After Nick Armstrong is outed as a dirty cop, the LAPD looks to make changes on The Rookie Season 3 Episode 2.
But are those changes real or just surface-level adjustments meant to give the impression of positive change?
That all depends upon the cop in question.
When you are talking about Officer John Nolan, there’s no question his heart is in the right place. Nolan’s desire to help is practically ingrained in his DNA, but that doesn’t mean he gets it right.
Nolan has lived most, if not all, of his life in a safe, mostly white, middle-class neighborhood, and that’s the lens through which he sees the world.
That’s what made this storyline somewhat predictable, Still, I can’t say it wasn’t entertaining as Nolan immediately tried to fix problems that he had no foundation for understanding, like the reason why the park was locked.
Every time Nolan tried to make things better, James pushed back because he saw how Nolan’s actions could possibly lead to something worse.
This neighborhood views cops as part of the problem, not the solution, and Nolan’s desire to swoop in and rescue it should be met with serious challenges, some of which he shouldn’t win.
Harper: You can’t come at this like you are some kind of savior.
Nolan: You mean white savior. Look, that’s the last thing I’m trying to be but what am I supposed to do? How can I be an ally to the people that live here?
Harper: Stop pretending like you know what they need and just ask.
Harper wants to help as much as Nolan, but she’s more realistic about what they can do and how the community sees them.
Harper was ready for James to turn their conversation into a lecture about how police should live within the communities they represent and had a valid argument for why she didn’t.
Harper was able to point out that living in the same neighborhood where she was a cop could make her and her family a target.
What impressed me was that she was able to have that debate without being argumentative or defensive, and in having that conversation, she appeared to make some headway with James.
But real change won’t come quickly or easily, and Jackson had to swallow that bitter pill when he realized the way his new training officer views the people he’s paid to serve and protect.
As horrified as Jackson was by Stanton’s treatment of the family who had been robbed, he still went to Tim and asked him if Doug’s rationale had any merit.
Bradford gave Jackson some background on Stanton, which could explain how he became the cop he is, but that doesn’t make his behavior okay.
Understanding the origins of racism does not justify or excuse it.
What was most disturbing was that Bradford repeated that he believed Stanton was a “solid cop” and that Jackson should ignore the officer’s bigoted views and bad behavior to get through the next 24 days of his training.
How is Jackson supposed to interpret that? If officers that Jackson respects, such as Tim, can view a cop who looks upon crime victims as criminals because of the color of their skin, how much hope is there for real change?
If everyone just looks the other way, then how will anything ever change?
During much of The Rookie Season 2, Jackson West felt like he was relegated to being Angela’s sidekick, Lucy’s roommate, or navigating his own boyfriend trouble.
If the promo for next week is any indication, then I’m thrilled that Jackson appears to be in the middle of a weighty plot concerning how the department either accepts racist cops or makes it clear the belief and behavior is unacceptable.
This could be a rough road for Jackson, but I’m entirely on board because it has the possibility of being the best story of the season.
Elsewhere, Angela faced her first day as a detective, and I felt for her.
Anyone who has been pregnant can empathize with how sometimes, literally overnight, your clothes suddenly don’t fit. It can really shake your confidence, and Angela had to deal with it while trying to make a kick-ass first impression.
But nothing stops Angela Lopez, not a pregnancy she feels she has to hide or a dead body she can’t identify because it’s been burnt to ash.
What worked in Angela’s favor is that she is smart and observant, and the man she arrested was just plain dumb. But you take the wins where you can get them.
Finally, we get to Lucy and Tim.
It’s Lucy’s final 25 days of training, and no one expected Tim to make it easy on her, and yet despite his tests and challenges, it still feels like we’re seeing a softer side of Tim Bradford.
Is that because Lucy has proven how tough she is? Is it because these two are now as much friends as colleagues?
Whatever the reason, the vibe between Lucy and Tim has subtly changed. Tim is more understanding, even when he’s giving her a hard time, while Lucy doesn’t hesitate to tease.
Chen: On what?
Bradford: On your first puppy. Every rookie adopts a puppy at some point. Someone they think they can save. Honestly, I’m surprised it took you this long.
Chen: Did you have a puppy?
Bradford: That’s not relevant here.
I hope we get the backstory on Tim’s “puppy” someday, even though it sounds like the interaction didn’t end well.
Hopefully, we’ll see more of Tamara as well because I’d hate to think that she’d just drive off with Lucy’s beloved car, and we’d never hear from her again.
So what do you think TV Fanatics?
Do you want to see more of Nolan and Harper at the community center?
Does Jackson calling out his new T.O.’s rascist attitude have the potential to be the storyline of the season?
How long do you think Angela can keep her pregnancy a secret?
And have things changed between Lucy and Tim?
Hit that big, blue, SHOW COMMENTS button down below to let us know what you think, then check back in for our review of The Rookie Season 3 Episode 3. And don’t forget, you can watch The Rookie online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.