The Rookie Season 6 Episode 1 Review: Strike Back

Reviews, Television News

Finally, some great content!

The Rookie is back with the action, drama, humor, and, truthfully, an occasionally choppy opener with The Rookie Season 6 Episode 1.

But the promise of a season worth devouring is right there for the taking.

Its return has everything we love and appreciate about this series jampacked into the first of a two-part opener that pays homage to the series well.

The Rookie has never shied away from jamming a million things into a single 45-minute installment, so if there is ever a show that feels well-equipped to produce a content-heavy season with half the episodes, it’s them.

Yes, some aspects of the premiere felt choppy. But the strong, action-packed opening carried forward the adrenaline-inducing momentum of The Rookie Season 5 Episode 22.

There are so many moments within this series when it genuinely feels like you’re watching a high-caliber action flick before your eyes.

Nolan was under siege at the Federal Reserve amid a heist, and that explosion that led to a man running around on fire was pure intensity and enough to have you on the edge of your seat.

The scary part was knowing that Boyd and his crew had the upper hand the entire time. He had John Nolan in his crosshairs and could’ve taken the shot if so chosen to, but he opted to take out one of his accomplices instead.

Boyd and the others were formidable, which tends to drastically shift the intensity level of those scenes when we can’t attest to our beloved characters making it through unharmed or getting an easy collar.

The installment doesn’t take its foot off the gas in those moments, and it’s evident that Boyd and his crew will get away, leaving the LAPD frazzled and determined to track them down and put them away while dealing with the ramifications of this heist.

In the interim, we have Aaron Thorsen presumably fighting for his life, but frankly.

At the same time, there was an innate fear that he could potentially perish during the finale that evaporates entirely in the premiere, well before we see him on his expensive motorcycle pulling into the parking lot after that time jump.

Harper: There are no cheat codes with me. I am an enigma wrapped in a badass riddle. You got that, boot?
Celina: Yes, ma’am.

Only with little moments like that does it feel like the hour loses momentum or becomes jarring with editing.

But it’s not enough to diminish the overall quality of a strong premiere.

A time jump was inevitable, so it’s unsurprising that they hit the fast-forward button within the premiere. Shockingly, it was only six weeks, which puts Thorsen’s seemingly perfect state of health after getting shot in the realm of unrealistic, but it’s better to have him around than not.

Six weeks was a bit of time for the LAPD to lick their wounds as this mastermind of chaos and his crew got away with millions of dollars and severely damaged the police department in the process.

But then they got that worthwhile lead via one of the perpetrators thanks to his accident in a sportscar, and it advanced their investigation and had them seemingly putting away the man behind everything.

Initially, it seemed they were about to wrap things up too quickly, but in true The Rookie fashion, we should’ve known that Boyd wasn’t the real mastermind. There’s someone else pulling the strings.

Their ability to nab Boyd via hacking into the camera of his burner phone using just the number they found on his accomplice’s burner phone was so far-reaching it was laughable.

And yet, seeing them get photos of everyone and their names through that camera was no less satisfying. It’s doubtful we’ll see the last of Kim and Cyeshia.

Nolan and Sergeant Grey‘s antics in that sports car were nothing short of amusing, and while it didn’t work 100%, one could appreciate the quick thinking and effort on Nolan’s part, revving the engine and feigning lousy reception.

Truly, it’s so fun to have The Rookie back!

The series loves to bring back many of its players. No guest role is too small in this series when a character can become recurring in the blink of an eye.

Monica rolling in to defend a cocky Boyd was apt, considering she has a terrible knack for representing some of their worst offenders as of late.

It’s me. Boyd might be a problem. He’s facing life in prison. If they offer him a good enough deal, he might take it.


Monica is in over her head whether she realizes it or not. She cannot seem to escape digging a deeper hole for herself when it comes to her shady clients, and sooner rather than later, she will be cold and dead in that hole she’s dug.

There’s no saving Monica Stevens, I’m afraid.

