ABC’s ‘The Rookie’ Star Talks Show, Music with The Black Press


By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Will Tim Bradford and Lucy Chen hook up? Can Angela Lopez’s fiancée Wesley Evers be a trusted father and loving husband?

The questions sound like soap opera cliffhangers, but they are not. They are some of the intrigues from the hottest drama on television, ABC’s The Rookie.

Perhaps most intriguing, Season 3 of The Rookie has pivoted to calling out racial inequities in the justice system, and the action has never been as dramatic.

“We as the actors don’t really know how things like Tim and Lucy’s relationship are going to turn out. Only the writers know,” Titus Makin Jr., who plays Officer Jackson West, told the Black Press during a live interview.

The series stars – and is executive produced by – Nathan Fillion, who plays Officer John Nolan, the oldest rookie in the Los Angeles Police Department.

The outstanding cast includes Alyssa Diaz, who plays Angela Lopez, Shawn Ashmore as Wesley Evers; Richard T. Jones as Wade Grey, Melissa O’Neil as Lucy Chen, Eric Winter as Tim Bradford, and Mekia Cox as Nyla Harper.

Makin told the Black Press that the new season’s approach to tackling racism was refreshing. He noted that in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, he wanted the show to tackle the issue that led to protests around the globe.

“I can’t go play a cop on a show and not talk about the fact that I’m a Black cop,” Makin remarked.

He said those in charge expressed a desire to address the issue head-on, and the result is as riveting a season as any cop show in history.

Makin attended the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts’ professional training program in New York before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music and entertainment.

He landed a recurring role on Fox’s hit show “Glee,” which allowed him to participate in the “Glee Live” world tour.

Makin has also appeared on “Star-Crossed,” “Game of Your Life,” and “Pretty Little Liars.”

He said The Rookie is based on an older rookie’s real-life experience in the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officers are on set to help ensure the show’s authenticity, which includes terminology rarely heard by civilians like ‘Boot,” which means rookie, and “The Shop,” which is cop-speak for a police car.

“All of the characters are based on actual people,” Makin told the Black Press. “The guy who is the rookie, he’s a cop in real life to this day and works in the Los Angeles Police Department.”

Early in the first season, Officer Chen dates the older Officer Nolan. Makin said the real-life rookie did date and eventually marry a much younger rookie.

“They had to hide it,” Makin said. “They are married now, but cops hide that because other cops will give them a hard time or hold it against you.”

So, while the wheels seem set for a hot and heavy romance between Officer Chen and Officer Bradford, Makin said he’s not counting on it because, after all, Hollywood puts its spin on certain subjects.

“The fans want it, and we in the cast are rooting for it,” Makin admitted. However, if Officer Chen reunites with Officer Nolan and eventually marries, that would reflect what happened in real life, Makin stated.

“It would make sense,” he offered.

Despite the success and popularity of The Rookie and a triumphant acting career, Makin is still creating music. He uses the moniker “Butterfly Ali,” when delivering soul hits, which he derives inspiration from heroes like Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, CeeLo Green, Andre 3000, and Pharrell.

“People are shocked. I couldn’t be more drastically different than Jackson West,” Makin proclaimed.

“I make soul and funk music, and I grew up playing the saxophone and drums. I started playing music before my acting took off. Music is just in me.”

And so is acting, where he draws inspiration from Chiwetel Ejiofor and Will Smith. When asked if his fans could expect to see him on Red Table Talk with Smith’s family, Ejiofor laughed.

“Until I have something [bad] happen in the press, no,” he offered. “I’m just gonna stay up out of there.”

ABC’s “The Rookie” can be seen each Sunday at 10 p.m.