CHICAGO – The legacy of the classic Chicago storefront theater has been celebrated at the Mary-Arrchie Theater Company for over 30 years, so for their final piece of stage craft they’re going out with a proper and gritty production bang, “American Buffalo,” by David Mamet.
TV Review: ‘Rookie Blue’ Will Have to Handcuff Viewers to Keep Them
CHICAGO – The ensemble cop drama has disappeared from the network television landscape as the crimes became more entertaining than the people who solved them on shows like “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation,” “NCIS,” and “Criminal Minds.” After watching ABC’s remarkably generic and cliched “Rookie Blue,” it’s easy to see why.
TV Rating: 1.5/5.0
“We’ve learned how to shoot and fight and drive a police car really fast.” I couldn’t make narration like that up. Even if it is tongue-in-cheek in its over-representation of the rookie class of police officers that make up the ensemble of ABC’s new Thursday night entry, it’s still a great example of why this show doesn’t work — it doesn’t sound like anything anyone would ever say in the real world.
Photo credit: Steve Wilkie/ABC
Neither does Andy’s (Missy Peregrym, so great on the much-better “Reaper”) advice to “fake it till you make it” although that’s essentially what the five police officers of “Rookie Blue” are doing. Did I say police officers? I meant beautiful people in police costumes because that’s all that “Rookie Blue” feels like, never finding genuine characters under the most genetically blessed police squad in the world.
Photo credit: Barbara Cole/ABC
Peregrym gets the lead role as the naive, sweet Andy, an officer caught up in a drug-related shooting on her first day on the job. Her partner makes fun of the fact that she doesn’t know how to turn on the radio and Andy makes a pretty big (but totally understandable) mistake, but she’s clearly a kind soul who will bring warmth to a profession that’s often perceived as pretty cold. She’s easily the most interesting character on the show and Peregrym gives the best performance but even she’s let down by a script that overplays “first day jitters.”
The rest of the cast feels even more generic. Gregory Smith (“Everwood”) and Charlotte Sullivan (“Alice”) fight over who has to search a transgendered suspect. Enuka Okuma (“24”) gets saddled with figuring out why a young boy was left in a crack house (yes, it’s ANOTHER cop show that goes to the most cliched, manipulative well of putting a kid in jeopardy). Finally, the dull Travis Milne is hit on by a hooker trying to get a deal for sharing what she knows about the drug-related shooting. None of the supporting cast has a single, solitary moment that doesn’t feel scripted or cliched.
If a computer program was designed to write a “cop show with a young cast,” it would probably spit out the premiere of “Rookie Blue.” Every element of the production from the eye-rolling dialogue to the cleanliest crack house in the history of drugs rings false.
Fans of “Southland” need not be concerned that the best cop show on TV could be in any jeopardy of losing that title. Last year, ABC tried to bring two cop shows with their own unique personalities to the masses with the underrated “The Unusuals” and “Life on Mars” and now they’ve gone the opposite route with “Rookie Blue” and produced a cop show with no personality at all.