The Rookie

10 Best Episodes of The Rookie

The Rookie is an American crime drama television series airing on ABC. The show follows John Nolan, a small-town guy who pursues his dream of becoming an LAPD officer after a life-altering incident. The show has been running since 2018 and is currently in its fifth season. There have been a lot of great episodes over the past five seasons. To help narrow down the selection, here are some of the best episodes of The Rookie ranked.

The show really kicks off with the pilot episode, where John Nolan sets out to pursue his dream of becoming an LAPD officer. The show does a great job of introducing the characters and setting up the premise. It's a great introduction to the show and the character of John Nolan.

Another great episode was the season one finale, "Free Fall". This episode was a great way to wrap up the first season, as it included intense action and a great cliffhanger that left viewers wanting more. It also provided a great wrap-up to the arc that had been building throughout the first season.

Warning: the following content contains spoilers!

This page was generated using automation technology and thoroughly edited and fact-checked by an editor on our editorial staff.

The Rookie - S5E22

#1 - Under Siege (Season 5 - Episode 22)

After one of their own is shot, the team suffers a series of close calls and realizes their division may be a target for a group of masked assailants.

The episode was rated 8.11 from 620 votes.

The Rookie - S1E16

#2 - Greenlight (Season 1 - Episode 16)


In this episode of The Rookie, Officer Nolan learns a lesson in respect after he arrests a gang member, leading to a chaotic situation. Officer Chen and Officer Bradford are also forced to pull over Mario Lopez, who tries to talk his way out of a traffic violation. What makes this episode so compelling is how it weaves together dynamics of respect, power, and consequence.

The episode takes an unexpected turn when it is revealed that Captain Andersen has been killed off. This unexpected twist was heartbreaking for the viewers, and left them with a sense of frustration and confusion. The writers and actors of the show deserve recognition for their excellent job in creating a story that is both lighthearted and serious at the same time. It is this perfect balance of themes that makes The Rookie such an enjoyable show.

The episode was rated 8.09 from 1518 votes.

The Rookie - S2E11

#3 - Day of Death (Season 2 - Episode 11)

In the mid-season premiere of The Rookie, Officer Nolan and the rest of the team frantically search for Officer Chen after she is abducted. Officer Lopez discovers Wesley unconscious from mixing alcohol and pills, and she is forced to keep him nearby. This episode was solid, and it was great to see Officer Chen safe at the end. One thing that stood out was the lack of music and background noise, which added to the suspense and tension.

The problem with episodes like these, where a series regular is in peril, is that the audience knows that they can’t die. This lowered the tension in the episode, and it made it a bit predictable. However, it still served as an opportunity to further develop Officer Chen's character as she deals with the trauma of the event. All in all, it was an enjoyable episode that left viewers looking forward to the next episode.

The episode was rated 7.96 from 1220 votes.

The Rookie - S2E20

#4 - The Hunt (2) (Season 2 - Episode 20)


Nolan's investigation into the suspected serial killer took a turn for the worse in the season finale of The Rookie. After finding out that the murder was connected to a highly secretive government organization, Nolan finds himself in a dangerous situation that could cost him his life and career. As the episode comes to a close, viewers are left with a cliffhanger that will leave them wanting more.

The episode was definitely a thrilling ride, leaving viewers with a nail-biting conclusion. However, some fans couldn't help but feel that the twist was a bit too predictable. Additionally, the sudden end to the season was met with much frustration from viewers, as they have to wait an entire year to find out how Nolan's story will unfold. Nevertheless, fans of the show can rest assured that The Rookie will return with more exciting and intense episodes in the future.

The episode was rated 7.93 from 1103 votes.

The Rookie - S2E19

#5 - The Q Word (1) (Season 2 - Episode 19)

In the season finale of The Rookie, officers Nolan, Chen, and West face the ultimate test as their training officers evaluate their readiness for the job. Things take a turn for the worse when one of their rookie classmates is involved in a shooting and the team uncovers some unsettling evidence. It quickly becomes evident that Nolan has been warned about Armstrong, especially after Lucy was kidnapped. As the episode unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that being too good of a cop is a red flag. The audience can sense that something is awry and the episode leaves viewers on a cliffhanger as to what is to come.

