The stakes are higher in January 24’s episode of The Rookie, “Sabotage,” now that Officer Jackson West (Titus Makin Jr.) is working together with Sergeant Wade Grey (Richard T. Jones), and fellow Officers Lucy Chen (Melissa O’Neil) and Tim Bradford (Erica Winter) to take down Officer Doug Stanton (Brandon Routh), presented to viewers as a racist white cop personified.
One of the first interactions Stanton has with a civilian this episode is him stopping a law-abiding Hispanic man:
Stanton: Catch the game last night?
West: Yeah. It was brutal. Can’t believe they were able to come back on us.
Stanton: Uh-huh. Yeah, I believed. That’s why I won 200 bucks. Anything look out of place to you?
West: Uh, I don’t —
Stanton: Dispatch, 7-adam-07, show us at a pedestrian stop, Waring and Seward.
Chen: Seward and Waring. Let’s go.
Bradford: Relax. We can’t be too obvious. Doug realizes we’re shadowing him, Jackson’s screwed. We’ll get close, wait to see if it escalates.
Stanton: Hey, bud. Live around here?
Armand: No, sir. Just came from a friend’s.
Stanton: Ah. Where you off to now?
Armand: Bus stop.
Stanton: Bus stop’s that way. Got any I.D.?
Armand: Yes , sir.
Stanton: Dispatch, 7-adam-07. Clear for a party. Last of Gusta, first of Armand. Dob, 7-26-1990. Have you on your way in a second. Unless she comes back with bad news. You got any outstanding warrants?
Armand: I’ve never been arrested, sir.
Dispatch: 7-adam-07, Gusta comes back clear and valid.
Stanton: There you go.
West: Bus stop’s that way, sir.
Armand: Thank you, officers.
West: Of course.
Stanton: See [sighs] That’s the kind of citizen I like. Knows his place, respects authority. You know, we wouldn’t have half the problems we have if more of them behaved like that one.
The situation does not escalate; it’s merely a scene for writers to imply to viewers that Stanton is a racist. Naturally, for drama’s sake, the episode gets worse.
Stanton later pulls over a black woman for running a stop sign; the scene begins with Stanton and West walking up to her car. It leads to her arrest when she reveals she has her ex-husband’s guns in her trunk:
Stanton: You know you ran that stop sign back there? License, registration, proof of insurance.
Erika: They’re in my bag. Is it okay if I reach in and grab them?
Stanton: Slowly. Why’re you so nervous?
Erika: No reason.
Stanton: Erika. Anything illegal in the car or on your person?
Erika: No, sir.
Stanton: Great. You won’t mind if we search the car, then?
Uh, we don’t need to search the car.
Stanton: Like you said, nothing illegal in here, so you don’t mind if we conduct a search, right?
Erika: Uh, yeah. Yeah, I guess so. But…there are guns in the trunk.
Stanton: Hands where I can see them. Step out of the car.
Erika: They’re my ex-husband’s. I was on my way to the police station to turn them in.
Stanton: Head to the sidewalk.
Erika: Look, we’re finalizing our divorce, and he’s not happy with how it’s going, and he’s been threatening to kill me.
West: Did you get a restraining order?
Erika: Yes. But it doesn’t stop him from driving by the house every day.
Stanton: You don’t live with your husband?
Erika: Ex-husband. And no.
Stanton: So how’d you get the guns?
Erika: I used my old key.
Stanton: Erika, you’re under arrest.
Stanton: Burglary, possession of stolen property…
Erika: Wh– .
Stanton: ..illegally transporting firearms.
Erika: Why? No. I-I told you I was going to turn them in to the police.
Stanton: You can tell all that to the judge.
West: Okay, can I talk to you for a second, sir?
Stanton: Take a seat on the curb.
West: Look, do we really need to take her in? Let’s just book the guns and write it up for DA review. C’mon, man. What do you say?
Stanton: First of all, never speak to me like that again. “C’mon, man”? I’m your superior officer, not one of your homeboys.
West: Yes, sir.
Stanton: And secondly, that woman just admitted to three felonies. She says she’s turning in the weapons, but who’s to say she wasn’t on her way to blast her ex-husband’s brains out? She’s going in. Fill out her booking sheet. I’ll call in a tow.
West: Come on.
Erika: Oh, please. Please, you don’t have to do this, okay? Look, help me. Look, I can’t go to jail.
West: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
Stanton is made to look cruel and heartless. It’s later revealed that the woman’s story “checked out.” What if it didn’t, though? Our main characters may want Stanton gone, but he also is a veteran of the job who knows a thing or two.
When Jackson is later retelling the story to fellow rookie Officer Lucy Chen, she apologizes for how her being on a call meant she couldn’t help, and points out that what Stanton did was “awful but lawful.” Jackson laments, “She needed protection from her ex. But instead of helping… turns out that she needed protection from the cops, too.”
A later scene sets up the possibility Stanton is going to assault a suspect. Stanton and West are responding to a tip, a drug deal they see in progress. The suspect takes off with a backpack full of evidence, which he disposes of in a storm drain, in plain sight. Once the officers catch up with the suspect, Stanton realizes that he’s lost his body camera. The suspect mouths off, making “your mama” comments, leading Stanton to tell him, “You and me are gonna have a lesson in respect.”
West is tasked with preserving the evidence while Stanton brings in the suspect. While on his own, West tries to call Sergeant Grey, leaving a voicemail saying, “I think Doug’s about to beat the crap out of a suspect, and he lost his body cam, so there won’t be a record!” before rushing after Stanton. After the commercial break, however, we learn that the suspect is fine, Stanton found his body camera, and he’s upset that West left the evidence.
The episode’s last moments are of Grey reflecting on the news that Stanton has written West up. According to Stanton, West “disobeyed a direct order, leaving crucial evidence unattended. Now that drug dealer’s lawyer can get the charges dropped because Jackson broke the chain of custody.” Then he ominously intones, “I mean, it’s a damn shame. The kid has such great potential. Be such a waste to have him wash out of the program.”
Another plotline this season follows newly promoted Detective Angela Lopez (Alyssa Diaz), who is pregnant. It’s not until the fourth episode that her fiancé, Wesley (Shawn Ashmore), admits he’s predisposed to Fragile X syndrome.
When Lopez is looking up the syndrome on her desktop, there is an open window of an explanation of a third-trimester abortion.
Though Lopez does not mention abortion to anyone she’s confided in about her fears, it’s at least on her mind. Wesley explained that the syndrome can cause “mental disabilities” and “seizures.” Other physical symptoms include a long head, flexible fingers, and large ears, to name a few. All are hardly reasons to justify a third-trimester abortion, which entails inducing a fatal heart attack in utero and delivering the aborted stillborn.
Viewers will get to see what happens next when The Rookie returns on February 14.