'The Rookie:' 'Castle' Star Nathan Fillion Returns to ABC and Fictional Police Work

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11 October 2018

ABC, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 10:00 PM ET

By Jeff Pfeiffer

Fan favorite actor Nathan Fillion’s last regularly starring lead television role was in ABC’s beloved 2009-16 drama Castle, in which he played a mystery writer helping police solve crimes. In his return to the network and to a starring role with the new drama The Rookie, premiering Tuesday, Fillion is again fighting crime — but this time, his character is actually one of the heroes in blue.

In this series inspired by actual events, Fillion plays John Nolan, a 40-something man who, after a life-altering incident, decides to pursue his dream of becoming an LAPD officer. Naturally, as the force’s oldest rookie (his fellow rookies are all in their 20s), Nolan is met with skepticism from some higher-ups, who view him as just a guy with a midlife crisis who might end up putting others at risk. But he hopes to show them otherwise and make sure his second shot at life counts.

“This is, I feel, a new norm that we are experiencing culturally,” Fillion said at a press conference. “It’s the ‘do-over.’ It’s the ‘reboot.’ It’s the ‘I got fired. What’s my next job going to be?’ It’s ‘I’m no longer a dad. I’m no longer a husband. Now what am I?’”

It’s fitting that a fun and genial actor like Fillion can put his trademark charm, wit and humanity on display here — especially during the physical scenes in which Nolan is seen out of breath or otherwise physically showing his age, to which Fillion could certainly relate.

“Six pounds of Epsom salt,” the 47-year-old actor quipped about what he needed after one particularly rough day of shooting. “[For] bruises up and down my thighs. … Listen, I’m at the point in my life where, if I can have a stunt guy run down the street for me, these knees will appreciate it.”

Beyond sympathizing with Nolan’s physical pains, Fillion is also able to look at the premise of The Rookie and find perspective in terms of his own long and successful acting career. “This January, guys,” Fillion pointed out to reporters, “[I’ll have] 25 years in the business. … You find yourself playing somebody’s son, and then somebody’s brother. And then maybe all of a sudden now you are married, now you have a baby. And then your baby is actually 14, and then she grows to 22, and now you are the oldest.

“That’s your jam now. That’s your title, ‘the oldest.’ That happens. [And] I feel fortunate that I still feel a little bit relevant.”
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