Mid-Wilshire neighborhood plays a character in ‘The Rookie’

| August 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

MID-WISHIRE is the name of the fictional division where John Nolan (played by Nathan Fillion) is a rookie in the LAPD.

Anyone who has watched TV or movies for the last decade or more is probably familiar with certain Los Angeles streets and landmarks flickering across the screen, but not always as “Los Angeles.” Sometimes our city gets to “play” as another city in a film or TV series. Because streets in our neighborhoods (Larchmont, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Miracle Mile, Brookside, etc.) can look like they come out of Anytown, USA, movie and TV production companies often take advantage of that and film here rather than on location.

Live here long enough and you’ll see a line of vans, trailers and equipment trucks, parked on a street with barricades up, while people mill about waiting for a scene to be shot.

In fact, in 2008, the bungalow where the Chronicle formerly resided at 542 1/2 N. Larchmont Blvd. was used to shoot a scene for CBS’ “Criminal Minds,” for an episode set in Cleveland, Ohio (“Zoe’s Reprise,” season four, episode 15). Dawson’s Books, formerly at 535 N. Larchmont Blvd., also was featured in that episode.

But sometimes, our city and her neighborhoods get to play themselves on the screen, which is what happens in ABC’s “The Rookie,” a cop show based on the story of a real-life man who was the oldest rookie in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

The fictional LAPD Division and police station for the story is called “Mid-Wilshire” in a nod to our neighborhoods.

Executive producer and writer Alexi Hawley said that he chose the neighborhood as a setting because, “I felt like the L.A. cop genre was stuck in a ’90s view of Los Angeles, like [the movie] ‘Training Day’ or [the TV series] ‘The Shield.’ I wanted to open the city up, to show the huge diversity of neighborhoods and people. Mid-Wilshire as a neighborhood has so many different areas and socio-economic neighborhoods, it felt like the perfect fit.”

Hawley says he became familiar with the neighborhood when he was working on the TV show “Castle” at Raleigh Studios (5300 Melrose Ave., between Bronson and Van Ness avenues).

When producer Mark Gordon, who had life rights to the rookie story, contacted Hawley about basing a cop show on the oldest rookie, Hawley thought Mid-Wilshire’s locale would allow a fresh take on the genre, and he wanted to keep the settings fresh, too.

“A lot of what the show tries to do is to live in the unexpected. From one scene to another, the audience doesn’t know what they’re going to get,” says Hawley.

In episode six of the first season, the main character, John Nolan (Nathan Fillion), and his training officer, Talia Bishop (Afton Williamson), are called to an incident in Larchmont Village; a possible murder, but with a comic twist characteristic of a neighborhood with homeowners associations and neighborhood councils.

“The scene in question is about a neighbor who made a citizen’s arrest on a murder suspect by tying him up and sticking him in his (the homeowner’s) trunk (and then fell asleep waiting for the cops to show up). Larchmont Village felt like an unexpected location for that story,” says Hawley.

Although the show films all over Los Angeles, Hawley says he hopes there will be more scenes in actual Mid-Wilshire neighborhoods, “it’s very important that we show the incredible diversity of Los Angeles. With three different patrol units featured on the show, we are always looking to go places that we haven’t gone before.”

The second season premiere of “The Rookie” airs on ABC Sun., Sept. 29.


Category: Entertainment

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