The newbie’s Titus Makin weighs in brutal twists and turns and the way the racist cop Arc himself was “devastating”
The following contains major spoilers from the February 14 episode of ABC’s The Rookie.
This week at The Rookie, Officer Jackson West (played by Titus Makin) went “all in” to finish his TO, Doug Stanton (Brandon Routh). Unfortunately, just as he was on his way – by first apologizing to Stanton for his slip that got him a blue page, and then begging to continue driving by his side – the district was closed because of a bomb threat. That said, if West and Stanton took a potentially problematic call, anyone who might respond to a backup would be locked inside the station.
As Stanton drove through the streets, he was tormented by a fight, claiming that every “thug, lowlife and banger” would aim to take advantage of the neutered police station. Jackson spread an unjustified confrontation, which resulted in an explosion with Stanton, who threatened to have him fired. Jackson, in turn, threatened to put his father on Stanton’s “racist ass”. After some sort of relaxation, they followed a suspicious SUV into a sketchy apartment complex and then set off on foot to find its owner. The officers were split up. Jackson encountered a small but aggressive group and was jumped and beaten. Stanton came around a corner and noticed the beating from a distance, but kept his distance with the body camera off instead of offering help. It began to double when he came across an arriving Bradford and Chen, claiming he and West had been separated. When the officers returned around the corner, they found Jackson apparently lifeless on the sidewalk, his attackers had disappeared.
When Stanton knelt by his beginner’s side feigning distress, an injured, bloody Jackson gathered enough strength to reach up and turn his TO’s body camera back on – meaning the previous and damn two minutes of Stanton’s actions had been recorded . After accessing the on-site video, Sgt. Gray asked for Stanton’s gun and badge and put him on administrative leave. Later in the hospital, Gray stood in awe of West’s honor and bravery and thanked him for remembering what her job might be.
TVLine spoke to Jackson’s actor, Titus Makin, about Stanton’s harrowing defeat – and what about the plot he had the hardest to portray personally.
TVLINE | Sgt. Gray (Richard T. Jones) completely upset Jackson after Stanton recognized everyone’s suspicions. What did you think of Jackson’s decision to go for it anyway and say, “I want to do this”?
I loved it. It was full of integrity, faith and courage. In all honesty, this was one of my favorite times of the year as I saw Jackson become his own and use his voice and be as strong as we have known it all along. We will really see him pull through with his strength.
TVLINE | That exchange he had with Stanton outside their store, where he played the card, “My dad is not part of the internal affairs, he runs it” – do you think he knew it was going to be an ace in the hole or have some sort could? gone from one way or another?
I think it could have gone both ways very well. I mean it’s from the [family] Tree he does and his dad will do what’s right too, but it’s not something he can just use as a blanket statement anytime. Jackson knows this is one situation where it will actually work to its full potential, such as, “Oh, you think so, but I’ve always had a problem with you. I’ve just made up my mind to stay in my place for now. Don’t try to knock me down because I guarantee you won’t be happy. “
TVLINE | Believe, when they responded to that call on the projects and they both came through, Jackson’s mind proactively thought, “There might be an opportunity here sometime to get the goods on Doug.” Or was he just hit on the ground?
Personally, I don’t think there was anything [on his mind] until after the fight. I don’t think Jackson tried anything other than answering a call and making the call correctly. It was only when Jackson saw in the middle of the fight that Doug was nowhere to be found that he knew there would always be evidence. So it’s like, “OK, if this happens to me and he doesn’t come to my call, it will look to everyone else as if he was looking for me, but I know he wasn’t ready.” [Turning his body cam back on] is a perfect way to run back a few minutes and see where he really was and what was really going on during that time.
TVLINE | I like how they laid the groundwork for that twist earlier in the episode. Even if a body camera is switched off, did it actually record the last two minutes when it was switched on again?
I don’t know how far the industry standard goes back, but yeah, somewhere around that two-minute mark. No matter what cop it is, when you turn on your camera, it can go back up to two minutes before you turn it on. This feature is on your camera to protect yourself, but also to protect citizens.
TVLINE | What do you think of the Doug Stanton character as an example of a bad cop on the show?
Unfortunately it was very accurate. It’s the worst version, of course – it shows the unfortunate reality of the “worst truthful cop,” if that makes sense – but they’re out there. There are cops like that. We have seen them and unfortunately we have seen the effects of what they do when the ego and racism are involved. I recommend Brandon [Routh] for being strong enough and willing enough to play that character even though he goes against everything he stands for as a person.
TVLINE | At the end of the hospital room, Jackson and Gray form a nice little bond. Is that something that will last?
I loved that moment. That’s literally one of my favorite scenes we’ve ever done on the show, that exchange between Jackson and Gray – and that’s something I hope they keep playing because I think it’s really cool that they feature two black people Cops have this conversation. It’s a really nice connection to see two cops who want to do the right thing along with the rest of the cops on the show.
TVLINE | It had only been a few episodes since Gray and his wife questioned what he could do to match his very reasonable expectations. But in that hospital room he said, “You showed me, Jackson West, that changes can be made.”
And I think that’s a beautiful comment on the generations and what we see today. From the back end of Millennials to Gen Z, these kids really step on and off and use their voices and are really confident. I’m not in Gen Z and it inspired me. Gray comes from a generation where it was better to sit back and be calm and lead by example, but this generation says, “OK, we have to change our voices now and now.” This was a really nice portrayal of those two Worlds that collided and saw how they could really act.
TVLINE | I know Michael Beach (who plays Commander Percy West) appears in about half of the world’s television shows, but will we get a scene with Jackson and his father after that?
Oh yeah, there’s plenty of good old Mr. West out there. He’s back and forth quite a lot, so that’s exciting.
TVLINE | And did we see the last one from Doug?
You know what? I dont know. I really don’t. We’re still filming and pop people and stories popping up left and right so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more Doug.
TVLINE | The police unions and their lawyers are really tough on this area, they will fight it with all their might – that’s why it’s hard to get bad cops off the streets – so I could see him come back in a legal dispute.
Right, and if we’re as specific as we tried to get into the reality of it all, I’m pretty sure Doug will make a comeback somehow.
TVLINE | What was the most difficult thing about this story for you personally?
Just the reality of everything, to be in these scenes, in these moments and to tell such unfortunately truthful stories. These things didn’t directly happen to me, but it was devastating to imagine myself wrongly arrested or attacked or having a gun in my face just because they were seen as a threat. I was really with Jackson in some of those moments when it looked like, “Am I trying to do what I’ve been taught, or am I listening to the organic self that tries to defend itself against Doug?” I definitely felt that wear and tear, and it was hard for me as not Jackson West not to interfere and call Doug.
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