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The Rookie is finally on the way back to ABC after a long hiatus, and the upcoming third season will see the debut of an Arrowverse alum to play a new character who isn't going to fit right in with the rest of the characters. Brandon Routh, who played Ray Palmer for five seasons of the Arrowverse's Legends of Tomorrow, has landed a role on The Rookie that definitely won't pit him against any time travel shenanigans.
Brandon Routh will play an eleven-year veteran of the LAPD by the name of Doug Stanton in Season 3, according to Deadline, and Stanton's opinions will be "polarizing" at the station. Routh is currently slated to appear in four episodes of The Rookie, but Stanton's arc has the potential to extend to the full season. Routh will make his Rookie debut in the fourth episode of Season 3, which should air in either late January or early February 2021, barring any big breaks early in the season.
The Rookie will be Brandon Routh's big return to TV following the end of his starring run on Legends of Tomorrow. Routh actually made his Arrowverse debut over in the third season of Arrow and was one of the longest-running major Arrowverse heroes by the end of his final season of Legends. Ray Palmer willingly left the time travel adventures behind to start a new life with his new wife (played by Routh's real-life spouse Courtney Ford), but Routh himself didn't actually want to leave Legends.
A big question is what Brandon Routh's polarizing new character means for The Rookie. The second season finale ended on the twist of Nathan Fillion's John Nolan being framed for a crime he didn't commit, and showrunner Alexi Hawley already teased that the situation is going to put everything to the test in Season 3, and Nolan will have to go above and beyond to clear his name.
Depending on just how The Rookie plays the aftermath of the cliffhanger, Nolan might still be in a sticky situation by the time Brandon Routh debuts in the fourth episode of Season 3. That said, The Rookie is still a procedural, so I wouldn't be surprised if the show is more or less back to business as usual after the first episode or two of the new season.
With Brandon Routh's character coming in with the potential for a full-season arc, it's possible that he will begin a new storyline for The Rookie rather than enter a storyline that is already ongoing. Only time will tell, but all signs point toward The Rookie going in some intriguing directions in Season 3. The show remained in production despite some positive COVID-19 tests.
The Rookie returns for Season 3 on Sunday, January 3 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. In the meantime, you can find the full first two seasons streaming on Hulu. To see Brandon Routh in action as a superhero, check him out as Ray Palmer in the first five seasons of Legends of Tomorrow streaming on Netflix. For what to watch and when to watch it in the new year, be sure to stop by our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.