But now we’re left to ponder who the real mastermind behind Boyd was. It was a catch-22 taking him out.

The police could’ve stopped at just him, genuinely believing that he was the man behind it all, and they may not have looked further than that.

And maybe Boyd wouldn’t have talked or exposed anyone above him. But that’s not a risk the mastermind wanted to take, so even though killing Boyd confirms that there is someone above him, it also prevents him from saying anything.

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At the very least, murdering him delays law enforcement from finding out the truth rather than handing it to them on a silver platter.

Is the mastermind’s identity someone we know? After screwing him over, would Elijah Stone ever work with Monica again as he runs things from prison?

We can’t rule anything out, and The Rookie has a habit of bringing that man back like a bad rash over and over again. As with most of the series ‘ villains, he’ll be a consistent problem for the LAPD until he’s dead.

Abril is dead, so we know Monica can’t be working with her anymore. So, who does that leave? Is it someone new entirely?

Grey: Hey, you okay?
Harper: Better than him.

Whatever the case is, this is a lingering mystery that will likely play out throughout the truncated season, and it may very well be the top storyline come season finale time.

And that works well. Again, The Rookie notoriously operates at a breakneck pace by jamming a million plot points in at once, including with drastic tonal shifts at times, and can more often than not pull it off.

There’s no doubt that this plot can simmer all season while a plethora of other things take place, and we’ll get the payoff during the season finale.

They fed us Boyd, tragically ending Kristian Bruun’s intriguing stint as a villain, but the story isn’t over.

Related: The Rookie Season Finale Review: Under Siege

In the meantime, we’re equally as invested in everything else happening with the personal lives of our favorite characters, something which the opener teases well.

Thorsen will have difficulty not being in the field where he prefers. He needs to get cleared for duty first, and I’m glad that despite the time jump, they aren’t just tossing him back into the field without looking back.

Although alarms are going off, he may hit it off with the department’s therapist too well. Notably, she’s new to the job, only working there for six months, and it’s her first gig.

There’s a foundation for some questionable ethical choices and boundary-crossing.

She’s beautiful, and Thorsen has obviously noticed it. Angela and the others’ warning about department therapists also was added into the mix for a reason.

Surprisingly, we didn’t get any real interaction between Thorsen and Celina Suarez, and my curiosity is piqued about the state of their relationship after such traumatic events that have bonded them deeper than before.

Instead, we sailed past Celina’s terror over potentially losing Thorsen and right into her fun antics of helping Nolan navigate his last shift before a big event superstition.

The prospect of Celina and Nyla Harper working together is exciting. For one, seeing the women interacting more is always a blast because the field is so male-dominated that those types of pairings bring a compelling energy.

The female partnerships and mentor-mentee moments can be among the best in The Rookie.

Plus, Harper and Celina’s mutual ability to drive Nolan nuts and make him the butt of their jokes gives them a solid foundation to bond on and build off of, and I look forward to seeing more of their energy as they work together.

Nolan never wants to buy into superstition, especially the fun first responder and cop ones. He’s annoyingly the guy who’ll comment aloud about how quiet the day has been, not knowing he’s inviting pure chaos.

It was such a fun bit that he fought against the “Last Shift Curse,” and everyone around him was gobsmacked about his willingness to tempt fate.

Celina: Are you nervous?
Nolan: Nope.
Celina: Last shift before the wedding.
Nolan: Yup.
Celina: but you’re still not nervous?

But the absolute best part was how they were all right after his Final Destination incident at the hangar.

Overcoming all this at least gives us hope that Nolan and Bailey Nune‘s wedding will go off without a hitch.

And thanks to Thorsen, they’ll have an even better venue than their house.

They get so much quality content from Thorsen’s unlimited wealth, access, knowledge, and pull.

But it at least feels like everyone is hyped for the wedding, and it’ll be nice to have all the couples and characters gathered together for a happy affair.

