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John Nolan receives his final decree of divorce. Depressed, he takes it to the bank to put it in his safe deposit box and ends up in the middle of a bank robbery. Afterward, he quits his construction job and decides to move from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles and join the police academy.

Six months later, it is Nolan’ s first day on the job along with fellow rookies Lucy Chen and Jackson West. Officer Lucy Chen, who makes an arrest on the way into her first day at work is paid with Officer Tim Bradford. Officer Jackson West, whose father is Commander of Internal Affairs is being trained by Officer Angela Lopez. 

Nolan and his training officer, Officer Talia Bishop, who was the departments youngest training officer and plans to be its youngest detective, respond to a domestic disturbance call. Nolan gets the feeling that it’s the wife beating up on the incredibly large husband but doesn’t voice that opinion to his T.O. Later they are called back and the wife has stabbed the husband. Nolan doesn’t hesitate to jump in and try to save the man but he dies anyway while Nolan tries to stop the bleeding. 

Nolan, Bishop and the other teams help chase down and subdue an emotionally disturbed man. Turns out the man has left his young son locked in a car somewhere in over 90-degree heat. Nolan and Bishop find the car but Nolan uses the wrong tool to break the window. Bishop comes up and breaks it correctly. The boy is saved and Bishop tells Nolan that he stopped thinking and didn’t follow proper procedure. This time they got lucky but next time it might mean someone’s life. 

On the road Officer Bradford tests Officer Chen multiple times. Later, they run into a junkie named Isabel who turns out to be Bradford’s estranged wife whom he hasn’t seen in a year. She takes his cash and runs off leaving him visibly distraught. 

There’s a BOLO out for Lance Shelby who previously served five years in prison for attempted murder with a claw hammer. Nolan and Bishop track down a lead and find a possible address for Shelby. Officers Bradford and Chen arrive at the scene first and find Shelby. Shelby and his accomplice open fire, shooting Bradford as Chen returns fire. 

Bishop goes to cuff another suspect who appears to be unconscious. Bishop tells Nolan to cover her but he runs off towards the gunfire. The suspect isn’t unconscious and attacks Bishop who manages to knock him unconscious. 

During the firefight, Officer West freezes and doesn’t return fire. His T.O., Officer Angela Lopez tells him that if it ever happens again she will report him and tell his high ranking father herself. 

Nolan, Chen, and Bishop catch up to Shelby whose gun is empty but takes a hostage by knifepoint. Nolan tries to talk him down by saying he’ll put his gun down if Shelby will put his knife down because if he doesn’t, Nolan will shoot him. They both begin to lower their weapons but once Shelby’s knife is lowering, Nolan shoots him in the leg. 

Turns out that Nolan and Chen have been secretly dating since the academy. Bishop witnesses a moment between them and realizes it. She tells Chen it’s better to break off the relationship because it will brand her no matter how good she is or how hard she works. 

When Sgt. Grey learns that Nolan didn’t back up his partner and put her life in danger, he tells Nolan he’s done but the Captain wants Grey to give Nolan a real chance. Grey thinks that Nolan’s only dealing with a midlife crisis and it sets a bad example for future rookies. He tells Nolan he will haze and harass him every chance he gets in the hopes that he will quit. Nolan asks Grey what happens if this is really his calling. Grey responds, “Then nothing I do to you will matter.”


The Rookie
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The Rookie Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

I love Rookie Day. It’s Christmas and the Purge in one.

Officer Bradford

Stacy: Happy Divorce Day!
John: That’s not a thing.
Stacy: It should be. When mine went through I took the boys to Disneyland.
John: I’m not really feeling the Matterhorn.
Stacy: Try and look at this as an opportunity.
John: Right now I’m just trying to remember to wear pants.