Five seasons later, The Rookie is still one of the most-watched shows on ABC, so giving it a sixth season was a no-brainer for the network. With production expected to start this summer on The Rookie Season 6, the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have delayed filming for the moment.
So as fans eagerly await new episodes, here’s a look at everything we know so far about The Rookie Season 6. Spoilers ahead for season five.
The Rookie Season 6 Confirmed
ABC announced The Rookie would be renewed for Season 6 in April 2023. But the show’s renewal also comes at a time when the WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions are on strike. Production for The Rookie Season 6 was initially supposed to start in June 2023 but the strikes have prevented productions from continuing.
The Rookie premiered in 2018 and follows the story of John Nolan. John is a 40-something man who wants to become the oldest rookie cop in the LAPD following a life-changing incident. Despite skepticism and judgment from his colleagues, John proves that he’s serious about the job. In turn, John also brings about positive changes in the police department.
The story is also inspired by the true story of real-life LAPD officer William Norcross, who is also one of The Rookie’s executive producers.
The show’s fifth season made The Rookie the top of the 10 dramas ABC aired in Spring 2023. The show has also received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Stunt Coordination.
The Rookie is created and written by Alexi Hawley, who is also its showrunner. Hawley is known for his work as the producer and writer of Castle, which also starred Nathan Fillion. Other works include the spinoff The Rookie: Feds, Body of Proof, State of Affairs, The Following, and the recent Netflix show The Recruit. Fillion is also an executive producer as well as Mark Gordon, Nicholas Pepper, Michelle Chapman, Jon Steinberg, Liz Friedlander, and Norcross.
What Happened in Season 5
Season 5 of The Rookie ended with quite the twist which understandably left the fans wanting to see more. The finale saw the LAPD Mid-Wilshire Division getting ambushed by a group of masked men. The officers are attacked at different times, with Aaron Thorsen and Celina Juarez getting wounded. John and Bailey are then targeted next, with Tim and Lucy nearly getting attacked before the LAPD arrives in time.
The masked men also kidnap Nyla’s child but are luckily saved.
The group is revealed to be led by Luke Moran, who turns out not to be the mastermind behind the scheme. Tim and Lucy start to discover the truth behind the attacks, but Aaron’s fate is unknown. While Celina seems to be okay, Aaron undergoes surgery and is in a coma by the end of the finale.
The finale also showed a little bit of the actual mastermind behind the attacks. The mastermind’s speech in the Season 5 finale hinted that he’s got a target in mind.
“Weaponizing Luke Moran against the LAP has driven every cop in the city away from our target. And by the time they realize the damage we’ve done, we’ll be long gone,” the mastermind is heard saying.
The Rookie Cast
The Rookie Season 6 will still feature many of the show’s main cast. This includes Nathan Fillion as John Nolan. Before becoming John Nolan, Fillion was known for his portrayal of the titular character in another ABC show, Castle. Fillion announced in an Instagram post that he will be returning for Season 6.
The announcement also comes at a time when Fillion is also known to be playing Guy Gardner’s Green Lantern in the upcoming Superman: Legacy. Fortunately, The Rookie creator Alexi Hawley said Fillion’s role in Superman: Legacy will not interfere with filming for Season 6.
Melissa O’Neill will also be returning to The Rookie Season 6 as Lucy Chen, the former rookie who becomes an undercover officer. Other returns to Season 6 include Eric Winter as Tim Bradford, Alyssa Diaz as Angela Lopez, Mekia Cox as Nyla Harper, Richard T. Jones as Wade Gray, Lisseth Chavez as Celina Juarez, Jenna Dewan as Bailey Nune, and Shawn Ashmore as Wesley Evers.
Dewan also took to social media to express her excitement over The Rookie getting renewed. “John and Bailey have really seen some s***.! Bring it on Season 6!” wrote Dewan in her caption on Instagram.
Season 6 will introduce Kristian Bruun as the show’s new big bad, the mastermind behind the attacks in Season 5.
One character whose fate remains up in the air is Aaron Thorsen, played by Tru Valentino. Aaron was first introduced in Season 4 as a new rookie police officer that was shot in Season 5. Valentino has yet to say anything about his character’s future in the upcoming season.
Season 6 Plot
The upcoming season of The Rookie will pick up on the events of the Season 5 finale. As we said earlier, the plot was all throughout the season saw coordinated attacks on police officers. Luke Moran got arrested for the attacks, but John knew that he wasn’t responsible.
The Rookie Season 6 will likely figure out who lives and dies after that finale. Masked assailants attacked Aaron Thorsen and Celina Juarez and shot Aaron. By the Season 5 finale, Aaron was coding, so Season 6 will reveal whether Aaron made it or not. Knowing how many deaths happen in the show, it could be anyone.
It’s likely Elijah Stone may make a return appearance even after getting arrested. John and Bailey’s continued romance along with Tim and Lucy’s is also to be expected in the coming season. In fact, Bailey and Nolan may be walking down the aisle in the upcoming season.
The Rookie Season 6 Release Date Prediction
Even though it’s confirmed that The Rookie Season 6 is happening, we don’t have an official release date. Because of the strikes that are ongoing, The Rookie Season 6 will arrive much later and with only half the episodes than its usual number. This is similar to Season 3, premiering in January 2021, it only had 14 episodes because of the pandemic.
Hello! Magazine reported that Winter showed support for the SAG-AFTRA strike as he showed up at the picket lines. As the strike is ongoing, ABC is preparing a lineup of reality TV as these shows do not need writers to make scripts.
We predict a late 2024 release date for The Rookie Season 6 if the strikes resolve soon. There’s also the spinoff series, The Rookie: Feds, which premiered in 2022, focusing on the oldest rookie in the FBI Academy. The spinoff’s first season ended in May 2023, but a renewal is still unclear.
Fans can rewatch all five seasons of The Rookie and The Rookie: Feds on Hulu. The Rookie’s five seasons are also available for purchase on Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon, Vudu, and Microsoft Store.