After anxiously holding onto the edge of our seats for eight long months to discover whether or not Officer John Nolan will be able to prove he's not a dirty cop, we finally have our answer.
Either way, we knew Nolan's actions would have consequences that affect the rest of his career and life, not to mention the series's trajectory.
Detective Nick Armstrong proved to be one slippery bastard. Still, we always expected that Nolan would find a way to prove himself innocent in the eyes of the LAPD; we just didn't know how until The Rookie Season 3 Episode 1.
As we suspected, Lucy and Jackson both believed in Nolan, and Jackson's questioning of Armstrong's story was spot on.
Jackson: You said that Nolan came to your house to kill you.
Jackson: But first he told you about a bunch of evidence hidden at his place. Why would he waste time doing that?
Armstrong: Nolan’s a talker. You know him.
Jackson: Yeah, I do, but he’s not a boaster and he’s definitely not stupid.
Angela was rooting for Nolan, even as she fought to get the search warrant to enter his home, but it was Bradford who seemed to have the least faith.
When Bradford told Lucy that he'd learned the hard way we only think we really know people, was he talking about his ex-wife or someone else?
Despite Nolan's bad luck at having been set up by Armstrong, Wesley was right to point out how lucky he was and how things could have gotten so much worse.
Nolan: The truth is on my side.
Wesley: And you think that means something? If you were any other defendant…
Wesley: Never mind.
Nolan: No, I want to know. If I was any other defendant, what?
Wesley: You are a white man, a cop. You have already been treated with a level of deference my other clients would never get. If you were black or brown the police would have created exigent circumstances and kicked the door in, shot you if they thought you reacted aggressively. Arrested you if you surrendered, confident that the DA would bully you into a plea deal.
That Sgt. Grey took the time to call Nolan instead of having his officers kick in that door speaks to the level of respect that Nolan was shown.
It's similar to the consideration that Harper showed Armstrong when she decided she and Nolan should investigate Nick on their own before turning their suspicions over to Internal Affairs. But that deference is what led to Nolan being in this mess.
The Blue Wall is about loyalty to other cops, but it also helps protect cops whose actions are questionable or even criminal when taken too far.
The frustration Commander West felt over the lack of respect for Internal Affairs was palpable and, with everything going on in the world, played more strongly now than it would have a year ago.
This office is the only investigative unit required by the California Constitution. Do you know why? Because police officers are infused with the power of the state. The power to take a life in pursuit of justice. Power that is all too easily abused and yet at every turn cops like you look at us like the enemy, the Rat Squad. How the hell do you expect me to root out problem cops when I’m sabotaged at every turn?Commander West
How do you do your job when your colleagues look upon you as the enemy, distrust you, and block you at every turn, even the ones who mean well like Harper?
When Jackson began to spiral as he contemplated that either Nolan or Armstrong must be guilty, his father kept him grounded. Commander West reminded him that this was the time to gather facts and not form opinions, and that seemed to give Jackson the ability to think more clearly and notice the flaws in Armstrong's statement.
Should Jackson follow in his father's footsteps and work for Internal Affairs? Absolutely!
Jackson is a by-the-book cop who understands why the rules exist and now has some experience to see how it plays out on the street.
During The Rookie Season 2, it felt like Jackson West got left behind in the storytelling. When the only thing that stands out is the drama with his boyfriend, that's not a great sign of a well-rounded character.
Working for Internal Affairs is currently relevant, will give Jackson purpose, and can only add to the drama.
The mindset that bad behavior is okay as long as it produces justice is a cancer and is long past time we treat it as such.Sgt. Grey
Many cops, even some Jackson respects, can easily fall into the belief that the ends justify the means. What happens when the well-meaning perpetrator is someone Jackson considers a friend?
Officer Jackson West joining IA, in any capacity, can only make the show better, and I hope they pursue this storyline.
Elsewhere, Bradford and Chen retraced Nolan's steps.
Having both gone through the Academy with Nolan and having dated him, Lucy understood the way his mind worked, and it was fun watching her figure out what Nolan had been thinking as the walls were closing in on him.
Lucy and Tim going to visit Rosalind Dyer was a highlight. Rosalind is intelligent, intriguing, and always entertaining. I hope we get to see more of her this season.
That Rosalind was watching Lucy as she slowly suffocated in that barrel didn't surprise me, but what did is that no one seems to question who is working for Rosalind inside the prison.
