USA Today: Rookie Blue

3 stars


13th August 2010

A weekly look at newly minted shows from our Stateside cousins. This week it's the turn of Rookie Blue, ABC's new police drama. It's set in Canada, but doesn't feature a single mountie. There better be at least one deaf wolfhound or I'm going to kick off.

Three episodes in and Rookie Blue (ABC) was renewed for a second season. A smart move by the bigwigs that run the network, who must know they’re onto a sure thing with a youthful procedural cop drama. While this Canadian series (quiet, we’re not supposed to suspect) doesn’t tread any new ground, it doesn’t have to. It’s Grey’s with Guns, it does exactly what it says on the tin, and does it well.

The series follows the personal and professional lives of five fresh-faced rookie cops as they try to get hip to the beat (they’re police, see. The beat?), wise to the streets, and make it to the end of the day relatively unscathed.

Every character type you’d expect is present and accounted for (take a pinch of grizzled yet attractive mentor, a dash of heart-of-gold tough cookie, add water) but the casting is solid enough to breathe some new life into the drama-by-numbers clichés of love triangles and father issues.
The supporting cast are strong, and the young actors are as eager and likeable as their fictional counterparts

[gallery]Unusually for a police procedural, much of the early episode plotlines have rested on female shoulders. Enuka Okuma plays Traci Nash with a confident ease that doesn’t often come with a brand new character, and Missy Peregrym is an arresting lead (Police? Arresting? Ah, forget you). She plays Andy McNally, the back-bone of the series, and it’s hard not to be won over by her earnest optimism. It also doesn’t hurt that she is altogether quite dashing in her uniform.

So far the other rookies are a little underdeveloped, so let’s hope ‘blonde bitch with an inevitable vulnerable side’, ‘blonde bitch’s potential love interest’ and ‘that fella from Everwood’ get a better chance to prove their chops soon. After all, they can’t scrape by on newbie gags forever, even if they are gently enjoyable.

Enjoyable is the operative word. Rookie Blue is not a cutting edge series by any means, but it makes no claims to be. Instead it seems intent on wholly embracing the light drama mantel. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So, change channels if you want hard boiled grit, or procedural posturing, and stay tuned if you want a comfy, entertaining mix of comedy, drama, a poignant life lesson here and there, and an endearing lack of cynicism. And when all that pesky business of catching the bad guy is out of the way, we can get down to the real action - who’s foxtrotting with whose nightstick?

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