The Rookie “Death Notice” Review: Doing What’s Necessary

Nyla and Angela in The Rookie "Death Notice"

The Rookie “Death Notice” Spoilers Ahead

The Rookie Season 5, Episode 12, “Death Notice,” is the kind of halfway point that carves somewhat of a linear path, noting how things will likely get worse before they get better. Though on a procedural, there’s never really a sense of hope regardless, even when things are good that they’ll stay that way. 

The entirety of The Rookie “Death Notice” caters to an overarching theme of partnership and what that means on and off the field, how it makes characters better, and why they’re necessary. If nothing else, the episode makes a clear path that relationships can work on this show, and it’s the one thing it’s good at establishing despite all the changes throughout the show’s run. But what happens when stakes are high and characters are scared of what will follow? How the series will address these scenarios in the future will determine if it’s ready to be something different from other procedurals out there. 

Chenford Changes and Steps Forward

Chenford in The Rookie 5x12 "Death Notice"

When in different position ranks, we knew that Lucy and Tim dating would eventually pose a problem in their work partnership. But frankly, I’m a little shocked that it happened this early on, and while it’s actually a good thing, I imagined that the show would drag on the hiding for a while longer. Still, there’s a high chance that Lucy will make detective one day, and the two of them can be back as partners.

But The Rookie’s “Death Notice” does a diligent job of showcasing that just because couples don’t work directly together doesn’t mean there are threats to their relationship. Bailey and Nolan are going solid, and from day one, Angela and Wesley proved that relationships on this show could last when there are compromises. And in this episode, Tim Bradford shows the audience that there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for Lucy Chen, which not only speaks to them as a couple, but it exhibits his character growth exceptionally well. 

Tim Bradford smiling in The Rookie "Death Notice"

The Tim Bradford we meet in the first season and the one we know today are two completely different people, and the most significant change in the man is that he’s learning to understand what and who truly matter in life. He understands that for a relationship to work, people must be willing to do everything necessary to protect it and since their introduction, whether he knew it or not, having Lucy’s back was a top priority. It isn’t shocking that Tim is willing to be the one to step down to ensure that Lucy stays in this precinct, and it isn’t surprising that he spoke with Chief Grey before even confiding with Lucy.

There was no other option for Tim because ensuring that she reaches her highest potential while staying wherever she wants is not only profoundly significant to him as her boyfriend, but it’s always been the anchor in their partnership. “Tim Tests” were always a means to challenge her because the potential he saw in her then was limitless, and the image of its truth is on full display here. He believes in Lucy more than he believes in anyone else, and at the same time, she’s the very reason he chose to become a better man. Of course, he’d do this. He’s never smiled with such conviction in the past like this, and Eric Winter is gorgeously illuminating how these emotions are all genuinely new and distinguishable for Tim — his relationship with Lucy is bigger, better, and more important than anything else. He’s lighter, more free, and bold with Lucy, and his heart is at ease in a way that’s as effortless as waves meeting the sand. There’s so much overflowing within them during this episode that it’s overwhelming in the best way.

Chenford in The Rookie "Death Notice"

But there’s also going to be something so intriguing about viewers seeing the change in their partnership. They might not be riding around in a car together, but they’re still the one person whose backs they’ll have through everything. And so, watching them finally take the next step in their relationship to sleep together authenticates that they’ve established yet another form of comfort with each other. Neither Tim nor Lucy cared about their past significant others the way they do about each other, which is why taking it slow was crucial for them.

However, now that they’re both fully aware of how much the other is willing to put into the relationship, it makes moving forward more effortless. In other words, Chenford are well on their way toward becoming one of the healthiest, most compelling romantic relationships on TV, and there’s no denying that fact. (In the same way that there’s no denying how Lucy feels about him, as she told Tamara.) They’re good at arguing, they’re good at defending one another, and today, they’re good at showing each other every piece of themselves.

A Baby and More Threats

Wesley and Angela (WOPEZ) in The Rookie Season 5 Episode 12

The Rookie’s “Death Notice” might have done a great job with Lucy and Tim, but it’s done nothing to ease my fears about something happening to either Angela or Nyla. (Don’t you dare, writers. Don’t you dare!) What it did do, however, is ease my Wesley and Angela loving heart because the two continuously exhibit that no matter what storms are raging outside, they’re in this together. After Jack’s birth, the two have been taking on life truly as partners, even if one is sleeping less. And though circumstances aren’t ideal, I think we all knew that another baby was on the way for the two.

Still, while I’m thrilled for Angela, Elijah is the kind of shadow who’s almost worse than any other villain we’ve had because you’re never quite sure what he’s going to pull. Plus, Bridget Regan plays his lawyer, and the powerhouse of a performer knows how to intimidate in a way that we’ve been screaming about since Agent Carter. There’s no predicting where this arc can go, but I’m ready for it to be over, ready for Angela to get some proper rest, and ready for better things ahead.

The Rookie “Death Notice” is a solid episode, if nothing else, and where it eases in some areas, it breaks us in others. Still, it’s hopeful nevertheless, and yet, I still have so many questions about the Kelly Clarkson of it all…

Further Thoughts

  • So help me God if anything happens to Celina next week.
  • Tamara remains the best.
  • Yes, Wesley, it’s vasectomy time.
  • Nyla and Angela having each other’s backs through everything will never not be gorgeous. The women were especially great in this week’s episode both through performances and the narrative arc written for them. But yet, this is why I’m so nervous.
  • Tim smiling consistently !!!??! hi yes, I’m compromised.

Now streaming on Hulu: What are your thoughts on The Rookie’s “Death Notice?” Let us know in the comments below.


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