Is ‘The Rookie’ Based on a True Story?

The Rookie, which premiered on ABC in their fall lineup of 2018, has been greenlighted for seven additional episodes in Season 1, according to Deadline. Learn more about the series and whether or not it’s based on a true story, ahead.

‘The Rookie’ premise

The Rookie centers around rookie cop, John Nolan, as he learns how to become a cop on the streets of Los Angeles.

The show focuses on Nolan and his fellow rookie officers as they go through the rigorous training process. The only catch is that Nolan is 40 years old, making him practically twice the age of the average rookie cop. On the show, he becomes the oldest rookie the department has ever had.

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At the beginning of Season 1, the audience learns why Nolan chose to become a cop in his forties. He — spoiler alert! — witnessed a bank robbery when he and his son were at their local bank.

All of the sudden they were being held at gunpoint by robbers in their home state of Pennsylvania. The experience coupled with a divorce, inspired Nolan to shut down his construction business and move to L.A. to pursue a career as an officer of the law.

Nathan Fillion plays Nolan

Nathan Fillion of ABC’s long-running hit series, Castle, plays officer John Nolan. On Castle, Fillion played a successful mystery writer who shadowed the New York Police Department to get inspiration for his books thanks to a relationship with the city’s mayor.

Nathan Fillion
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 20: Actor Nathan Fillion arrives at the CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” Celebrates 200th Episode at the Vibiana on February 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images)

In Castle, Fillion’s character falls in love with detective Kate Beckett. A storyline on The Rookie involves Nolan possibly dating an author. A little nod to Castle and Fillion’s previous role. Fillion is also known for his role on the cult show, Firefly, which he starred in before landing a role on Castle.

Is ‘The Rookie’ based on a true story?

The Rookie does have an interesting twist compared to other cop shows on TV. But is it based on a true story? The answer is yes.

Mark Gordon, now an executive producer on The Rookie, called Alexi Hawley, a former Castle executive producer and co-showrunner, according to Deadline.

Gordon told Hawley he had the life rights to a guy who moved out to L.A. to become a cop, making him the oldest rookie. “I immediately understood the potential of that character,” Hawley said. Hawley is now the creator of The Rookie.

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The conversation quickly became about whether or not Fillion would be interested after ending Castle recently. The series wrapped in 2016 and the pilot episode of The Rookie aired in the fall of 2018.

“I couldn’t say no,” Fillion told TV critics at the Television Critics Association. “This January I will have been 25 years in the business. I see an opportunity; I know what to do.”

Who is the real John Nolan?

The character of John Nolan may be based on Edward Olivares. Olivares was a rookie cop with the LAPD until he resigned in March of 1995 after four months on the force, according to the Los Angeles Times. Other rookie cops of a certain age are well documented and could also be a source of inspiration for the show.