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The Rookie - Caught Stealing - Review: A Bite of the Crème Brûlée

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Need a refresher? Read my recap of the previous episode here.

Police entitlement, are you allowed to take favors, bargaining chips, the odd crème brûlée, in exchange for doing your job? Thus far, The Rookie has mostly tried to side-step the harsh realities of being a cop. The show is too light-hearted to dig into police brutality or the topical political issues. So in terms of "police entitlement" the episode only brushes by it on a surface level.

For instance, in West's case, he's battling with contradictory values. On one hand, his father, who trained him to be a cop since he was a kid, believes in strict adherence to the letter, while Lopez is more experienced in the spirit. They catch a case where a woman ends up on a Tinder date from hell. A scam artist tries to dine-and-dash on a $600 bill. The law would say to arrest him on a misdemeanor but Lopez encourages the woman to rack up a few desserts to get it to $700 to make it a felony grand theft. Then the only person who suffers is the man who tried to pull a fast one.

ABC/Eric McCandless
It's hard for West to come to terms with bending the rules as such, despite the fact it doesn't really harm anyone but the perp. His holier-than-thou attitude comes across as hypocritical though, when you remember Lopez covering for his cowardice during a gun fight, and she isn't afraid to let him know that. It's the check he needs to make him realize his father's way isn't the only way. Lopez has been in his corner all along, there's no need for him to suddenly believe she's in the wrong. West apologizes for doubting her.

Lucy's test of morality comes with a strange robbery case. She and Tim investigate stolen embryos from a volatile lesbian couple. They arrive at the home of a married couple and find them in the middle of a heated fight that appears on the brink of violence.

ABC/Eric McCandless
One woman is threatening to destroy the embryos of her soon-to-be-ex-wife. But if she does, she will destroy any chance she has of ever having her own child. Both women are arrested as Tim points out there are graveyards full of women who would still be alive if action was taken the moment an act of violence occurred. Even though the woman whose embryos were taken technically didn't initiate the problem, she still reacted in physical violence (a lead pipe included).

But the real test of merit for the three rookies comes later on when they inadvertently get involved in an undercover narcotics case. Bishop and Nolan help a wounded Detective Ortiz (unaware he's an undercover cop) and he visits the station after getting treated. He's closing in on an important drug bust. This will be the rookies first high-stakes tactical operation.

Everything goes according to plan until it comes time to count the money. The counters realize they're $250,000 short of the supposed million dollar haul. All the intel points to one million but the only three people left alone with the money were Nolan, Chen, and West, who were given the unsavory task of sitting around it while waiting for the money counters to arrive.

It's obvious none of them took it. Though the show does try to paint Lucy as the most likely suspect given her pointed money troubles and difficulty finding a new place to live.

ABC/Eric McCandless
All three rookies pass their polygraph tests (although West admits to eating the crème brûlée!) And the investigation continues, though not for long since Lucy gets run off the road by a bunch of sweaty cartel members not long after. They believe she took the money because she's the most obvious, given her money troubles. But Lucy remembers some random detail confirming the bald guy who has her at gunpoint, is the real thief! He kills his buddies and then tries to kill Lucy but she totally kicks his ass.

With Franco arrested, Zoe pays Ortiz a visit in the hospital where he's being treated for his earlier stab wound. Turns out, the undercover cop was dirty and involved in the theft all along. Gotta admit, I called that one from a mile away.

I didn't find the cases all that interesting this week, but it was a fun episode overall. I think The Rookie soars when it plays to its strengths: character relationships and comedy. Those are what set it apart from other shows.

It's comfort TV and I really enjoy it but generally the criminals are some of the weaker aspects of the show, this week wasn't any different. I appreciate they try to mix things up by giving us up to 3 or 5 different criminals every week but sometimes I wish they would follow in the footsteps of other shows and focus on only 2 or maybe 3, so we could get more fleshed out stories instead of quick beats that wrap before they even get a chance to develop into something interesting.

Odds & Ends

- Lucy finds a new place to live - she really does take the former apartment of Mr. Rodriguez, bloodstains and all, for 25% off the rent!

- Chen becomes a station meme when she passes out on the job during a midnight shift and has a horror-movie worthy dream to show for it. Gas masks are always terrifying.

- When I mentioned that I'd like to see cases get more developed, this week, for example, it would have been nice to see the lesbian couple with the stolen embryo story feature more because it seemed pretty crazy but it was wrapped up so fast I got whiplash.

ABC/Eric McCandless

Favorite Lines

Lucy: Wait until it’s your turn Officer In Bed By Ten.

Angela: You’re in for a hard fall if you can’t see the difference between righteous and rigid.

Tim: You seem surprised.
Lucy: Sir, you surprise me everyday.

Tim: If it was Chen she wouldn’t get caught like this.
Talia: Sounds like a compliment.
Tim: I'm just saying, she's smarter than this.

Lucy: Friends help friends clean up crime scenes.

A new episode of The Rookie titled "Plain Clothes Day" airs February 26th.

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