The Rookie Boss Talks Feds Cast’s Return, #Chenford’s Future and the Secrets Behind That Big Finale Stunt

The Rookie Boss Talks Feds Cast’s Return, #Chenford’s Future and the Secrets Behind That Big Finale Stunt
The Rookie Boss Talks Feds Cast’s Return, #Chenford’s Future and the Secrets Behind That Big Finale Stunt

The following contains spoilers from the Season 6 finale of ABC’s The Rookie.

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It was all hands on deck — the FBI’s included! — as The Rookie brought Season 6 to a thrilling close.

Monica went on the run after Blair (and then Pearson) flipped on her, but not before setting up her assorted adversaries for slaughter. Nolan and Harper, accompanied by The Rookie: Feds agents Garza (played by Felix Solis), Stensen (Britt Robertson) and Acres (Kevin Zegers), made tracks for Monaco, to crash Monica’s meeting with a new potential ally, while the rest of Mid-Wilshire Division stayed out to stop Monica’s foes from engaging in a mutually destructive bloodbath.

Along the way, Chen engaged in more than a bit of derring-do to save Tim’s life, while Nolan got Bailey thinking about starting their family via adoption. Bailey’s ex-husband Jason, though, just broke out of prison with Oscar (thanks to Monica), so… we’ll see how that goes!

TVLine spoke with The Rookie showrunner Alexi Hawley about this finale’s big moments.

TVLINE | As I was watching the finale, it dawned on me this was a very villain-heavy episode. Like, we spent a lot of time Monica, Oscar, Jason, Bautista, A Martinez’s character… Was that something, as you were writing it, you were conscientious of?
It’s funny, when I first started the show, we were — and still are — very point of view-conscious. [In the beginning] we only entered scenes through our cops because there was that immediacy of “They don’t know what’s going on, so the audience can’t know what’s going on.” But over the years, as we’ve built up some of these other characters, especially the villains, it felt like the audience had permission to spend time with them a bit more and more, so that’s happened over the years.

This definitely is the biggest stretch in an episode, as you noticed, of time that we’ve spent with our baddies, so to speak. I think everybody loves Oscar; I do. I think Monica, Bridget Regan, is phenomenal. And when Danielle [Campbell] came in to play Blair, it was really great. It felt like a richer story being able to do that.

TVLINE | Are you involved in the editing of the “Previously On” segments? Because though it only spoiled the reveal by maybe a minute or two, the episode did open with that old clip of Bailey’s ex, Jason.
Yes, I am. And it’s always tricky, right, because, “Are you setting up the audience to understand who this guy is?” We probably didn’t necessarily need to [show that clip], but yes, you’re right, it spoils it a bit.

TVLINE | I know that you were asked a lot, preseason, if The Rookie: Feds characters would still pop up on The Rookie. Were you “playing the long game” to really deliver payoff, by not doing random cameos but having many of them show up for the finale?
A little bit. I knew we couldn’t do it right away; obviously, the cancellation of that show did make it a little complicated in the universe, but I had asked the network, after the fact, what the feeling was about me keeping these characters alive, because I love them and I also feel like we interact with the FBI so much. “Can we use these actors if they’re available, because they’re all phenomenal?” I was heartened by the fact that they said yes. But I also didn’t want to just use them to use them. I felt like we needed to earn it, and so yes, that’s why it felt like once we got international, once we got to Monaco, it made sense.

TVLINE | But Niecy [Nash], was she just not available? I know she’s an in-demand Emmy winner….
She’s busy, yeah, definitely.

TVLINE | Was the truck chase scene with Lucy’s jump one of the more intricate stunts this show has ever done?
A hundred percent. And it’s the first time we’ve ever used an Infinity Stage at Disney, which is kind of like a Volume stage [used by the Star Wars TV series]. With the Volume stages like they used on Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Mandalorian, that takes a lot of lead-time because you basically create the environment 360 degrees in Unreal Engine, so if you want to move the camera the environment moves with it. We couldn’t do that, so it became basically like a really high-end version of rear projection for us.

But it allowed us to, like, really put the actors in there. When Lucy is climbing out of the car and standing on the thing and Tim is in the back [of the pickup truck], we did a lot of it practically with the stunt people. And even at the end, when Lucy’s choking the guy out as she’s [bringing the truck] to a stop, that was practical, but it allowed us to go that much harder.

