[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Rookie: Feds series premiere.]
After a backdoor pilot in The Rookie Season 4, The Rookie: Feds kicked off its official series premiere Tuesday, September 27 on ABC. There’s lots of work to be done to establish a captivating group of new characters, and Niecy Nash-Betts leads the way with energy and enthusiasm as the FBI’s oldest rookie.
The premiere begins with newly graduated Special Agent Simone Clarke bidding farewell to her high schoolers (she was a guidance counselor before her career second act) with new work bestie Brendon Acres (Kevin Zegers), an actor-turned-FBI agent whom everyone recognizes as his most famous role, Vampire Cop. Britt Robertson plays behavioral analyst extraordinaire Laura Stensen, whose private life doesn’t align with her “I see bad guys coming a mile away” role at the bureau.
Felix Solis reprises his role from the backdoor episodes as Special Agent Matthew Garza, team leader in charge of diversifying the bureau, with Frankie Faison as Simone’s father, Christopher “Cutty” Clark, a leader in his community advocating for police reform. His federal agent daughter moving into his Los Angeles home poses an interesting predicament for the dad.
One pal knows Simone has her work cut out for her: John Nolan. Nathan Fillion appears in The Rookie: Feds premiere in the first five minutes, picking up Simone from the airport on her first day in L.A.
“You set the bar pretty high the last time you were here. Question is, will the bureau give you credit for it, or are they going to make you prove yourself all over again?” the plainclothes John asks as he escorts Simone to his car. Simone thinks “Garza will,” but knows, “as a Black woman, there’s no resting on your laurels. You’ve got to armor up every day and prove you belong.” John offers his help, should she ever need it.
The answer to his question is, unfortunately, the latter. First day on the job and Simone is already facing disappointment. She’s been relegated to the background check desk instead of Garza’s task force as promised. Garza thinks her too eager to ride solo and steamroll group efforts, so she spends the episode proving she can be an asset to the team and still do things her way. Simone uses her guidance counselor expertise to pinpoint their perp quickly in a case involving the murder of a federal engineer who worked at the Pentagon and the White House.
John returns later on when Simone and her training officer, Carter Hope (James Lesure), need reinforcements. And in the scuffle, Simone proves she’s glamorously savvy when she snags some DNA off one of the killers by scratching her nails along his neck before he runs away.
In the end, the feds win the day, and Simone has made quite the impression at her new job.
The Rookie: Feds, Tuesdays, 10/9c, ABC