It’s the first day on the job for three young women and two men who discover that all their training couldn’t prepare them for their new careers. Our heroine, who is following in the career footsteps of a troubled parent, tells us as much in the voiceover. The smallest mistake can have fatal consequences. But there will also be sex. That’s right: There’s a newbie sleeping with a superior, and by the second act, two more love interests. No, the ABC show I’m talking about isn’t Grey’s Anatomy, but if something about Rookie Blue, this summer’s young-cops-who-look-like-models series, seems a bit familiar, it’s not just you.
Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym) is supposed to be our Meredith Grey, except she’s more like that cutesy little sister that was introduced a few seasons into Grey’s Anatomy: earnest and a little clumsy and trying super hard. About five seconds into her first day, a homicide drops in her lap. While Andy’s running down suspects and giving CPR to drug addicts, too-thin gun-lover Dov (Gregory Smith) and impossibly blond Gail (Charlotte Sullivan) are relegated to the station where they do nothing but try to figure out whose job it is to search a transsexual. Marlon Brando couldn’t have made this storyline watchable.
Andy is not the only one learning “in the streets.” Chris (Travis Milne), a romantic for police work, arrives at the scene of Andy’s storyline just in time to play with police tape and learn about real cop work from his jaded partner. First lesson: Just because it’s not in the manual doesn’t mean you can’t make a deal with a prostitute on probation if she gives you information about a murder. Rounding out America’s Next Top Cop is a fifth rook, Traci (Enuka Okuma)—or “Jenny from the block,” as her partner calls her. Since she wears slutty dresses to and from work and is already sleeping with a detective, Traci must be the bad girl, right? But after she helps a little boy left in a closet in a crack house, we discover that she’s a loving single mom to boot! Can a female cop be skanky and noble at the same time? You betcha.
Despite occasional moments of solid acting on the part of Peregrym and Okuma, Rookie Blue sinks under the weight of its cheesy montages, references to the rookies as “fresh paint,” and the lack of chemistry between the main characters. Ironically enough, the only way the show will be able to stand out from the slew of gritty cop shows coming up in the next few months is to capture the intimacy of early Grey’s Anatomy.