Saturday, June 26, 2010

CDN Television: Rookie Blue, Episode 1.1 "Fresh Paint"

Rookie Blue is a Canadian police drama airing on the American television network, ABC.  The series, formerly known as Coppers, is set and filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and follows five rookie cops as they embark on their new jobs protecting and serving the citizens of Toronto.

Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym), Dov Epstein (Gregory Smith), Traci Nash (Enuka Okuma), Chris Diaz (Travis Milne) and Gail Peck (Charlotte Sullivan) report for their first day on the job and meet their seasoned partners.  Peck and Epstein are assigned to the station rather than getting jobs on the street.  Andy McNally is partnered with Oliver Shaw and the two are called to a disturbance at a neighborhood crack house that turns into a murder.  On her first day, Andy makes a huge rookie mistake when she arrests an undercover narcotics officer and ends up ruining an eight-month operation.  She later gets the chance to redeem herself in a big way when she arrests the shooter.

I'm not fond at all of Gail Peck.  The character comes off as too cold and self-centered for my liking.  I don't get the impression from her that being a policeman is what she really wanted out of life.  She strikes me more as someone who would be better suited in a profession with no hard and dangerous work for low pay and more easy breezy up the ladder of success for big bucks because I'm beautiful.  I'm hoping as the series progresses her character changes.

Andy McNally was really the stand out character in this first episode as the story was centered around her more than any other.  Peregrym seemed quite comfortable with the character and, with the right material, I truly do think this will become her show.  I had to smile when she was leaned against the police cruiser with a grin on her face obviously pleased at the two arrests she had made moments earlier unaware that she had arrested an undercover narcotics officer.  She didn't have an easy first day and there were several times when it seemed she was on the verge of breaking into a crying jag but she pulled through pretty good.  It appears she has two possible love interests:  the undercover drug officer she arrested, Sam Swarek, and Homicide detective Luke Callaghan.  I'm personally rooting for Sam because Luke is too much of your stereotypical pretty boy who always gets the girl while Sam is more of a rebel.  And what gal doesn't like a rebel, right?

Traci Nash is also a likable character in my opinion.  She has a good moment outing the problems of a drug addicted father who left his son in a closet in the same crack house where the murder took place earlier that day.  Later, when we learn Nash is the mother of a young child, we see why she was able to relate to the addicts young son so well.  Nash has a potentially interesting storyline unraveling.  Along with her being a single mother, she is having an affair with a detective.  Both of these could be used for some interesting stories as long as the writers don't choose to go down the road most often traveled with them. 

Oliver Shaw is another great character.  He adds subtle humor to the show and a good friendship could easily be built between him and McNally.

A lot of crime dramas today fall into the "stereotype trap".  The cops are all gorgeous and every hair stays in place regardless of how much physical activity they have to go through during the course of their day.  They always get the bad guy.  There's always a curmudgeonly older cop who thinks the younger cops don't know anything while the younger cops think the older cops are getting too fat and old for the job and maybe a little senile to boot.  When a policeman shoots a suspect you rarely get to see how it makes the policeman feel--really feel.  (Actually, I think the best example of a TV cop feeling something over shooting a suspect was when Det. Sgt. Chano Amenguale (Gregory Sierra) killed two bank robbers in the May 1, 1975 episode of Barney Miller, The Hero.)  It's almost as if this is the "formula" of a crime drama that must be followed.  I won't pretend that Rookie Blue doesn't have any of this in it because it does.  But, I intend to continue with the show for a while yet in hopes that the writing strengthens to not follow the formula but to break out into a direction all its own.

I have to say I enjoyed watching Rookie Blue a lot more than I enjoyed Memphis Beat earlier in the week.  Memphis Beat seems to be more focused on hawking the city of Memphis and Elvis and is laden with too many strained fake Tennessee accents than it is focusing on being a crime drama.  Both shows have flaws but, right now, Rookie Blue has a lot less of them.

For More Information:
Official ABC Rookie Blue Web Site
Internet Movie Database
TV Rage

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