Armstrong is a character viewers were just beginning to learn about and grow to like. It is a shock that he is revealed to be the cause of the unusual evidence the team finds. It is a twist that nobody saw coming, although the clues were all there from the beginning. As the season ends, the audience is left wondering what will happen with Armstrong and how it will affect the three rookies. The Rookie is sure to be back next season with more suspense and drama than ever.

The episode was rated 7.92 from 1158 votes.

The Rookie - S1E20

#6 - Free Fall (Season 1 - Episode 20)


In the season finale of The Rookie, the rookies are preparing for a big exam to determine who will move on to the next stage of training. However, Officer Nolan and Officer Bishop are called to the scene of a murder, where they learn that the victim may be connected to a potential terrorist attack on Los Angeles. Through their investigation, they discover a virus and a potential vaccine that could make people immune. As they are trying to stop the attack, Officer Tim faints at the end of the episode, leaving fans wondering if he was affected by the virus or the vaccine. It has been an intense season and fans are left with a cliffhanger, eagerly awaiting the next season.

The episode was rated 7.92 from 1457 votes.

The Rookie - S3E14

#7 - Threshold (Season 3 - Episode 14)

In the episode of The Rookie, entitled "Threshold," Officer Nolan gets hurt while chasing down a shoplifter and the local DA wants to charge the suspect with assault, despite Nolan's wishes. Meanwhile, Lucy goes undercover and Lopez's wedding venue is seized by the FBI. To top it off, Nolan meets his new neighbor. Though the ending of this episode was not what viewers had imagined, it was still good. However, some viewers felt that the ending was unrealistic, as it seemed that at a party full of cops, nobody could see anything. Despite this, the episode overall was well done, and viewers were left with a cliffhanger that no one can believe.

The episode was rated 7.90 from 945 votes.

The Rookie - S3E1

#8 - Consequences (Season 3 - Episode 1)


The episode Consequences of the show The Rookie sees Nolan facing his biggest challenge yet as a police officer. He must come to terms with the choices he has made in pursuit of the truth. The show managed to find a good balance between fitting the cliffhanger, addressing the issue of police brutality, and not overdoing it. Michael Beach's speech was a highlight and it all fit nicely into his IA role from previous seasons.

However, some of the characters' motives felt recycled. There was a trend in the show of making independent, badass careerist women babyobsessed or pregnant, which is becoming increasingly old and disappointing. Rosalind, however, was a highlight of the episode, and viewers were relieved when Nolan did not die.

The episode was rated 7.87 from 1051 votes.

The Rookie - S2E10

#9 - The Dark Side (Season 2 - Episode 10)

In the episode "The Dark Side" of The Rookie, Officer Nolan and his team are tasked with escorting a notorious serial killer to the graves of her previously unrecovered victims. However, when they arrive, they find something even more unexpected. Officer Chen meets a seemingly perfect man who sparks her interest, and Officer Lopez worries about Wesley as his PTSD continues to increase.

The dark and dangerous nature of the episode is highlighted by the presence of the female serial killer, who has been cast in similar roles in three different shows. The suspenseful cliffhanger at the end of the episode reminded viewers of a similar one in Rookie Blue, where Gail Peck was kidnapped. It left viewers with a sense of uncertainty and worry, wondering if Lucy would be alright in the end. It's clear that the officers must now take steps to stop the serial killer, who enjoys killing without any rhyme or reason.

The episode was rated 7.86 from 1251 votes.

The Rookie - S3E5

#10 - Lockdown (Season 3 - Episode 5)


The episode of The Rookie, titled "Lockdown," follows Officer Nolan as he is taken hostage by a desperate man. As the station goes into lockdown, the team races to identify the suspect before it's too late.

