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From their previous roles to their personal lives, here’s what to know about the cast of the ABC drama
Meet the stars of The Rookie.
The ABC series, which premiered in October 2018, follows John Nolan (Nathan Fillion), a recently divorced 45 year old who starts a new life in California and becomes the oldest rookie in the Los Angeles Police Department.
The show, based on the true story of LAPD officer William "Bill" Norcross, follows John as he learns the ins and outs of an unpredictable career, all while facing adversity due to his age. Off-screen, Norcross continues to serve in the LAPD and is an executive producer on the procedural crime drama, per his LinkedIn.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, Fillion, who also serves as an executive producer, opened up about why The Rookie connected with audiences.
“[John Nolan] is literally starting his life over, from scratch,” he said. “He has an incredible history behind him, but he’s starting everything brand new. It’s a very attractive prospect that people can relate to.”
Now five years after its original debut, The Rookie season 6 is in the works, with Eric Winter teasing the new scripts on X (formerly known as Twitter) after the Writers Guild of America's strike ended.
While the cameras get rolling again, here’s everything to know about the cast of The Rookie.
Nathan Fillion as John Nolan
Nathan Fillion plays John Nolan, an L.A. transplant and the oldest rookie in the LAPD.
Fillion has dozens of TV and film credits from his acting career of nearly 30 years. He got his start in 1994 when he took over the role of Joey Buchanan on One Life to Live, earning him a Daytime Emmy Award nomination. Five years later, he appeared in Saving Private Ryan and joined the cast of the sitcom Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.
Despite the actor only starring in the space Western Firefly for one season in 2002, it was dubbed a cult classic and inspired a follow-up 2005 movie, Serenity, in which Fillion reprised his starring role.
Through the rest of the 2000s, he appeared in multiple TV series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Robot Chicken and Desperate Housewives. In 2009, Fillion was cast in the ABC drama Castle, where he played the role of the titular mystery novelist Richard Castle, who assists the NYPD with solving crimes. The show ran for eight seasons until it was canceled in 2016.
“They are light dramas,” he told Parade in 2022 about Castle and The Rookie. “There are moments of intensity with largely happy lives, which I think that’s pretty much how my life is, so I hope that’s close to reality.”
The Canadian star has also appeared in web miniseries, narrated audiobooks, lent his voice and likeness to video games and more. His accolades include a Saturn Award, an SFX Award, three TV Guide Awards and four People’s Choice Awards.
Eric Winter as Tim Bradford
Eric Winter plays Sgt. Tim Bradford, Lucy Chen’s training officer.
To pay for college at UCLA, Winter worked as a model, including in a commercial for Britney Spears’ fragrance Curious.
Following a few minor TV parts, he portrayed Rex Brady on Days of Our Lives from 2002 until 2005. After leaving the daytime soap opera, he appeared on TV shows like Brothers & Sisters, CSI: Miami, Rizzoli & Isles, The Good Doctor and more. He has also starred in a number of Hallmark and Lifetime movies.
Winter was born in La Mirada, California. He married Puerto Rican singer and actress Roselyn Sánchez in November 2008, and the couple have two children: daughter Sebella “Sebi” Rose and son Dylan Gabriel.
In 2017, Winter and Sánchez co-authored a book, Sebi and the Land of Cha Cha Cha, inspired by their daughter. They also host a podcast, He Said, Ella Dijo, covering parenthood, celebrity news and more.
Melissa O’Neil as Lucy Chen
Melissa O’Neil plays Officer Lucy Chen, another rookie in the LAPD.
O’Neil was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and she first stepped into the spotlight when she auditioned for the third season of Canadian Idol in 2005 while still in high school. O’Neil was crowned the winner in September of that same year, becoming the first female winner and the youngest in the show’s history. She signed a record deal with Sony Music Canada and released her self-titled debut album two months after winning.
The actress began performing in theater productions, and in 2015, she was cast in Syfy’s Dark Matter, where she starred for three seasons. O’Neil has also had roles in Canadian and American TV shows, including a recurring part in iZombie and an appearance in A Simple Favor (2018).
Tru Valentino as Aaron Thorsen
Tru Valentino joined the cast of The Rookie in season 4 as rookie officer Aaron Thorsen. He was promoted to series regular in season 5.
He has primarily done voice-over work for animated series, including Spidey and His Amazing Friends, Netflix’s The Cuphead Show!, Fast & Furious Spy Racers and Madagascar: A Little Wild. Valentino is also in the main company of the Groundlings Theatre in L.A.
Valentino’s parents are U.S. Army veterans. He was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and raised in Waynesville, Missouri.
Jenna Dewan as Bailey Nune
Jenna Dewan plays Bailey Nune, a firefighter and John Nolan’s love interest who joined the series in season 3.
