The Rookie is an ABC crime drama that started airing in 2018 and follows John Nolan, a 45-year-old LAPD recruit. The story showcases his struggles as the oldest rookie on the force.
Watching Nolan navigating new situations, and plenty of challenges as he proves his worth is worth the watch.
However, The Rookie isn’t the only show worth watching. There are many other great TV series that offer a similar experience, and we are here to introduce you to them.
1. The Mentalist (2008-2015)
Stream on Max
The Rookie and The Mentalist share a common theme. In The Rookie, we follow a middle-aged man who discovers his talent for law enforcement, providing comic relief throughout the journey. Similarly, The Mentalist features Patrick Jane, a former fake psychic, now working at the California Bureau of Investigation.
Both shows, feature character-driven narratives and infuse a unique sense of humor into their portrayal of high-stakes crimes. The protagonists in both series undergo significant life changes as they transition into law enforcement, influenced by dramatic events in their personal lives. The Mentalist makes a great choice for viewers seeking similar shows like The Rookie.
2. The Closer (2005-2012)
Stream on DirectTV/ Amazon Prime Video
In The Closer, Kyra Sedgwick takes on the role of LAPD Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, an experienced interrogator with CIA training who is known for her ability to extract confessions from even the most uncooperative suspects. The show garnered numerous wins and award nominations, particularly recognizing Sedgwick’s outstanding performance, making Brenda a memorable character.
Similar to The Rookie, this series delves into the daily lives of Los Angeles law enforcement officials, shedding light on the personal interactions and challenges they face. Both shows explore the nuances of policing and its impact on both the public and the officers. The Closer features Mary McDonnell reprising her role as Captain Sharon Raydor, leading the Major Crimes Division after Brenda Leigh Johnson’s departure.
3. NCIS (2003-)
Stream on Paramount Plus
NCIS isn’t your typical crime drama and started as a spin-off of the legal show JAG, dating back to 1995. Instead of focusing on regular police officers, NCIS takes place in Washington D.C., and follows the story of the special agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Since its debut in 2003, the show has become a hit. NCIS features a talented cast, including Sasha Alexander, Mark Harmon, Pauley Perrette, and Wilmer Valderrama.
Similar to The Rookie, NCIS recognizes the importance of characters in driving the show’s success. While the crimes are intriguing, it’s the colorful personalities that keep viewers coming back. Both shows strike a balance between intense crime stories and lighter, comedic moments. NCIS stands out as one of the best police procedurals that every TV enthusiast should watch.
4. Castle (2009-2016)
Stream on Hulu
Castle revolves around the life of Richard Castle, a mystery writer who gets involved in a real-life murder case, resembling one from his books. Paired with Detective Kate Beckett, they tackle unusual cases. This show is the perfect blend of drama and comedy.
The Castle focuses on Richard Castle, a distinctive lead character, played by Nathan Fillion. Other actors present in the show are Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Molly Quinn, and Susan Sullivan. At the core of the show is the dynamic relationship between Beckett and Castle. This emphasis on personal drama adds depth to the series, setting it apart from other police procedurals. The show’s success is evident in its numerous wins and award nominations.
5. FBI (2018- )
Stream on Paramount Plus
FBI is one of the best police procedural dramas you will ever watch. The show follows special agents Omar Adom Zidan and Maggie Bell at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the New York office, addressing a wide range of criminals and threats across the United States.
The series delivers intense, fast-paced action, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. While it may lack the quirky humor of The Rookie, FBI distinguishes itself with an efficient narrative. Zeeko Zaki and Missy Peregrym shine in their lead roles. Additionally, the FBI has two spin-offs: FBI: International and FBI: Most Wanted. So, if you are done watching The Rookie, you can shift your attention to this series.
6. 9-1-1 (2018- )
Stream on Hulu
9-1-1 and The Rookie share many similarities. Both the shows released in 2018, offer a contemporary perspective on emergency services. They not only showcase the professional challenges of their characters but also dive into their personal lives, exploring how the two aspects intertwine.
However, 9-1-1 sets itself apart by focusing on a broader spectrum of first responders, including paramedics, firefighters, and police officers. This allows the series to depict the collaborative efforts of these departments and the chaotic situations that arise when different personalities are forced to work together. The show features a star-studded cast with Aisha Hinds, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Angela Bassett.
7. L.A.’s Finest (2019-2020)
Stream on DirectTV/Amazon Prime Video
LA’s Finest may have only lasted for two seasons, but it delivered a perfect blend of drama and comedy which makes it an excellent choice for viewers seeking shows similar to The Rookie. L.A.’s Finest is a spinoff of the popular Bad Boys films and revolves around two female detectives with intriguing pasts. They team up to take down major criminals in Los Angeles.
This show offers a more action-packed experience. Like The Rookie, it features engaging cases and a character-driven narrative. Although the series has a bit of a shaky start, it eventually finds its way. Fans who appreciate The Rookie will enjoy watching the complex lives of the characters in L.A.’s Finest.
8. Southland (2009-2013)
Stream on Tubi
In both Southland and The Rookie, the story unfolds in Los Angeles. Southland stands out as one of the top shows similar to The Rookie, as both series share the theme of a rookie cop navigating the challenges of law enforcement. The LAPD rookie, Ben Sherman, starts questioning his role in the squad when paired with an old-school cop.
While Southland doesn’t paint as positive a picture of police work as The Rookie does, it captivates viewers with an exciting drama that relies on well-developed characters to drive the narrative. The straightforward approach of the show allows it to explore darker themes without hesitation, and depict the less glamorous aspects of law enforcement. Despite Southland taking a more serious tone, it shares a similar premise with The Rookie.
9. Blue Bloods (2010- )
Stream on Paramount Plus
Blue Bloods is a police procedural created by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess. It features Tom Selleck, known for his role in Magnum, P.I. The Reagan family, connected to New York’s law enforcement, includes Frank’s father and his children.
Despite differences in setting, Blue Bloods shares similarities with The Rookie. Both shows delve into the personal lives of police officers and how they work with other professionals. According to TV by the Numbers, Blue Bloods has received numerous award nominations and wins, including an Emmy for outstanding stunt coordination. Additionally, it consistently earns high ratings.
10. Law & Order (1990- )
Stream on Peacock
Even after taking a 12-year break, Law & Order continues to be one of the top police procedurals. It serves as the blueprint for similar shows like The Rookie. The series follows NYPD detectives as they crack murder cases and support district attorneys in securing strong convictions.
Considered one of the top shows in the Law & Order franchise, the original still stands out as the favorite for many viewers because it set the standards. While other shows had explored courtroom proceedings or detective work individually, Law & Order combined the two, offering a fresh perspective to the genre. Although it may be less focused on characters compared to The Rookie, the early seasons of Law & Order are intense for the detectives.