Castle star Nathan Fillion is officially back on ABC with a new light crime drama series. The network has given a formal series order to Fillion’s pilot The Rookie, from former Castle executive producer/co-showrunner Alexi Hawley, Entertainment One and ABC Studios. It marks the second new ABC series picked up for next season, joining The Goldbergs spinoff.
In a competitive situation, ABC nabbed The Rookie pitch in October from the Mark Gordon Company with a straight-to-series order. (The MGC has since been fully acquired by eOne, with Gordon becoming eOne’s President and CCO). But like the previous star-driven Mark Gordon project with a straight-to-series commitment, drama Designated Survivor, toplined by Kiefer Sutherland, ABC still had the right to make a final decision after seeing the pilot. I hear the deadline for that was today, and the network has exercised its option to go to series.
Written by Hawley, The Rookie is inspired by a true story. Fillion plays John Nolan, the oldest rookie in the LAPD. Starting over isn’t easy, especially for small town guy John Nolan who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of being an LAPD officer. As the force’s oldest rookie, he’s met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis. If he can’t keep up with the young cops and the criminals, he’ll be risking lives including his own. But if he can use his life experience, determination and sense of humor to give him an edge, he may just become a success in this new chapter of his life. (watch the series’ first teaser below)
Co-starring in the series are Alyssa Diaz as Angela Lopez, Richard T. Jones as Sergeant Wade Grey, Titus Makin as Jackson West, Mercedes Mason as Captain Zoe Andersen, Melissa O’Neil as Lucy Chen, Afton Williamson as Talia Bishop and Eric Winter as Tim Bradford.
Hawley, Fillion and Gordon executive produce with Michelle Chapman and Jon Steinberg. Liz Friedlander directed and executive produced the pilot episode. eOne is the lead studio on the series, a co-production with ABC Studios, with eOne handling international rights.
In addition to Designated Survivor at ABC, Gordon also executive produces ABC drama Quantico — both are currently on the bubble — as well as veteran Grey’s Anatomy, already renewed for next season.
ABC has been looking for another character-driven light procedural in the vein of Castle. Since Castle‘s shocking cancelation in May 2016 after eight seasons, Fillion returned to ABC with a recurring stint on flagship comedy series Modern Family last season. He also had a role on Season 2 of Netflix’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Hawley got his break on Castle where he was a writer from 2009-12, landing his first producer credit. After some time away, he returned to the series as executive producer/co-showrunner at the beginning of Season 8. He also served as executive producer/co-showrunner on The Following and created NBC’s State Of Affairs.