Dewan was born in Hartford, Connecticut, but moved frequently throughout her childhood. In 2000, she began working as a backup dancer for Janet Jackson, first appearing in her “Doesn’t Really Matter” and “All for You” music videos and later joining her on tour in 2001. She has also danced for artists like Pink, Missy Elliott and Christina Aguilera.
Dewan is best known for her starring role in Step Up (2006) and has appeared on TV series such as American Horror Story: Asylum, The Mindy Project, The Resident and Superman & Lois.
In 2006, Dewan began dating her Step Up costar Channing Tatum, whom she married three years later. Their daughter, Everly Elizabeth Maiselle, was born on May 31, 2013. The couple announced they were separating in 2018, and the divorce was finalized the following year.
In February 2020, she revealed her engagement to actor Steve Kazee, whom she began dating in 2018. Their son, Callum Michael Rebel, arrived in March 2020. Kazee joined Dewan on The Rookie in season 4, playing her character’s estranged husband.
Mekia Cox as Nyla Harper
Mekia Cox joined the cast in season 2 as former undercover detective Nyla Harper, John Nolan’s training officer who later returns to a detective position.
Prior to joining The Rookie, Cox had roles on several TV shows, including 90210, Mob City, Chicago Med and Once Upon a Time.
Cox was born in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but her family moved to Orlando, Florida, when she was 7. She married basketball analyst Britt Leach in April 2018 and gave birth to their first daughter that December. She announced her second pregnancy on Instagram in January 2022, which was written into her storyline on The Rookie, and their second daughter was born in May of that same year.
Richard T. Jones as Wade Grey
Richard T. Jones plays Wade Grey, a sergeant and watch commander in the Mid-Wilshire Division.
Jones appeared in a number of TV shows and movies throughout the early 1990s before his first main role in the one-season show Brooklyn South in 1997. He then starred in Judging Amy from 1999 until 2005.
He was a guest in series like Numb3rs and Grey’s Anatomy and landed recurring roles on Hawaii Five-0, Nikita, American Horror Story: Hotel, Criminal Minds and more.
Jones was born in Kobe, Japan. His father, Clarence Jones, was a professional baseball player playing for the Nankai Hawks in Osaka, Japan, and the family moved to California after the 1978 season.
Lisseth Chavez as Celina Juarez
Lisseth Chavez joined the series in season 5 as rookie Celina Juarez.
Before The Rookie, Chavez had a recurring role on The Fosters and leading roles on Chicago P.D. and D.C.’s Legends of Tomorrow, plus a number of other TV credits.
Annie Wersching as Rosalind Dyer
Annie Wersching played Rosalind Dyer, a serial killer and recurring antagonist in seasons 2, 3 and 5.
The actress was born in St. Louis and got her start appearing on shows like Star Trek: Enterprise, Charmed and Supernatural before her first major role on 24. She starred in the main casts of Bosch and Runaways and had roles on The Vampire Diaries and Star Trek: Picard.
In September 2009, Wersching married actor Stephen Full. They shared three sons: Freddie, Ozzie and Archie. In mid-2020, she was diagnosed with cancer; Wersching kept her diagnosis private and continued to work.
Alyssa Diaz as Angela Lopez
Alyssa Diaz plays Angela Lopez, a training officer turned detective at the Mid-Wilshire Division.
Diaz’s first major role came in 2005 when she was cast on the soap opera As the World Turns. She went on to star in TV shows like Army Wives, Zoo and Narcos: Mexico. She has also had recurring and guest roles on The Vampire Diaries, Ray Donovan, NCIS: Los Angeles and more.
Diaz grew up in Northridge, a neighborhood in L.A. In 2019, she became engaged to Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Gustavo Galindo. In December 2020, she confirmed that she and Galindo had welcomed a baby boy together. Her real-life pregnancy was written into her character’s storyline in season 3.
Shawn Ashmore as Wesley Evers
Shawn Ashmore plays Wesley Evers, a lawyer and Angela Lopez’s love interest.
The Canadian actor is best known for his role as Bobby Drake/Iceman in the original X-Men film trilogy. His other film and TV credits include Cadet Kelly, Smallville and The Boys. His identical twin brother, Aaron Ashmore, is also an actor.
In July 2012, Ashmore married film executive Dana Renee Wasdin. The pair met on the set of the psychological horror film Frozen (2010), on which Wasdin was an assistant director. Their son Oliver arrived in July 2017.
Titus Makin Jr. as Jackson West
Titus Makin Jr. played Officer Jackson West, another rookie later assigned to the Mid-Wilshire Division.
After a few minor roles, Makin got his first recurring part on Glee in season 2. His other TV credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars and NCIS: New Orleans.
Following three seasons in his leading role on The Rookie, his character died in the first episode of season 4. However, the Hawaii-born actor had considered leaving the show earlier, particularly after police officers killed Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in 2020.
“It starts back for me, even just playing a cop in the first place, which was a hurdle [with] where I'm from and how I viewed the cops growing up,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “To play one, I already was wrestling with, ‘Oh man, people are gonna think I'm Team Cops.’ And the reality was I was struggling.”
