When “Mad Men” ended, there was a massive collective mourning. The same goes for “Parks and Recreation,” “Breaking Bad” and others. These are shows that changed television in some way or another, and are certainly deserving of all the heartfelt odes that were written for their finales. But not every show is trying to be quite so ambitious, and when they end, the TV critics of the world don’t tend to mark their demise. Such is the fate of “Rookie Blue,” which might have wrapped up its run last night.
The show tells the story of Andy McNally, a young cop in an anonymous city that is clearly Toronto but will never be acknowledged as such. With her close group of phenomenally attractive friends and colleagues, she learned how to be a good cop over the course of six seasons.
This was not “The Wire,” though, as a cop show, it certainly dealt with its share of drug-related crimes, and it regularly shaded its criminals with some degree of sympathy. It was closer in tone to more lighthearted episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy,” with the love lives of the unusually good looking cops playing as big a role as the crimes (seriously, everyone on this show came from some kind of Canadian assembly line of hotties with magnificent cheekbones).
It did get dark, from time to time. These were police officers, and they were regularly in peril from violent criminals and terror attacks. They were kidnapped and beaten. Some of them died over the course of the show’s run. But despite all of that, most of the enjoyment of the show came from the sense of camaraderie among the show’s core ensemble.
Andy, as played by Missy Peregrym, was goofy and funny, even when she was heartbroken, and the show lucked into one of those actor pairings of intense chemistry in her on and off beau Sam Swarek, as played by Ben Bass. The duo broke up and made up repeatedly, which got a little frustrating over the seasons, but was redeemed by the fact that the actors worked very, very well together. Bass and Peregrym are unlikely to get the kudos that say, Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey did for their love story, but credit where credit is due: The two of them somehow maintained an onscreen passion for each other that was never less than believable, and chemistry is a strange, difficult thing to predict.
But Andy’s life was filled with more than just her troubled, brilliant boyfriend. Her core group of friends stayed much the same over the course of the show, from Traci (Enuka Okuma), who was her best friend in the pilot and then her maid of honor in the finale, to Dov Epstein (Gregory Smith), her platonic pal, intense and ambitious, who had his own long-term BFF in Chris Diaz (Travis Milne), and was rewarded with a promotion to detective at the end of the show. And then there was Gail Peck (Charlotte Sullivan), whose story ended up being slightly more dramatic and unresolved than her friends by the end of the show. The love of her life moved away, she was forced to back out of adopting the child she loved, and her brother had recently admitted to being a crooked cop involved in a corruption deal that went all the way to the top. Just another day in the life of a cop on "Rookie Blue."
But sadly it seems like we’ll never learn exactly what might have happened with poor Gail. ABC has made no announcements about the show, and the showrunner, Tassie Cameron, has departed. Even if ABC does bring it back, it might not be the same show, and watching a version of it without its trademark loose, shaggy charm wouldn’t be worth it. All the same, summer just won’t be summer without an episode or two of “Rookie Blue” waiting on the DVR. The golden age of television is all well and good, but there should always be a home for shows that just want you to hang out for an hour with funny, compelling people during a heat wave.