The Rookie Bans Live Weapons For Season 4 After Fatal Shooting On Alec Baldwin's Rust

the rookie season 4 nathan fillion john nolan
(Image credit: ABC)

The Rookie has been a cop drama delivering action on ABC since its premiere back in 2018, but now the show is going to be implementing some changes behind the scenes. In the wake of a fatal accidental shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust, The Rookie showrunner Alexi Hawley made the decision that the show will no longer use live weapons to film the series.

The shooting on the set of Rust that resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injury of director Joel Souza was reportedly the result of a misfire of a prop gun with blanks, and it has sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry. The Rookie previously used live weapons on set only when it came to filming pieces that were set outside, while mostly relying on CGI for muzzle flashes during the smaller shootouts between characters. And that will no longer be the case. 

Showrunner Alexi Hawley made it clear that The Rookie will be changing this approach immediately for Season 4 in a memo sent to the show’s staff, in which he said (via THR):

The tragic events in New Mexico yesterday have shaken us all, and our hearts go out to the friends and family of Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza. As of today, it is now policy on The Rookie that all gunfire on set will be Air Soft guns with CG muzzle flashes added in post. There will be no more 'live' weapons on the show. The safety our cast and crew is too important. Any risk is too much risk.

The Rookie won’t stop Nathan Fillion’s John Nolan or the rest of the cop characters from using firearms, but it is stopping any and all use of live weapons to simulate real gunfire. Airsoft guns are made to look like real firearms, but shoot pellets rather than bullets. Movie and television productions have already used Airsoft guns, so The Rookie switching to these for “all gunfire on set” presumably won’t be too complicated, even if it does require some significant adaptations for the production of large-scale scenes. CG muzzle flashes are also not uncommon. 

Alexi Hawley clearly wasted no time in taking steps to implement change by banning use of live weapons on the set of The Rookie just a day after the fatal misfire in New Mexico, and it’s possible that The Rookie is the first of many productions that will make such changes in the wake of the death on the set of Rust. There is certainly no shortage of TV shows with characters that carry guns, with well over a dozen crime dramas already on the air this fall. And that’s not to mention the plethora of action movies that involve characters firing guns.

Whatever happens for productions beyond The Rookie moving forward, we can only hope that steps are taken throughout the entertainment industry to prevent any tragedies like what happened on the set of Rust with the death of Halyna Hutchins. This isn’t the first time that a prop gun has caused the death of somebody on the set of a film either, as Brandon Lee was killed in a similar incident back in 1993. 

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).