The real-life events inspired Makin to "find a voice within" himself by "addressing the reality" his character might be going through. In the wake of Taylor and Floyd's deaths, the actor spoke with The Rookie showrunner Alexi Hawley and others to incorporate relevant dialogue into West's storyline, and he was "thankful" it was possible.
Since departing from the series, he has appeared on NCIS: Hawai’i, in the movie On the Come Up (2022), and two short films.
Brandon Routh as Doug Stanton
Brandon Routh portrays Doug Stanton, a training officer, in season 3.
After minor TV appearances on Gilmore Girls and Will & Grace, Routh’s big break came in 2006 when he played Superman in the film Superman Returns.
He joined the Arrowverse as Ray Palmer/The Atom on Arrow in 2014 and subsequently starred in Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash. In the 2019 Arrowverse crossover event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” he reprised his role as Superman.
Routh was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up in nearby Norwalk. He married actress Courtney Ford in November 2007. The couple welcomed their son, Leo James, in 2012.
Dylan Conrique as Tamara Collins
Dylan Conrique joined The Rookie season 3 as Tamara Collins, a troubled teenager Lucy Chen takes under her wing.
Conrique was born in Gilroy, California, and grew up in the Sacramento area. Her acting credits include TV shows like Henry Danger, and The Kids Are Alright, as well as the web series Chicken Girls.
In addition to her acting work, Conrique is a singer-songwriter. Her first EP, Baby Blue, was released in 2020, followed by Pieces in 2023. PEOPLE named her an Emerging Artist to hear in the spring of 2022.
Arjay Smith as James Murray
Arjay Smith plays James Murray, a community activist and Nyla Harper’s future husband, who was introduced in season 3.
He first rose to fame as the star of Nickelodeon’s The Journey of Allen Strange from 1997 until 2000. Smith has had recurring and guest roles on shows like Malcolm in the Middle, Sons of Anarchy and Major Crimes, and he had a starring role on Perception from 2012 to 2015.
Smith was born in Redlands, California. He married director and producer Brittany Scott Smith in December 2015. The couple share two children.
Ali Larter as Grace Sawyer
Ali Larter played Dr. Grace Sawyer, John Nolan’s love interest in season 2.
The actress has an extensive film and TV résumé. Her movie roles include House on Haunted Hill (1999), Final Destination (2000), Legally Blonde (2001) and Obsessed (2009). As for TV, Larter had her breakout role on Heroes and has made appearances on Dawson’s Creek, Curb Your Enthusiasm and more.
She grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Larter married actor Hayes MacArthur in August 2009, and the couple share two children: son Theodore Hayes and daughter Vivienne Margaret.
Afton Williamson as Talia Bishop
Afton Williamson portrayed Talia Bishop, John Nolan’s training officer, in season 1.
The Ohio-born actress got her start as Kerry Washington’s understudy in the 2009 Broadway play Race before taking over the role in 2010. She has appeared on several TV shows, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Nashville, Banshee and Shades of Blue.
In 2019, Williamson confirmed reports that she would not return for The Rookie season 2. The actress claimed that while filming the pilot and the first season, she “experienced racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from executive producers.”
Williamson also alleged that a guest star sexually harassed her and that the head of the hair department sexually assaulted her at the season 1 wrap party.
Entertainment One, the series’s production company, completed its 400-hour investigation the following month and found no evidence of wrongdoing. In a statement to PEOPLE, eOne said that those investigated “did not conduct themselves in an unlawful manner or demonstrate behavior inappropriate for the workplace.” In an Instagram post, Williamson called the results “heartbreaking.”
Mercedes Mason as Zoe Andersen
Mercedes Mason plays Zoe Andersen, commanding officer of the Mid-Wilshire Division in season 1.
The Swedish actress has appeared in TV shows like How to Get Away with Murder, Fear the Walking Dead, and NCIS: Los Angeles, as well as films like Little Dixie (2023).
As for her personal life, Mason married David Denman in September 2014. The couple share two sons, Caius Kane and Sagan Cyrus.
Niecy Nash as Simone Clark
Niecy Nash appeared as a guest star in The Rookie season 4 in two episodes that were a backdoor pilot for her character, FBI agent Simone Clark. Her spinoff series, The Rookie: Feds, premiered in September 2022 and was canceled in November 2023 after one season.
Nash has a number of TV and film credits under her belt, including starring roles in both Reno 911! and Claws. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for her role as the host of Clean House on the Style Network in 2010. She also received critical acclaim for several other TV roles, including Getting On, When They See Us and Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
Nash was born in Palmdale, California. She has three children — Dominic, Donielle Mikel and Dia La Ren — with her ex-husband Don Nash, to whom she was married from 1994 until 2007. She was married to Jay Tucker from 2011 to 2020.
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