TVLINE | So when Chen is like “surfing” and there’s a blurring background behind her, that’s the Infinity Stage wall?
Yeah. Look, we shot the plates for that but we projected it behind her, but I was super impressed. It came out great. And by the way, that was very much based on a real thing. One of our writers who has been on staff with us since the very beginning — Fredrick Kotto was a police officer for 18 years in San Jose — was an undercover cop for a long time and ended up as a sergeant in Internal Affairs. That jumping into the back of a pickup truck and fighting the guy is something that he literally did. So, we’re like, “All right, we’re doing that!”

TVLINE | Lucy and Tim, at the end there in the elevator scene…. I’m sure a few fans are probably like, “Why doesn’t Lucy just say, ‘Let’s get back together’?” Is it because she knows he still has work to do on himself? Is it because she’s still quite wounded? Or a bit of both?
Yes, I think it’s that and other things. I think ultimately he broke something, and it’s not that easy to put it back together. I love that scene on the elevator because it was really important, I think, to show where their relationship could go, for him to be that respectful of what he put her through, and also show how she treated him in that [scene]. I feel like we live in a time where half the songs on the radio are some version of “A, B, C, D, E, f–k you,” so to have him break her heart like that and blow up their relationship, and for her to understand ultimately why he did it even if she feels like he didn’t do it well, and to have the kindness to understand that he was going through something, I thought was really valuable on just a human level.

TVLINE | He just needs a shrink who’s not a psychopath, like he said.
[Laughs] Yes, exactly, exactly.

TVLINE | What’s the adoption journey going to look like for John and Bailey?
I think we’ll get into the real of it a bit. I have an adopted daughter, so I wanted to sort of champion that idea because I feel like adoption is such a valuable thing. I wanted to get into the fact that, when Bailey felt like a door had closed, that they hadn’t all closed. But it is a very real thing, whether you adopt domestically, where there are certain restrictions and rules. And there’s actually an ability for a parent who is giving up a child to change their mind. But I thought that this is one of those things that we could really sort of lean into. I can’t really say yet where it’s all going, but I felt like even just going down the road with it and seeing how our characters interacted with it [is important].

TVLINE | I’m just glad it came up because a lot of times with “Oh, we’re having trouble conceiving!” storylines, I’ll be yelling at the TV that there are all these children in the world who would love to be adopted by—
By great parents like these, yeah.

TVLINE | Are you looking forward to having the show breathe a bit next season, with more episodes (18 vs. 10)?
Yeah. What’s interesting is I feel like every season on the show is different. I mean, we’ve been through a lot. The pandemic, a strike, short seasons, longer seasons…. The George Floyd murder [ahead of Season 3] made us sort of do a deep dive on how we could go forward as a police show…. All those things have been super valuable on our journey, but they’ve sort of made every season its own thing. And Season 6, because there were only 10 episodes, ended up being a more serialized version of the show that we normally do. We had a three-parter, basically, for the last three episodes, with all the Mad Dog stuff through Monica in Argentina.

TVLINE | Is there a personal storyline for any characters you’re hoping to get to next season that you didn’t have time for?
I think we’ve set some stuff up that I’m not necessarily ready to talk about yet….

TVLINE | Because things were pretty chill this season for, like, Angela and Wes, Nyla….
I think you and I talked at the beginning of the season about how I came into this season having spent a lot of the strike sort of following Rookie clips on TikTok and YouTube. I have to remember that when you get this deep into a series, it’s easy to fall in love with your characters and round all the edges off of them, so they all like each other, they’re all friends.

But you know, people are still training officers, there are still stakes, there’s still an hierarchy, and that was very important coming into Season 6. We have so many great relationships on the show established, but if there’s no drama, there’s no drama. So I do think we’ll start to kick the tires a bit on some of the other relationships, yes.

TVLINE | Oscar was broken out of prison and is in the wind, Jason’s heading back to Los Angeles, Monica escaped the Monaco skirmish, A Martinez’s character is still alive…. Might one of those villains resurface sooner in Season 7 than the others? Do you have any immediate plans for any of them?
They will definitely resurface at different times. As you know, Jenna [Dewan]’s about to have a baby in real life, so we probably won’t see [Bailey] for the first few episodes because of that. As a result, we aren’t sure when we’ll see Jason. But yes, I think we’re looking at how we can spread stuff out so we’re not just all diving into all of it at the beginning.

Want scoop on The Rookie, or for any other TV show ? Email, and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line!

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