Judge Patrick Bromley has a wife and kids at home, and he's only two weeks away from retirement.
Be careful what you wish for.
With three seasons now behind them, can this show really be called Rookie Blue anymore?
Facts of the Case
Here are the 13 episodes that make up Rookie Blue: Season Three:
• "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"
• "Class Dismissed"
• "A Good Shoot"
• "Girls' Night Out"
• "Messy Houses"
• "Coming Home"
• "Leap of Faith"
• "The Girlfriend Experience"
• "Out of Time"
• "Cold Comforts"
• "The Rules"
• "Every Man"
• "I Never"
The arrival of summer means another season of ABC's Rookie Blue, an ensemble cop drama set and shot in Toronto and co-produced with Global Canada. It's a show that basically began its life as Grey's Anatomy set in a police station and has never strayed too far from that formula; the characters face a weekly crisis and hook up with one another, all of which is given equal import. It's not really a show that I would demand anyone watch, but I'm happy it's still on the air. It's one of the few things I like to watch in the summer.
Rookie Blue: Season Three goes a little "darker" than the past seasons, which makes sense—the rookies have found their footing and been on the force long enough that their assignments have gotten tougher. The stakes have to be raised. These are people who put themselves in harm's way on a daily basis, so it stands to reason that harm might eventually come to them. I can't really fault the writers for wanting to push the drama harder and take the show in a different direction, but it also goes against a lot of what I have liked about the series in the past. Part of Rookie Blue's charm was the way that it just focused on cops doing their jobs. There was danger and there were hard cases, but there was also tedium and day-to-day work that felt authentic and made it more acceptable when the characters would get a little wrapped up in their romantic lives. Introducing a new major crisis every week pushes the show further into Grey's Anatomy territory, and that's not a place any TV series should go.
There's still a lot to like about the show—specifically the ensemble cast, which continues to be incredibly appealing. While it would be easy for the actors to turn their characters into simplistic types (he's this cop, she's this one), that temptation is almost always avoided. These are characters with dimensions to them, brought to life by likable actors who don't overplay their parts, even when the drama gets heavy. Gregory Smith continues to be the strongest member of the ensemble, and his multi-episode arc in the firs third of Season Three gives him the best material he's had yet on the show. That's about as heavy as the show ought to go, and I like how the storyline continues to echo throughout the rest of the season, even when Dov has ceased to be the focal point of the show. Missy Peregrym, ostensibly the lead of the series—though it really is an ensemble, to its benefit—continues to improve as an actor and is incredibly appealing even when Rookie Blue makes the mistake of finally paying off nearly two seasons' worth of romantic tension and then drives a wedge between the characters just to keep the drama going. Just once, it would be nice for a series that spends a ton of time building up a romantic relationship between two characters to not break them up immediately after finally getting them together.
For the first time, a season of Rookie Blue is not being released on Blu-ray at all, meaning the DVD of Rookie Blue: Season Three is all we're going to get. While that's frustrating from a collecting standpoint (now the seasons won't all match on the shelf), the sales of previous seasons must not have been strong enough to warrant a release on multiple formats. Thankfully, E1's DVD set gets the job done well enough, offering all 13 episodes of Season Three in 1.78 anamorphic widescreen that, while not as good as HD, look nice—natural skin tones, solid color reproduction and no visible flaws make for a transfer that should keep fans happy. The 5.1 surround track puts the dialogue front and center and uses the surround channels sparingly but effectively, filling out the audio palette with music and ambient effects—sirens, crowd noises, etc. The collection skimps on the bonus features a little, offering only seven short featurettes the cover different aspects of the series and a couple of cast interviews. No commentaries, no deleted scenes, nothing else.
While formulaic and mostly predictable, Rookie Blue remains one of the saving graces of the summer TV season. A good ensemble and a focus on characters just trying to do a day-to-day job go a long way, and that's always been the show's strong suit. Season Three gets a little more melodramatic than past seasons, probably because the creative team wants to raise the stakes instead of spinning their wheels after three years on the air. It's not the best season the show has had, but it's still an engaging 13 episodes with some of my favorite Canadians this side of Stargate Atlantis.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: E1 Entertainment
Review content copyright © 2013 Patrick Bromley; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.