Meanwhile, Officer Jackson and his training officer Officer Doug Stanton hit a roadblock in their relationship that could cost Jackson his career in the department. The B story blends so seamlessly with the A story that it's almost indistinguishable.

The episode also offers a great performance from Brandon Routh, who is really improving as an actor. There is no typecasting for this guy as he works his role with finesse. The audience was surprised with Officer West's clever use of the bodycam to activate it and save the day. It was a great realization for Nolan to come to at the end of the episode, giving him a new direction for his career.

The episode was rated 7.84 from 981 votes.

The Rookie - S1E9

#11 - Standoff (Season 1 - Episode 9)

This episode of The Rookie was a solid one with great drama and suspense. Officer Bradford is determined to catch the man responsible for shooting his wife, Isabel, while Officer Nolan must protect his home and the truth after a home invasion attack. The technical issues that the show has been having with body cams were still present in this episode, but the fact that I'm even focusing on that issue shows how great this episode was. The stakes were high in both the major and minor plotlines, and I found myself caring about the episodic characters. Even the B-Plot was interesting, showing a theme of truth setting you free, but only Officer Nolan believes that. In the end, this episode did everything that MacGyver's episode did wrong, making it one of my top 5 of the season.

The episode was rated 7.82 from 1535 votes.

The Rookie - S4E7

#12 - Fire Fight (Season 4 - Episode 7)


The episode Fire Fight of The Rookie was filled with excitement and intensity. Officer Nolan and Bailey investigate Fred's suspicious death and make a shocking discovery. Meanwhile, Officer Chen and Bradford challenge each other to a treasure hunt rematch and enlist Officer Grey to help set the terms of the bet. As they carry out a series of arrests, Wesley finds himself struggling to keep it together with the pressure of being in debt to Elijah.

The episode also had its humorous moments as the bad guy repeatedly misses his shots at Officer Nolan, despite being in close proximity. The Firefly reference with the harmonica was a nice touch as well. As for John, his poker face needs some work as he often gets caught by the bad guys.

The episode was rated 7.81 from 937 votes.

The Rookie - S2E17

#13 - Control (Season 2 - Episode 17)

Officer Nolan's relationship with his first confidential informant is tested when he discovers her back on the street dealing drugs in the episode, Control. Meanwhile, Lucy's fear of dating following her abduction, and her intrusion into Jackson's relationship threatens their friendship. This episode was on par with the fourteenth episode, where patrol officers go up against ex-military soldiers, in terms of excitement and stakes. Though the plotline regarding Lucy, Jackson and Sterling didn't feel as engaging as the rest, it was still an important plot point that continued to move forward. Furthermore, the plotline involving a little girl teaching Chen how to stop the bleeding was a sweet moment for viewers to enjoy.

The episode was rated 7.81 from 1108 votes.

The Rookie - S2E8

#14 - Clean Cut (Season 2 - Episode 8)


Officer Nolan kicks off his birthday by babysitting a crime scene at a law office in the episode Clean Cut of the show The Rookie. Meanwhile, Officer Bradford and Officer West are set to receive special awards, and Sgt. Grey rides patrol with Officer Harper after she requests an early annual evaluation. This episode is one of the lighter episodes of the show, and every storyline was well served. It is also interesting to note that the cast is really expanding this season, introducing characters such as Alan Tudyuk and Sara Rue. While there were some unfortunate ad placements, viewers were also treated to a little Firefly reunion. All in all, Clean Cut was a delightful and well-rounded episode of The Rookie.

The episode was rated 7.80 from 1239 votes.

The Rookie - S5E1

#15 - Double Down (Season 5 - Episode 1)

The Rookie episode, Double Down, features Officer John Nolan as he comes face-to-face with serial killer Rosalind. Meanwhile, Officers Bradford and Chen work undercover with Detective Lopez and the Las Vegas Police Department to take down leaders of a major criminal enterprise. This episode has been met with mixed reviews as some viewers are put off by the ever-increasing unrealistic plot, while others are more accepting of the show's direction.