Wopez were in their bliss as parents again, but we didn’t get much to go on with them outside of it being quintessentially Angela Lopez to leave the hospital an hour after she had a baby.

But we did get a peek of Harper struggling with killing their suspect in that harrowing hospital hostage situation.

It doesn’t matter how long a person is on the job, how clean the shoot is, and how much experience they may have in that situation; it doesn’t get easier.

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And she’s not unaffected by her actions. They didn’t dwell on it too much, but it was enough to have a realistic feel. She’s not a sociopath who doesn’t feel.

Meanwhile, Chenford was in an interesting predicament.

Unfortunately, Lucy Chen still faces heat because of her actions to get Bradford into Metro.

Primms has it out for her even though he got where he needed to be, and now she can’t even take the undercover detective’s exam without a paranoia that he could cost her everything.

I appreciated the throwback approach to having her ride along with Tim, taking on some weird cases and him instilling all the knowledge and experience he has with Tim Tests.

It was sad that Lucy kept second-guessing herself and stayed in her head too much.

As a result, she flubbed the clown crime scene, not noticing the sprinklers in time and watching their evidence literally get washed down the drain.

I adore that Chenford is in their era of feeling like a legitimate couple, as in their beyond-the-happy phase when everything is seemingly perfect, and they’re at that point when they can have real disagreements and tifts without fear of bailing on one another.

I don’t doubt that either of them is in this for the long haul, which makes the moment when they butt heads and have genuine conflict and friction feel so satisfying, even if it hurts too.

I felt for Tim because, in some ways, it didn’t feel like he could win when it came to Lucy and her feelings.

He took a pragmatic approach when trying to support her. He helped her study, tested her as best as he could, and overwhelmed her a bit with possible scenarios that could take place, but he was honest.

And when she felt as if she wasn’t ready for the detective’s exam after all of this, he backed her. He didn’t realize that she didn’t want him to support her decision to take a step back; she needed him to express his faith in her and push and encourage her.

Lucy: Did you undermine me today because you’re scared that I’m going to make detective?
Tim: What? No!
Lucy: Tim.
Tim: No, and it upsets me that you even think that.
Lucy: I don’t know, maybe it wasn’t deliberate. Maybe it was subconscious.
Tim: So now you’re accusing me of being unaware of my actions? That’s not better.
Lucy: You have to admit that what happened to Isobel was deeply traumatic for you.
Tim: I never not admitted it. I admitted it the day we met. The only thing I did today was have your back. If you can’t see that then… you know what? I’m tired. You got studying to do, so let’s just take the night off. I’ll see you tomorrow.

It’s an honest mistake to make, and I sympathized with him greatly in that scenario because it felt as if Lucy was picking a fight with him. He couldn’t win when it was evident his primary objective the whole time was supporting her.

But that’s not to say that Lucy doesn’t have reasonable suspicions about how Tim Bradford feels about all of this. Isobel was just recently in their lives again, and her reappearance dredges up feelings and Bradford’s unresolved issues from the past.

He lost his wife to undercover work; her work put her in jeopardy and essentially ended their marriage.

It’s perfectly reasonable if, deep down, Bradford embraces the notion of Chen putting the test on hold because it means he won’t risk losing her in the same way.

And he may not actively be thinking that or wishing for that. However, it could still be affecting his behavior and approach anyway.

It’s still bold and presumptuous of Lucy to tell him how he feels, but it could also be a mark of her letting him know how deeply she understands him, even in ways he can’t quite comprehend himself.

Either way, you slice it, Tim made the right call, giving them the night apart. He also caught himself from saying something regrettable.

This girl is here for all the Chenford angst and heavy stuff. They can get through anything together.

Plus, we know a love confession is on the horizon, which will put anyone at ease.

Over to you, The Rookie Fanatics. What are your mastermind theories? Should Chen take the exam or give it a beat? Let’s break down the premiere in the comments below!

The Rookie airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC. You can stream the following day on Hulu.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.

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