Commentary

New For Fall: On ABC, New FBI 'Rookie' Is A Pain In The Sass

Some of the action in the new ABC series “The Rookie: Feds” is improbable and even ludicrous, and yet you cannot help rooting for sassy, rookie FBI agent Simone Clark.

The show is a spinoff of “The Rookie” only in the sense that the novice agent character, played Niecy Nash-Betts (pictured above), was introduced in the season finale of “The Rookie” last spring.

The same crossover elements are in play in the series premiere of “The Rookie: Feds” Tuesday night as LAPD Officer John Nolan (the rookie in the title of “The Rookie” played by Nathan Fillion) shows up to assist his pal Simone just in time for a gunfight.

This particular gunfight and one or two others that occur with the same hard-to-catch gang of super-thieves are among the more unbelievable scenes in the “Rookie: Feds” pilot.

The thieves are armed with advanced, high-powered automatic weapons, while Simone and her FBI and LAPD compatriots carry mere handguns. 

And yet, time after time, the good guys miraculously dodge barrages from these machine guns as if they are faster than speeding bullets, and then prevail with their tiny pistols.

Oh, well. This occurs often in the law-enforcement space in TV Land, so why complain -- especially when one is having so much fun watching the show? 

We meet Simone at the outset of “The Rookie: Feds” as a group of students and teachers at the school where she works as a guidance counselor are throwing her a fond farewell party.

But less than two minutes into this party and the show, Simone is compelled to turn her attention to a situation outside in which one man is threatening another with a baseball bat.

And abracadabra, she defuses the situation with a little help from another rookie fed, who is set to join the FBI along with her.

The scene reveals that Simone is nothing if not resourceful, and also feisty -- two traits that she intends to bring to the FBI.

“Day One” is the title of the premiere episode of “The Rookie: Feds,” and her first day on the job soon follows this schoolyard bat incident.

But wait a minute. Unless I missed it while previewing the show last week, never it is explained in the premiere episode how this career educator and guidance counselor came to be accepted as a full-fledged (yet still inexperienced) rookie FBI agent.

Like the show from which it was spawned, the premise is that this “rookie” is the oldest rookie in the FBI. Simone’s age is not specified in the show, but Niecy Nash-Betts is 52.

When Simone first arrives at FBI headquarters, she is chagrined to learn that she is to be assigned to a bureaucratic back office instead of a new unit that handles only special, urgent cases.

But she just won’t sit still long enough to accept this mundane desk job, where her sass and street smarts will not benefit anybody. 

And so she goes and solves the whole case by herself based at least in part on intuition, and her vast knowledge of people and their behavior gleaned from her career working with children, or so she says more than once.

Yes, this actually happens. And as a result, this inexperienced rookie earns her way into one of the bureau’s most elite units on her first day.

Farfetched? You bet it is, practically from start to finish. And yet, the Simone character is so charismatic that it is nearly impossible not to like her.

“The Rookie: Feds” premieres on Tuesday (September 27) at 10 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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