Cruz (Rachael Ancheril)–she has the Carrie Mathison version of the disease, requiring obsessive surveillance of her suspect and lots of frenzied charts on her walls–caused him to launch a series of attacks on 15 Division’s cops.  (Marlo realized toward the end that it had actually been her suspect’s brother who’d abducted the child.)  That resulted in Chloe (Priscilla Faia) shot in the neck, Oliver (Matt Gordon) abducted, and a climactic shoot-out in the precinct station that found Sam (Ben Bass) as the center of the episode’s major cliffhanger, undergoing major surgery.  (Barring a contract dispute, he’s likely to survive.)

All this targeted violence also pulled together the season’s romantic intrigues,  as Dov (Gregory Fisher) agonized over Chloe’s fate after discovering that she was actually married to an officer in her old precinct (who wouldn’t consent to a surgery for her, and by the episode’s end wouldn’t even let Dov into the hospital room), Gail (Charlotte Sullivan) publicly acknowledged her new Sapphic love for medical examiner Holly (Aliyah O’Brien) and Oliver settled in with his Wiccan girlfriend Celery (the best character name on the air, played by Emily Hampshire).  In the end, though, all romance on Rookie Blue comes back to the never-ending saga of Andy (Missy Peregrym) and Sam, and his shooting appeared to prompt another go-round for the two of them next season and the end of her seemingly content relationship with Nick (Peter Mooney), because despite all there was to be said for him, he wasn’t The One.

Rookie Blue is a smooth piece of work, and this season it efficiently shuttled regulars Diaz (Travis Milne) and Williams (Michelle Nicholls-King) out for chunks of time while incorporating the newcomers for some variety.  The cast has a comfortable fit, and the series nicely balances its soapy aspects with procedural storylines and a decent dose of character-based humor.  One might wish that Andy and Sam could resolve themselves one way or another, but that’s not the way of these series.

Rookie Blue‘s 0.9-1.0 ratings aren’t anything to get excited about (although it scores better with older audiences, with about 4M total viewers per week).  The phenomenon of Under the Dome aside, though, its numbers are quite decent for a network summer drama, and it’s been one of the very few scripted summer series on any network to keep a reliable following.  The ensemble format also allows the show to hold cast costs down if the show reaches the point of renegotiated deals.  It’s already lasted long enough that its “rookie” heroes are that in name only, and with its success inside its limited universe, it should be able to keep them on the force with an eye to becoming veterans.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."