The Rookie Showrunner Defends That Heartbreaking Plot Twist

the rookie cast season 1 abc
(Image credit: ABC)

Spoilers ahead for the March 19 episode of The Rookie on ABC.

The Rookie didn't pull any punches in its latest episode of Season 1 as it delivered the first big tragedy of the series. For most of the hour, all signs pointed toward John Nolan and the rest of the cops coming out on top of the bad guys, despite a "green light" for the Southern Front crime organization to take Nolan out. Then, in a tragic twist, The Rookie killed off Captain Zoe Andersen. It was a heartbreaking and shocking move in an episode that wasn't even a finale.

Showrunner Alexi Hawley took to Twitter after the episode aired to defend the plot twist, sharing this:

Apparently, Captain Andersen (played by Mercedes Mason) wasn't always going to die in the episode. She might have lived if the writers had not come to the conclusion that killing her off would impact the overall narrative of The Rookie in the best ways. Fans of the character may not be happy with the rationale, but The Rookie hasn't yet had the time to show how all the characters will deal with the fallout.

Yes, Cole was arrested, giving Nolan and the others at least some closure, but there may be a long road ahead of them before they come to terms with what happened to their captain. Nolan is still a rookie, after all, and this is something that could traumatize any rookie as they learn the ropes of law enforcement. Will this be a setback for Nolan's progress in the department? Or will it motivate him to be better than ever, in Andersen's honor?

Alexi Hawley wasn't dropping specific and huge spoilers about how The Rookie will proceed in the wake of Andersen's death, but he did tease a bit of how Nolan's thoughts on his future will be directed by the tragedy, via Twitter:

As sad as it may be to have a great character killed off (and a fantastic member of the cast written out) so early just to further another character's arc, Alexi Hawley's words are encouraging that Nolan will honor the legacy of the woman who was instrumental to his journey to becoming a worthy cop.

The odds were stacked against him, and she was a valuable ally to have in his corner. If The Rookie lasts to Season 5 or 6, could we see Nolan credit Andersen with helping him get where he is?

Of course, at this point, The Rookie isn't even guaranteed a Season 2. The show debuted to mediocre ratings, which was something of a surprise given that Nathan Fillion was the headliner, although The Rookie is a far cry from Castle. ABC wasn't so discouraged by the mediocre numbers that The Rookie came to an early and unceremonious end, however.

The show received an order for additional scripts only a couple of weeks after it premiered in Fall 2018, and it took less than a month for ABC to order a full season. The ratings still aren't great, and only four episodes are left in the first season. So, if you're a fan who wants to see Nolan and Co. make it to Season 2, the time is now to start watching this midseason! New episodes air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).