[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers from the winter finale of The Rookie, so if you aren’t as informed as crime lord Elijah, you might want to come back after you’ve watched the episode.]
Emotions ran high—and storylines seemingly ran their course—in tonight’s midseason finale, “Breakdown.” As the LAPD mobilized to help deputy D.A. Wes (Shawn Ashmore) from his dirty deal with drug dealer Elijah (Brandon Jay McLaren), the career criminal found himself in the crosshairs of the late La Fiera’s second-in-command.
On the personal front, Tim (Eric Winter) paid a heartbreaking visit to his dying, abusive father (James Remar) for the least Hallmark moment ever and Harper (Mekia Cox) took the low road to keep her ex (Enver Gjokaj) from moving away with their daughter. Oh, and Nolan (Nathan Fillion) introduced his son (remotely) to Bailey (Jenna Dewan) while also toying with popping the question. That is, until the hour’s final seconds when the couple’s romantic outdoor-cafe convo was abruptly interrupted by her husband.
Yeah, our jaws were on the floor too. Worse yet, the guy was fresh out of jail! Whaaaaat?! We rang up showrunner Alexi Hawley to find out what the hell just happened and, tbh, to make sure that Wes was finally out of harm’s way after spending the past few months on the wrong side of a murderous scumbag.
OK, so first things first. Halfway through the season, I really started getting worried about Wesley…
Alexi Hawley: I know. I’ve seen you on Twitter like, “Don’t you kill him.” [Laughs]
Yeah, you cannot kill Shawn Ashmore! But what is this going to do to him and Lopez (Alyssa Diaz)? It feels like his Elijah crisis is resolved, but now we have to have the emotional resolution of him stepping over the line.
Yeah. Look, I mean, what we’ve really been leaning into really since last season, obviously with all the issues about policing, is that there are consequences to actions, especially actions like going rogue or that kind of stuff. So even though the threat from Elijah is over, we are carrying through with “What are the consequences of him breaching his ethical relationship with the client?” and “How does that affect his relationship with Lopez?”
And professionally, what does this do for him within the LAPD because it’s not a secret anymore. I mean, the entire squad now knows.
Right, exactly. So, look, he’s going to come up before the Bar Association and ultimately, I don’t want to spoil it for everybody else but I mean, he’s going to [have consequences].
So, when you guys come back, is there going to be any time jump or are you picking up?
No, we’re literally back into the same scene. We’ve got to come back to that.
Yes you do! And I love there was just a little mention of “When did you get out?”
[Laughs] Right. Yes.
What kind of guy is this Jason?
He’s not a good guy. I mean, we love Bailey and so there’s clearly got to be a reason why this has been a secret for her. Again, it ties into her intimacy issues and her relationship issues but what kind of a relationship was it, what kind of a guy was she married to that she would run away from him so hard that she wouldn’t even talk about him? That’s really what we’re going to get into in the next few episodes.
And now you have tied up so much in this episode. You took care of all of the big bads. Even La Fiera’s Second has said like, “All right, we’re good. I’m out,” and then Elijah’s gone. What’s the next threat looming?
I’d say “Gone for now.” We have a tendency to bring people back around…I wouldn’t put a pin in Elijah yet. There’s always a world in which he can come back down the road.
That was the thing I was worried about. He can reach out from prison.
Yeah. Or even get out on bail maybe. I mean, we’re still talking about what that might be. I’m trying to think about big threats down the road. There’s just always something on the show that comes around. And I do think that obviously, Bailey’s husband being around, that is actually [a problem for] the next two episodes after this.
Okay. And now the Harper stuff with her ex-husband was kind of hard to watch. Especially because she might not be completely right.
Absolutely. And it was interesting that Nolan was the one who pushed her to cross that line because he’s always been the Boy Scout on the show. And if you remember all the way back to Season 1, when he and Lucy (Melissa O’Neil) were still a thing and then the guy attacked Nolan in his house…they kept a secret and he’s the one who wanted to tell the truth and Lucy was like, “Are you crazy? We’ll both get fired. That won’t do anybody any good?” So, to have Nolan come around and say, “You actually need to do the bad guy here, you need to fight for your kid,” I thought was unexpected and also really powerful.
There was a point in the season where you played like there was a possibility of Harper and her ex reconnecting.
Is that still on the table?
No, I think this bridge has been set on fire between the two of them. Like this really is it.
And then Bradford, the exit line to his dad. Damn, that was dark.
Yeah. I really didn’t want do some like “Here’s closure, get back with his father” sort of thing. I just thought that was really not real and also unfair to anybody who’d gone through that sort of experience that he’s gone through. Like, it isn’t neat. There isn’t an end that feels good about it. What I loved is that he actually found closure with his sister about it, that this brought them together. But yeah, I mean, look, I don’t know if there’s been an exit line on a father-son relationship that ended with, “I hope it hurts.” Like, about his dying.
It was brutal. Then the scene with Lucy afterwards. I know everyone wants them to hook up, but it felt like their hug is actually more important than a kiss right now.
Yes. I think the intimacy that we’ve got gotten with them over these seasons, by not going to a romantic place, for me anyway, has been super powerful. And I think the tension that exists, as we all know from those Will They, Won’t They-type relationships is really, it’s a spark. And I just love what it does to us to keep that alive.
But don’t think my writers’ room isn’t plotting ways to put them together immediately. [Laughs] I’m still trying to navigate the best way to tell their story and what’s the best way to that relationship.
Well, we’re definitely earning that moment. As far as Nolan and Bailey, they’re great but a proposal?
Right. I mean, he wasn’t planning to actually propose at the end of the episode. I think him just saying, “I’m in love with you” is a big step. We have to remember, this is a guy who’s married for 20 years and in the world of the show, he’s only been divorced for a little under two years, right? Somehow they were rookies for three seasons. [Laughs] So, the Ali Larter and Sarah Shahi relationships were almost rebounds from his marriage and this is the first time he’s been with a woman where he’s like, “Oh yeah, no, this is real and there’s something here.”
When did you start to see how much chemistry those two have together? Because it is delightful. Ever since her introduction, everything since then, even just their conversations, feel so natural.
Right from the very beginning, I mean it’s been so rewarding and I love that we are constantly learning something else that she does. She’s a firefighter. She’s an army reservist. She’s a Capoeira instructor. She races motorcycles…
[Laughs] She’s married. Exactly. So to me, the fun is that we’re just constantly finding out something else that she does or she’s good at. And yeah, they just have such an easy chemistry. It’s great and she’s so lovely to work with. It’s been a joy to have her in the show.
I’m super into it. Now just keep Wes safe and we’ll talk again.
Yes. OK. I can do that. [Laughs]
The Rookie, Sundays, 10/9c, ABC