The Rookie Season 3 Episode 9 Review: Amber

It was the end of an era on The Rookie Season 3 Episode 9 as two of our three original rookies were moving on…and leaving Nolan behind.

At different moments, this installment had my heart in my throat, tears in my eyes, and even produced uncontrollable laughter. That’s a testament to just how good this show can be. 

Let’s start with the Amber Alert, which definitely upped my heart rate. Lopez’s feelings were spot on for many new parents or anyone who recalls what it was like to be one.

This case is all the nightmares in my closet combined.


The performance that blew me away was Joshua Bitton as the grieving, terrified father, Ethan Cissane. 

As Ethan stood there in the street, still in his pajama pants because he had rushed his dead infant daughter to the hospital after she died of suspected SIDS and returned home only to have to explain it all to officers, was something beyond tragic. 

As he stumbled through revealing his wife’s postpartum depression and how she showed up with another baby and then disappeared, I just wanted someone to do something for him, even if it was only to put a hand on his shoulder to steady him. 

This was clearly the worst day of Ethan’s life, and Mr. Bitton relayed every horrifying, heartbreaking moment of it. It was a performance that felt so real it actually hurt to watch. 

Then there was Nolan’s professor. 

The highlight of Prof. Ryan’s ride-along was her conversations with Harper and Nolan in the car. It reminded me once again why I like Nyla Harper so much. She’s tough but respectful. She told Ryan what she thought but did it in a constructive way. 

Harper also had one of my favorite lines of the episode in this The Rookie quote

Prof. Ryan: What would you say is your biggest challenge you face day to day?
Harper: Finding a safe bathroom.

I loved it because it’s so simple yet so true. When you don’t work in an office, finding safe, accessible bathrooms can be an issue. Factor in the additional challenges faced by being a cop, and it really must be a daily struggle. 

I won’t dispute Ryan using how they rebuilt the police department in Camden, New Jersey as a possible outline for improving other police departments throughout the country. Still, as Nolan and Harper pointed out, it’s not a one size fits all scenario. 

To start with, Camden has a population of about 75,000 people. The city of Los Angeles is around 4 million! 

But it appeared she came for the ride along more out of curiosity rather than actual research as she’d already finished her book without getting the perspective of actual police officers. 

I’d been on the fence about Prof. Ryan since she first arrived on the scene, but after this development, it’s difficult not to find her a bit self-righteous or downright irksome. 

Moving on, it was fantastic to see Detective Lopez back in uniform so she could be Jackson’s training officer for his final day as a rookie. 

Jackson wasn’t kidding when he acknowledged he wouldn’t have a career if it weren’t for her. If Bradford had been Jackson’s training officer when he froze during his first firefight, his first day likely would have been his last. 

There were a lot of sweet moments between Jackson and Angela interspersed into their final shift. The best may have been when they watched the video of the baby being abducted and Jackson promising to stand guard over her and Wesley’s baby once it was born. 

Then we get to the multiple moments that made me laugh between Lucy and Tim. 

That Lucy had not just one but two copies of her list because she knew Tim would likely destroy the first was amusing. 

Chen: You know littering is a $250 fine.
Bradford: Worth it.

We don’t know how many other trainees Bradford has mentored, but from his attitude, we can guess that none of his other rookies insisted they had to process this day appropriately to get closure. 

Lucy: So you’re not going to miss riding with me at all?
Tim: It’s a job, not happy hour.

When Lucy took offense to Tim telling her she didn’t have what it took to be an undercover officer because he didn’t think she could lie well enough, part of me agreed with him. 

And then Lucy decided to prove him wrong. 

I knew what she was doing the minute she started, but that didn’t make watching Tim’s reaction any less hilarious. 

I hope none of the Lucy and Tim shippers out there got their hearts broken over this scene, and I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. I do believe Tim and Lucy could make an interesting couple, but I think that’s something for The Rookie season 4 or 5, not now. 

One of the more notable scenes was when Tim slipped up and said Lucy had been lucky as a rookie, and then quickly realized what he’d said and backtracked. 

I don’t think being abducted by a serial killer, sealed into a barrel, and buried alive constitutes lucky by any known definition. But Tim more than adequately corrected himself before Lucy had to…

Bradford: You’ve been through hell, stuff that would have broken a lot of veteran cops, but a dead kid is different. A dead kid changes you forever.
Chen: I really hope our last shift together doesn’t end with that.
Bradford: Yeah, me too.

It was clear that Bradford was extremely proud of Officer Chen. I don’t think he expected much from her in the beginning, but she more than exceeded his expectations and maybe even taught him a thing or two along the way. 

Bradford: You don’t let anyone ever tell you you can’t do something, not even me.
Chen: Yes, Sir.

Finally, there was Nolan’s mini confrontation with Sgt. Grey.

Apparently, Nolan carries around what Grey told him when he first began as a rookie…

I don’t like you, Officer Nolan. It’s not personal. I hate what you represent, a walking midlife crisis. You see, the LAPD isn’t a place for you to find yourself and I believe if you succeed my house will be flooded with middle-aged losers looking for some kind of Eat, Pray, Love path to reinvention and that will get my people killed.

Sergeant Grey

I don’t doubt that Nolan uses those remarks as motivation, but perhaps he should have waited to throw them back in Sgt. Grey’s face until after he’s actually completed his rookie training. 

So what do you think, TV Fanatics?

  • Will the show change now that two-thirds of our rookies are rookies no more?

  • Have you had a favorite rookie/training officer pairing so far? 

  • Were you as affected by the grieving father as I was?

  • Am I being too hard on Professor Ryan?

  • And was this the right time for Nolan to bring up Sgt. Grey’s disparaging remarks?

Hit that big, blue, SHOW COMMENTS button down below and tell me what you think. Then check back in for our next The Rookie review. And until then, you can watch The Rookie online here at TV Fanatic. 

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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