NEW YORK -- "The Rookie" is accused of betraying his badge when season 3 of the ABC show returns after a cliffhanger this past May.
The character played by Nathan Fillion is actually being framed by a real, dirty cop -- but even more interesting is the way this police procedural drama is meeting its moment and reflecting real events this past summer.
"After the unrest, and the protests, and the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I think we all just felt an obligation. We felt like we had to do something," said Mekia Cox, who plays opposite Fillion. "The idea is for the show's scripts to better reflect today's reality, so we of course talk about police reform which is really important."
Even though Nolan is falsely accused, he's told he has it easier because he is white. Cox's character, Nyla Harper, is fond of bending the rules, and told to stop it.
"We really spend the rest of the season talking about what's going on in our current situation, discussing systemic racism and how that affects people," Cox said.
Relevance is achieved without sacrificing the entertainment value of the show, and Cox credits the show's writers for that.
"We talk about some really heavy stuff but we are also a show that has some heart and lightness and levity, and somehow they were able to maintain the integrity of the show," Cox said. "I don't know how they did it but they did."
Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon asked Cox if she thought that the events of this summer will change the way police procedurals are done because they have been done the same way for decades.
Cox said she believes a true change on television is now possible.
"Oh definitely. Yeah," she replied. "It was a bit of a wake-up call honestly for all of us. I don't think we realized the impact that we were having."
So all involved took this opportunity to rethink "The Rookie." Cox concludes that "we no longer wanted to be part of the problem. We wanted to be part of the solution."
And, that's how this series became the right show at the right time.