This fall, as ABC prepares to unveil shiny new procedural drama The Rookie, comparisons to ABC’s other long-running cop show, Castle, are already underway, bolstered by the fact this new show also stars Castle’s Nathan Fillion, and was created by Castle Showrunner Alexi Hawley.
The Rookie follows John Nolan, one of three ill-prepared police officers as they begin work on their first day at the LAPD. Each is monitored by a seasoned training officer as they learn to navigate the messy and complicated streets of LA with varying degrees of success.
Knowing ABC has been searching for a Castle replacement following Stana Katic’s fraught departure, and the implosion of plans for a ninth season of the long-running and highly successful show, there is a palpable feeling among critics (and we’re sure ABC TV execs too) that The Rookie could just be it, especially as recent contenders Deception and Take Two failed to make much of an impression on audiences this summer.
But are the comparisons justified? How similar is The Rookie’s principal character John Nolan to his Castle counterpart?
At first glance, the comparisons seem spot on. John Nolan is funny, likeable, at times irreverent, and always charming. However, having screened the pilot a couple of times over the summer (the first official reviewable episode was made available to press today so look out for our official review coming soon), we can attest to some striking differences between two characters, who on the surface, appear to be cut from the same cloth.
Surprisingly, It’s those differences that make The Rookie stand out in an over-crowded playing field of Castle wannabes.
It’s also what earned it a spot on our Top 5 Fall TV Shows list this year.
Just a Small Town Guy
John Nolan is at a low point in his life when we meet him first. Just divorced from his wife Sarah, and with their only kid now in college, Nolan has spent the last 20 years working construction, having dropped out of college, and given up any chance of pursuing his dreams after Sarah became unexpectedly pregnant.
Although John lives in an apartment with a view to die for, we soon learn he’s renting it from his successful former college roommate.
In short, Nolan’s existence is far from Richard Castle’s luxurious apartment, lavish lifestyle, and successful career.