A convicted serial killer appears to have easy access to outside communication, yet no one investigates how it happens.
Rosalind said she was impressed with Lucy's ability to control her fear and show Caleb nothing but strength and defiance even as he sealed the lid on that barrel.
She should be impressed with Lucy. Lucy Chen is a badass. One of the most satisfying moments of this episode was when Bradford reminded her that she saved herself.
Thankfully, there were a few lighter notes during this installment, and the happiest were between Angela and Wesley.
First, I enjoyed them both making their case to the judge over the search warrant. It bodes well for their future together that they could argue something important from opposite sides and put it in perspective afterward.
But when Wesley held out the pregnancy test that he'd found to Angela, I thought the same thing she did.
Angela: You know I peed on that, right?
Angela: I’m just saying, you might want to wash your hands.
The timing of this pregnancy is far from perfect. You can't blame Angela for wishing they had been allowed some romance before the responsibility of parenthood set in.
Wesley was right; they will likely look back on this moment as a gift, but from the expression on his face, you could tell that even he was grappling with how their reality was quickly going to change.
Wanting to hide her pregnancy at work was also understandable. Lopez wants to make the best impression in her new position as a detective. She wants to appear strong and competent to her new colleagues.
Angela is both of those things, and being pregnant won't change that, but it will likely mean she's seen as the pregnant detective and not simply the new detective. She wants a chance to prove what she can do before everyone looks at her and sees something other than her skills and determination.
She'll only be able to hide her condition for a limited time, and I'm hoping there will be more fun than drama in the truth coming out.
Now back to Nolan.
Armstrong didn't just set up Nolan; he knew he had to take Harper down too.
Harper: Please tell me you at least taped the conversation.
Nolan: Yeah, that would have been smart.
Harper obviously has a lot to teach her trainee. Recording his conversation with Nick should have been obvious, as should installing a security system on his home. But Nolan being the boy scout of the group also means that his idealism can trip him up when faced with someone like Armstrong, who doesn't play by the rules.
Nolan being allowed to meet with Reuben Darian seemed to stretch the credibility of this story, but as this is TV, and we needed Nolan to have a way to prove his innocence, I'm willing to let it go.
But I have to mention those horrible pants they made Nolan wear. Seriously, he should have just gone in his boxers as they looked far nicer, and I don't even want to consider who wore those pants previously and whether or not they'd been laundered.
My biggest disappointment was that Nick Armstrong appears to be dead. I say "appears to be" because no one actually confirmed he had died, although Nolan did tell the 911 dispatcher that he was unconscious and not breathing, so his survival is obviously a long shot at best.
Harold Perrineau brought us on such a journey with Nick Armstrong that I don't want to see him go. At first, we empathized with Nick as a widower still mourning his wife, we appreciated him as he mentored Nolan and became his friend, we then questioned his motives when it appeared he might have bent the rules.
Finally, we felt betrayed by Nick when it turned out he was a dirty cop willing to turn on those closest to him to save his own ass.
I was hoping that Armstrong would end up behind bars, perhaps still scrambling to broker a deal to save himself or trying to manipulate those on the outside for his own gain. If the character is really gone, it's a loss to the show.
That Nolan has to face the consequences of his actions, even though he believed he was trying to do the right thing, is both disheartening and inspired.
Nolan's rookie term is being extended, and he'll have to pass a review board. And that Letter of Reprimand will have severe consequences for his career.
To be clear, receiving a Letter of Reprimand as a rookie is almost certain to keep you from advancing in the department. So any hopes of joining a specialized unit or making detective should be abandoned. Given those constraints, you’ll have to decide if the life of a patrol officer is good enough for you.Sgt. Grey
For the character, this is a fantastic obstacle to overcome, but it's also a win for the show that it gets to remain focused on police on patrol.
There are plenty of police dramas that concentrate on detectives, and I love those shows, but following cops on the streets of LA is what makes The Rookie special.
So what do you think, TV Fanatics?
How long will Angela be able to hide her pregnancy?
Are we headed towards a new chapter for Bradford and Chen?
Should Jackson consider a role with Internal Affairs?
And will Nolan be able to advance beyond being a patrol officer? Do you want him to?
Now it's time to hit that big, blue, SHOW COMMENTS button down below and tell us what you think! And don't forget to check back in for the rest of our The Rookie Season 3 reviews and watch The Rookie online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.