Rookie Blue: Season 2
From the perspective of the television network executive one type of program that has a better than average chance of making it on to broadcast lineup is the police procedural action series. Since the inception of the dominance of that glowing screen in our living rooms I cannot find evidence of a single season that was devoid of at least one example of such a show in evidence. Forty years ago there was a rather popular series following the exploits of a group of probationary police offices in Los Angles, ‘The Rookies’. A couple of seasons ago the premise was revised and transposed north of our borders to Canada but the idea remains the same ‘Rookie Blue’. While most TV series tend to concentrate on the veteran officers with sharpened intuition garnered over a career of working the streets, this show steps back to watch a tight knit group of newbie offices during their tenuous provisional period. Having a young group of police officers has some definite perks over the traditional older squad. First, everyone has been new to a job at some point in their lives. This permits a much greater potential for the audience to form an understanding with the central characters. The perfection of the expert policeman is replaced by the youthful enthusiasm and the predisposition to mistakes bourn from inexperience. This approach humanizes the cops on the beat to a significant degree. There is also a factor that you do not have to be particularly well versed in demographic analysis to realize that a beautiful young woman or ruggedly handsome man is going to attract more viewers than the saggy pale buttock of a detective past middle age. This holds particularly valid for the exceptionally lucrative twenties age group. Due to the downturn in the economy even Hollywood is feeling the pinch so several television productions have headed north to Canada. There are tax breaks afforded by the government and a wage scale more conducive to financial success. Fortunately for the fans there is also a sizable pool of talented writers, directors and actors fully capable of ensuring a high standard of production. The series has completed its sophomore year reviewed here and received the highly coveted green light for season three.
It is fairly common for most dramatic television series to infuse the methodology of the venerable favorite, the soap opera. While many deride this form of entertainment it is a time honored way of relating an ongoing story. In the case of ‘Rookie Blue’ the soapy constructs are introduced through its central character, Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym). Her love life has little to do with the procedural aspects of the stories but the constant ebb and flow of her romantic life takes up a noteworthy amount of screen time. The relationship with homicide detective Luke Callaghan (Eric Johnson) started off this season on a high note initiated at the end of the first season. They move in together cementing the commitment by purchasing a house together. The happiness encounters some speed bumps when Andy kisses her training officer Sam Swarek (Ben Bass) almost bedding him. That is not the death knell for her relationship with Luke. That comes when after they become engaged he sleeps with his ex partner, Detective Jo Rosati (Camille Sullivan). Andy has to balance this melodrama with the baggage she inherited from her detective father. Family professional expectations are not restricted to her. Follow rookie, the platinum blonde Gail Peck (Charlotte Sullivan) because her mother is a high ranking superintendent. Gail resents the preferential but is more uneasy with the strain that puts on her working with others. She is frequently partnered with the slight build and extremely ambitious Dov Epstein (Gregory Smith). He has a competitive streak that comes out when he and fellow rookie, the dashing Chris Diaz (Travis Milne) are booth viding for the same promotion. He also forms a triangle with Dov and Gail. The final youngling is Traci Nash (Enuka Okuma). She represents the practical and responsible one of the group. A large part of this is due to the fact that she is a single mother.
This series may strive for a modicum of reality but that is pretty much a ship that has sailed. For example the rookies are chosen to go under cover in a warrant sting. They pose as a car dealership giving away a car as a promotional scheme. Actually it is to draw wanted felons in to grab them on outstanding warrents. When one of the targets turns out to be a woman down on her luck financially they break their cover to attempt to help her out. It makes for a heartwarming story but it is hardly an accurate depiction of the life of a rookie. Perhaps they are more lenient to the north of our border.
The acting is very good, perhaps a shade better than a similar show constructed here would be. Also the gritty streets appear to be a lot cleaner than say New York or Chicago. There are subtle differences quantitatively but from a qualitative vantage point the series can hold its own with domestically breed shows. I do tend to prefer a purer approach concentrating on the work rather than the personal lives of the officers. While it is impossible to separate the two ‘Rookie Blue’ has the tendency to place too much emphasis on the hyper active love lives of the principle characters. I’m not suggesting a return to the pure work oriented approach made famous by the Jack Webb productions but certainly a compromise can be reached at some middle ground. Even with that caveat this series has worked its way onto my guilty pleasure list meaning I rarely missed an episode. Ultimately it is fun to watch but you have to adjust your expectations away from the dark and violent faire that has become common place from the genre. this provides a milder form of cop drama but it remains entertaining.