Detective Lopez and the Las Vegas Police Department have their work cut out for them as they tackle a major criminal enterprise, and it will be interesting to see how Officer Nolan's story progresses with Rosalind. Viewers have been hoping that the Rosalind-plot will come to a close soon, as the episode was received positively and has been compared favourably to last season's finale.

The episode was rated 7.80 from 817 votes.

The Rookie - S2E18

#16 - Under the Gun (Season 2 - Episode 18)


The episode Under the Gun of the show The Rookie had an uneven tone and the writing was a complete mess. Officers Nolan and Harper are tasked with escorting four juvenile offenders to a Scared Straight program at a correctional facility that quickly becomes a riotous situation. Meanwhile, Nolan is uncertain about his relationship with Grace after she fails to introduce him to her ex-husband. The riot plot was hilariously convenient and absurd in how it was playing out. The algorithm plot was also garbage and the writers tried to cram too many storylines into a single episode. Tim's girlfriend calling the shots too soon was very obvious and Nolan and Grace's relationship was out of the blue and boring. It was not the best balance between cop-life and personal-life and viewers were not interested in any of the storylines. This episode was not engaging and was the least favorite of the season for many viewers.

The episode was rated 7.79 from 1126 votes.

The Rookie - S5E13

#17 - Daddy Cop (Season 5 - Episode 13)

In the episode Daddy Cop of The Rookie, Officer John Nolan and Aaron follow large leads after discovering criminals hiding at the station. Officer Chen makes an alarming discovery after being called to a scene where a pungent smell has wreaked havoc. Meanwhile, Lucy and Harper scheme to get Tim out of his new job and into a more exciting position. Fans of the show love Lucy for what she did for Tim, and the lighthearted episodes which put a smile on their faces. There is some confusion as to why Nolan put down his mask when he found Celina, as he could have been poisoned by the dust. Nevertheless, viewers enjoyed the effort put in by Lucy and Harper to help Tim get a better job.

The episode was rated 7.79 from 666 votes.

The Rookie - S5E4

#18 - The Choice (I) (Season 5 - Episode 4)


In The Choice, the episode of The Rookie, Rosalind returns with a vengeance and Bailey's life is left hanging in the balance. In order to save her, the LAPD and the FBI join forces, and Officer John Nolan is forced to make a deadly decision after a harrowing ultimatum. Unfortunately, the realism of the episode has been called into question with some viewers pointing out a notable goof in the episode, as well as the unrealistic choice of having law enforcement follow John into the parking garage. Furthermore, the β€œfreeze” command used by law enforcement has been cited as a pet peeve, as it’s usually used to setup a chase scene. Despite this, viewers have praised Fillion's acting in his 'decision' scene. Despite some of the unrealistic elements of the episode, viewers have expressed their appreciation for many of the characters and have decided to stick with the show, though if the issues persist, they may look for something better with their time.

The episode was rated 7.79 from 788 votes.

The Rookie - S1E15

#19 - Manhunt (Season 1 - Episode 15)

In the episode "Manhunt" of the show The Rookie, Officer Nolan must track down an escaped convict in the wake of a prison bus crash. As some inmates suffer from severe injuries, others take advantage of the situation to flee. Throughout the episode, Nolan attempts to impress an FBI hostage negotiator as he climbs the ranks of the police force. Jessica Russo, played by Sarah Shahi, is a recurring role in the show that viewers can look forward to seeing more from.

The episode is praised by viewers for its amazing cast and storylines. Nolan is often written as the rookie who does the best in every episode, which is no different in "Manhunt". In this episode, the hunt for escaped prisoners is on with all the drama stemming from not running over a coyote.

The episode was rated 7.79 from 1458 votes.

The Rookie - S1E8

#20 - Time of Death (Season 1 - Episode 8)


Nolan and Bishop respond to a silent alarm call at a local convenience store where two men are attempting to rob the place. Bishop helps coordinate a drug bust that hits a little too close to home for Bradford.

The episode was rated 7.78 from 1568 votes.


Last updated: aug 22, 2023

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