May 24, 2013

THE SKED Season Premiere Review: “Rookie Blue”


It’s no small thing to be a scripted success on the broadcast networks during the summer, and while it’s never been a breakout hit, the fact that the Canadian series ROOKIE BLUE has made it to a 4th season on ABC is impressive in itself.  Its modest, accomplished mix of police procedural and soap is dependably well-cast and well-written–at least enough for summer TV.

Tonight’s Season 4 premiere, written by series co-creator Tassie Cameron and directed by David Wellington, picked up 6 months after last season left off.  We’d last seen Andy (Missy Peregrym) and Nick (Peter Mooney), sometime romantic interests of Sam (Ben Bass) and Gail (Charlotte Sullivan), disappear abruptly to take on an undercover assignment to catch some low-level meth dealers.  They’ve been on that detail ever since, pretending to be a couple (apparently without getting romantically involved themselves), but when we join them, the senior task force commander has decided to stir things up, in the hope that higher-level distributors will enter the picture, by staging a robbery of the dealers.  That, however, just makes them paranoid, and suspicion falls on Andy and Nick, with the usual potentially deadly consequences until Sam shows up with the cavalry.  With most of the episode devoted to that storyline, the show saved its big soap reveal for the end:  the not-entirely-shocking fact that since TV love can never run smooth, in Andy’s absence Sam has found a new love in his life, Officer Marlo Cruz (new regular Rachael Ancheril).  Plus:  dopey but goodhearted Chris (Travis Milne), who discovered last season that his former girlfriend had borne his child, and who’d applied for a transfer to a rural outpost because the mother didn’t want to live in Toronto, got the news that his transfer had been approved.

Rookie Blue was routinely described as Grey’s Anatomy with guns when it debuted (and as with Grey’s, its rookie cops are now fairly experienced), and while it rarely surprises, it provides a very solid blend of action and romance.  The characters are distinctive, and the actors (also including Gregory Smith and Enuka Okuma as part of the rookie group, and Matt Gordon and Lyriq Bent as more senior cops) have charm and good chemistry, the better to root for their various romantic battles, and the ability to put some comic spin on their familiar situations.  The scripts feature their share of crimes solved through convenient intuition (it figured that Sam would deduce where Andy was when the drug task force couldn’t), and twists readable 10 minutes before they happen, but they try to include some personality–it was a nice touch tonight that the meth kingpin, when he appeared, was more a tired businessman than a gangster.

It’s harder to smoothly pull off the routine than it gets credit for being, and Rookie Blue makes it look fairly effortless.  The show might not be able to stand up to regular season competition (although then again, maybe these days it could), but it’s deservedly thrived in the summer.  For one hour each week, at least, it provides something worth watching that isn’t on cable.


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."