‘Castle’s’ Nathan Fillion becomes ‘The Rookie’ in new ABC police drama

‘Castle’ alum returns to series work in ABC police drama

Nathan Fillion stars in “The Rookie,” premiering Tuesday, Oct. 16, on ABC.

ABC clearly wanted to stay in business with Nathan Fillion.

The network canceled “Castle” in 2016 after eight seasons, but continued to employ the actor in such series as “Modern Family” and “American Housewife,” paving a path to another show of his own: “The Rookie,” which premieres Tuesday, Oct. 16. Fillion stars as John Nolan, whose brush with mortality prompts him to become a police officer, though he’s well past the age when such a career typically begins. Viewed skeptically by his peers, he’s determined to prove himself … a constant challenge.

Fillion reflects that he likens “The Rookie” to “a new norm that we are experiencing culturally. I remember when marriage was the norm, and then divorce became the norm, and now it’s the do-over … the reboot. Now it’s, ‘I got fired. What’s my next job going to be? I’m no longer a dad. I’m no longer a husband. Now what am I?’ And I think this is relatable in that sense. I don’t think everybody is going to become a rookie cop, but I think there are a lot of people who are either having this reinvention experience or at least know someone who has.”

With Richard T. Jones (“Judging Amy”) and Mercedes Mason (“Fear the Walking Dead”) among the supporting players, “The Rookie” reunites Fillion with series creator Alexi Hawley, who started on “Castle” as a writer and eventually became one of its executive producers.

Fillion says that after Hawley pitched “The Rookie” to him, he thought, “If you know who you are going to be working for, who you are going to be working with, and you know that you can rely on their talent, and you know you can respect the way they work, it takes a lot of the guesswork and a lot of the tension out of a decision. I know I can bank on Alexi.

“I accepted this job before the script was even written,” adds Fillion. “That was new for me, a first. Here I am, at 47 years old, still experiencing firsts. I love it.”

Fillion knows the general feeling of being a rookie. He notes, “I was on a soap opera (‘One Life to Live’). I think if there is any kind of like intense training for acting, daytime drama is what that is. You make a 44-minute program every day of the week; sometimes more than that.

“It’s a lot to do, and it’s hard work … but by the end of it, you are ready to attack anything. Not a day goes by in this career of mine where I don’t use something I learned on the soap in front of or behind the camera.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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