TV Review: Confident Veterans Elevate ABC’s ‘Rookie Blue’

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CHICAGO – Can it still be called “Rookie Blue” in its fourth season? Should they change it to “Experienced Blue”? The irony of the fourth season premiere of ABC’s strong Summer hit, a Canadian import like “Flashpoint” and “Motive,” is that the reason it works is because the cast seems so comfortable in these roles. They’re far more entertaining, likable, and believable than a lot of modern cop shows and I think it’s the people, not the situations, that has made “Rookie Blue” a hit. Television Rating: 3.0/5.0
Television Rating: 3.0/5.0

At the end of season three, Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym) and Nick Collins (Peter Mooney) headed off on a long undercover job while the relationship between Andy and Sam (Ben Bass) seems to be over. The premiere focuses not only on Andy and Nick’s drug-ring infiltration but the idea that these characters are moving on, growing up, becoming anything but rookies. When their undercover op blows up in their face, Andy and Nick are stuck in a life-threatening situation that just happens to cross paths with a case just picked up by their old team.

Rookie Blue
Rookie Blue
Photo credit: ABC

“Rookie Blue” doesn’t break any molds and I found the familiarity of the show and its genre trappings a bit too much to bear in previous seasons. So I was surprised at the relative tightness and entertainment value of the fourth season premiere. I think it’s largely due to the growth of the cast and the writers’ ability to craft believable scenarios for them. No longer merely the cliches of rookies dealing with dangerous jobs, they feel more three-dimensional than in past season, buoyed not only by more confident writing but more confident performances.

The leader of this confident cast if Peregrym, a scene-stealer on the too-short-lived “Reaper” who has turned into quite an engaging lead here. There aren’t a lot of cop shows driven by female characters but Andy is a strong protagonist. She’s helped by the fact that most of the supporting cast has gotten more interesting over the years as well.

It’s still a show that falls short of the best of recent cop shows (“The Shield,” “Southland”) largely because of the lack of actual tension. Even in this week’s premiere, the stakes feel artificial and not built around the real grit that elevates most of the best cop shows. So, “Rookie Blue” is a little more of a light shade of the color than dark, it’s still a perfectly pleasant, enjoyable one for the Summer season.

“Rookie Blue” stars Missy Peregrym, Gregory Smith, Charlotte Sullivan, Enuka Okuma, Travis Milne, Peter Mooney, Ben Bass, Priscilla Faia, and Rachael Ancheril. It premieres on ABC on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9pm CST. content director Brian Tallerico

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