It's been a core conceit of cop shows for decades that the ends justify the means. The idea that it's okay for law enforcement to break their own laws in the interest of catching other lawbreakers is part of the reason that procedural shows have been dubbed "cop-aganda," giving us police protagonists we are supposed to root for that too often treat the Internal Affairs Bureau as "the rat squad" rather than emphasizing how important it is to have an organization dedicated to keeping bad cops off the streets.
Last night's Season 3 premiere of The Rookie took some initial steps toward changing the way procedurals proceed by giving John Nolan (Nathan FIllion) some actual consequences in the aftermath of the mess he got himself in during the Season 2 season finale cliffhanger.
"The mindset that bad behavior is okay as long as it produces justice is a cancer, and it's long past time we treat it as such," says Sgt. Wade Grey (Richard T. Jones), before issuing a formal reprimand that likely dooms Nolan's attempts to become a detective.
The Rookie airs Sunday nights at 10:00 PM ET on ABC.
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.