The Rookie recap: A unique flashback to crime

Harper & Nolan working a true crime case. Pic credit: ABC

If there’s one consistency I love about this show, it’s that they always find a way to surprise me in the best ways. Last week it was a deep look into female support and friendships on the job. This week it was a docuseries point of view on a case that had my jaw dropping multiple times.

Let’s dive into it shall we?

True crime or true to life?

Skipping our regular format tonight, The Rookie dove into a true-to-form docuseries point of view. This involved interviewing everyone involved in the case, showing various parts of the investigation from normal camera work, body cams, and security footage.

This was done in a way that if I wasn’t already aware it is a television show, I would have thought it was a d*mn good documentary.

Starting with the case itself, it focused on a former child star, Corey of Paul’s Place, brilliantly played by guest Frankie Muniz, who was accused of murder. Specifically of his former co-star on his hit childhood show Charlotte.

The hour hand jumped back and forth at various points in time to put together the picture of what led to this truly outlandish case. Well, outlandish to me, Harper has seen stranger happenings, and given her undercover career, I can’t say I’m surprised.

However, the one thing I never expected was to go all the way back to the day L.A. had its fake missile alert.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though, beg your pardon. Corey felt slighted by Hollywood when no starring roles came his way after his hit TV show. That bitterness morphed into an acting teaching school which turned into a full-blown criminal cult.

Literally, he got actual criminals, namely a man nicknamed the Southland Stalker, to take his acting class so he could learn to fake empathy and commit murder more easily. I wish that kind of creepy were limited to television, but sadly I really doubt it is.

Talk about shivers down your spine, though.

The stealing from criminals, aka The Office’s own Rainn Wilson (hilarious as himself), and becoming a savior as it turned out was nothing more than a drive to make a freaking script work. The group talked down from suicide during the missile scare was line by line filmed and planned by Corey to prove his concept.

Talk about crazy and creepy as all get out. All of it culminated in Charlotte finding her voice and threatening to bust Corey because he was going to take sole credit for their 500-page script. As it happened, the rookies deemed the script “dense, convoluted, and the worst thing Nolan had ever read.”

So Corey’s mother decided to take matters into her own hands, by confessing to murdering and dumping Charlotte whom she’d known since she was a child. I don’t know how the Rookie finds these amazing guest actors, but the woman who played Corey’s mom was downright terrifying when she confessed to Harper.

Corey was let off charges, but karma decided to come at him by sending the accomplice of the Southland Stalker after him. The twisted accomplice decided to make his murder-debut as he was p****d Corey had convinced the locked up murderer to take all the credit.

Talk about one h*ll of an ending.

Amazing what a change in format will do

Putting aside how freaking amazing this episode’s story was and how it tied into the show’s past, I have to lay out how I loved literally every minute of it. Seriously I don’t think I’ve ever truly gasped, and jaw dropped, this much in a single hour of television in years.

First, the interviews of Harper, Nolan, Jackson, Angela, and Tim & Lucy were downright awesome. Secondly, that Nolan kept making terrible dad jokes and how he knew Corey from the show because his son loved it as a kid.

Harper being her usual straight to the truth self and literally walking off when she was done, ignoring that they had more questions. Angela’s true-to-life comments were on point, along with Jackson’s struggle with the camera for personal reasons.

Finishing with the double act of Tim & Lucy, which felt completely real to their characters in this situation. Though I admit I do love Tim and Lucy, they were the only ones interviewed together through the hour because his crankiness to her signature excitement is the best thing ever.

Sadly it was not all good things for our favorites. This cult got personal when the documentary crew busted Jackson’s now ex-boyfriend to a former follower of this crazy cult leader.

To top it off, he was also a felon whose real name is Skipper and is actually Australian. No, I’m not kidding, and while it was thrilling to hear Daniel Lissing speak in his native accent, the heartbreak from Jackson was palpable. 

When I found out last week they had broken up; it was honestly not what I expected. I was glad, as painful as it was, that there was a real explanation and reason as to why Jackson walked away. He truly cared about Sterling but lying about who you are, where you come from and your past like that is hard to forgive.

Every moment of this hour was one heck of a unique take on a true-crime documentary, and while I don’t expect to see it again, that we got to have it at all is a treat. Kudos, Rookie writers, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Final Thoughts

  • Look, whoever came up with the idea of doing an episode like a true-crime documentary deserves free ice cream for a year. This was hilarious almost every single minute and an episode I’ll be re-watching more than a few times in the future.
  • The entire concept of someone brainwashing a bunch of people into viewing himself as a savior who could do no wrong while committing crime and unspeakable acts was the best, not so subtle dig I’ve seen in a while. Kudos Rookie writers, for continuing to call things out in your own way.
  • Between Frankie Muniz as the crazy cult leader, Rainn Wilson as himself/the celebrity who got his Charlie Chaplin mummy stolen, and a cameo from ABC’s Robin Roberts, the unexpected little surprises were downright awesome.
  • On a refreshing note, Nolan pointed out that being a parent means foremost teaching right from wrong and that the consequences of following your choices were a stark contrast to the crazy mom who likely took the fall for her son’s murder.
  • I don’t care if it was literally a minute Wesley being an awesome lawyer even for a scumbag like Corey is one of a million reasons he’s awesome and a good lawyer to boot.
  • The little moments took the win this hour, starting with Lucy cracking the case after showing a video of herself dancing on social media. Which deftly ended with Michael Bay taking Corey & Charlotte’s terrible script and his mom keeping the cult running from prison claiming Corey “ascended.” Yeah, I’m sure that was his desire when his murder was broadcast on social media.
  • Why do I have to wait till March 28th to see this show again? D*mn you television airing breaks!

The Rookie airs on Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.

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