How The Rookie Season 4 Is Changing Things Up For Nathan Fillion's John Nolan

The Rookie's Nathan Fillion season 3

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the Season 3 finale of The Rookie, so be warned!

Last night’s Season 3 finale of The Rookie left fans with quite the cliffhanger, but thankfully with the ABC series having already been renewed for a fourth season before the finale premiered. While some shows haven’t been as lucky, audiences shouldn't be too concerned about not having lingering questions being answered in the next season. Season 4 will bring more than answers, though, as showrunner Alexi Hawley has revealed Nathan Fillion’s up-and-coming John Nolan will experience some changes in the new season, and the Rookie boss also touched on how Season 4 will look a little different for the main character.

In an interview with TVLine, The Rookie showrunner Alexi Hawley spoke on the future of Nathan Fillion’s character and what Nolan's life is looking like in Season 4. According to Hawley, we can expect a new P2 status to bring a new dynamic to Nolan's daily routine. How's how Hawley put it when asked about Nolan's future:

Basically a version of what we see him do now, because as a patrol officer he drives around. P2s can drive in solo cars, which we’ve never really done. He could also ride with Lucy, or with Jackson…. It’s exciting to me, going into Season 4 with things that we haven’t done before, with dynamics we haven’t put together. Also, what’s inherent in not being a rookie or a student or a trainee is that he’ll have bit more strength, because he’s going to be the one making the calls. He’s going to be driving his stuff a bit more without having to, like, check in with a TO or you know pass a test every episode.

It sounds like we’ll get a little bit of an elevated version of what we see Nathan Fillion’s John Nolan doing now, and with less authoritative oversight. Yes, he’ll still be doing a lot of driving around in his squad car, but he doesn’t have to ride around with a partner anymore, or anyone else watching over his every move. It seems like we may be getting quite a few more solo scenes with Fillion behind the wheel, as Nolan is going to have a bit more power as he finally moves beyond the titular distinction. He doesn’t have to check in with his superiors as often, and as a result we may see some confidence struggles in his transition to having more strength and pull in his position. And if he wanted to build that confidence up by singing as loudly as possible in his squad car at least once an episode, so be it.

While Nathan Fillion’s titular character may not be a rookie or trainee any more, the title will still certainly make sense, as John Nolan is still in a pretty low position on the force for his somewhat advanced age. That said, his maturity and age-related instincts have certainly helped him move up rank, and they may even help in tackling that pesky cliffhanger that went down in the Season 3 finale, and possibly even with his burgeoning relationship with Jenna Dewan's Bailey.

Even though we’ve got a Season 4 renewal locked down for The Rookie, it’ll still be quite a while until we see the aftermath of that chaotic wedding episode of a finale. Season 4 of ABC’s The Rookie currently has no release date, but based on what we know of previous seasons (not counting what happened with the Season 3 hiatus, of course), it’s reasonable that we’ll get some answers for that cliffhanger, as well as a stronger, more independent John Nolan this September or October. In the meantime, there's more than enough on the 2021 Summer TV schedule to keep fans busy until the ABC crime drama returns.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.