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STUDIO: Entertainment One
RUNNING TIME: 551 minutes
- Making-of Featurette
- Cast/Crew Interviews
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage
They’re rookie cops. They’re Canadian. They’re marginally good looking. It’s another cop show!
Missy Peregrym, Gregory Smith, Charlotte Sullivan, Enuka Okuma, Travis Milne, Ben Bass, Noam Jenkins
A serviceable cop show that’s obviously set and shot in Canada (and is produced for both Canada and the United States) yet makes no mention of the name of any prominent city, Rookie Blue profiles the young recruits as they brave the mean streets of “aboot” and “eh” while dealing with their personal lives and relationships. So it’s a formula that’s been done approximately 87 million times, in other words.
I didn’t even know the police carried guns in Canada. I know that makes me 18 shades of idiotic and naive, but it’s true. In fact, I thought Canada was supposed to be a big old cuddly teddy bear when compared to the crime in the United States. I’m probably thinking of England. Not if you go by current events, that is. But I digress, loyal readers! As I soon discovered, at least in the confines of a television show, there’s crime in Canada! This is a show about new recruits embroiled in said crime and fighting it, hence the title. These recruits are Andy (Missy Peregrym), Dov (Gregory Smith), Gail (Charlotte Sullivan), Traci (Enuka Okuma) and Chris (Travis Milne). They’re instructed and led by the various veterans in the department. There’s Sam (Ben Bass) who at the beginning of the series is working an undercover deal when Andy blows his cover, being a doe-eyed rookie and all. There’s Oliver (Matt Gordon) who is the typical world-weary “I’m tired of training these newbies” type of surly cop. His half-eaten sandwich gets thrown into the back of the car when it’s time to move. And there’s Frank (Lyriq Bent) who is a lead detective and becomes romantically involved with Traci. The romantic escapades don’t stop there, as Andy becomes involved with another detective, Luke (Eric Callahan) and though they are sleeping together she doesn’t actually want to “sleep” at his house.
Missy Peregrym is pretty much front and center as the lead in playing Andy McNally, and I can’t fault her performance. She’s wide-eyed and eager and makes mistakes but learns from them. Added bonus- she’s smokin’ hot. But she’s actually a pretty strong character and in Peregrym’s surprisingly more-than-capable hands a character we can get behind. So to speak. The rest of the rookies are pretty decent as well. They’re good actors, so that’s not the problem. My biggest problem with the show is the lack of a compelling central narrative. The personal lives of the cops are very rarely delved into in any kind of intricacy. Andy has an alcoholic ex-cop father, Traci has a kid she hasn’t told anyone about, and that’s really as far as it goes. The rest is just sexual situations in between storylines about missing kids or teens doing drugs.
The back of the DVD case bills the show as “Grey’s Anatomy with guns”. Not the most re-assuring comparison, for my money. But I can understand why critics might say that. In my eyes there’s a little more focus placed on the relationships that these cops have with each other from an unprofessional standpoint rather than the police work. It’s not the first instance with a show trying to attract a young audience, and it surely won’t be the last. Don’t get me wrong in the slightest bit; there’s police work here. There are foot chases, there’s shooting, there’s taking down the bad guys. But the healthy balance is never there. Take a show like NYPD Blue as an example. The difference between that show and this one, other than the fact that they were primarily on ABC, is Dennis Franz’s ass. Besides that, though? That show felt real– this one just feels stale by comparison, even when that comparison is over a decade old. And while we’re talking about other cop shows, let’s face facts: The Wire and The Shield and Homicide have ruined cop shows for eternity. I don’t think you’ll find anyone who won’t refer to those shows as the holy grail of police work in any entertainment medium. We’re always gonna compare the new to the old, and the old is always going to win when the show in question is generic and predictable. My cynicism grows strong and I cannot block out or condone the obvious rip-offs of other shows. The point is, this show falls somewhere in between being a cop show for young people and those other shows. But way closer to the “Feisty Young Cops” aspect of things.
Who’s breaking the mold with cop shows these days? I mean, are there really any good ones left since The Shield left the airwaves? That’s both a rhetorical and serious question. The answer is a resounding “no” and I’m here to tell you why. The answer is simple: we don’t want our cop shows to be anything less than gritty and real and mean anymore. We’re tired of generic plotlines, we’ve seen every approach on the block and want something different, something fresh. That’s what The Shield was and all those other shows I mentioned. That’s what Rookie Blue is not. But maybe that’s alright once in awhile. What we have is a passable show that you might enjoy if nothing else is on, but will never become the show that you set your DVR for.]
The standard special features you’d expect are here, and the making-of featurettes entertain the notion that this is one of the “rare” cop shows where cops have a human side. Not really. There have been plenty of shows that have explored angles like those before, and no one involved with this show (nor anyone who watches it) should really think this is anything original. As I’ve said, that doesn’t make it a BAD show, just not a very interesting one.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars