THE ROOKIE Post-Mortem: Tru Valentino and Shawn Ashmore on Aaron's Fate and the Looming Danger in Monica - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE ROOKIE Post-Mortem: Tru Valentino and Shawn Ashmore on Aaron’s Fate and the Looming Danger in Monica

February 20, 2024 by  

The Rookie Aaron lives

THE ROOKIE – Key Art. (Disney)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the season 6 premiere of THE ROOKIE.]

Surprise! (Ish.) THE ROOKIE’s Aaron Thorsen (Tru Valentino) survived his season-ending attack—and flat-lining—and is back for season 6.

“I hope people are still [surprised],” Valentino tells Give Me My Remote. “I tried to hide [in on-set things] as much as possible.”

It proved to be a little more complicated than anyone may have predicted, with the strikes delaying the season, a 100th episode celebration, and a TCA panel where the actor was present. But, still, they’ve tried.

“We were taking [photos] the other day and it was like, we got to take one with him and then one without him,” Shawn Ashmore, who plays Wesley, recalls. “[We] posted without him now and then we’ll have a backlog of good pictures with Tru.”

But now that it’s (officially) known that Aaron survives, what comes next? Valentino and Ashmore share a little bit of insight…

Tru, what was your reaction when you read the finale script? Did you know immediately you’d be fine or did you have to wait a bit?
Tru Valentino: When all that happened in that last episode, that was kind of surprising. But what was more surprising was because we did two takes: We did a take where Aaron opens his eyes and Celina notices that, [and] we have a moment. But then we did a take, the one that they used, where Aaron flatlines. So when I found out that they actually used that one, I was like, “Uh oh” and checked in with my manager: “Is everything all right?”

How has it been trying to keep things quiet?
Valentino: I feel like I’m the hardest working man in show business trying to hide the fact that I’m still on the show. I’m constantly trying to do damage control. If they’re taking pictures and they post, I’m like, “Can you take it down?!” I’m always doing that. Because I like the idea [of the mystery].
Shawn Ashmore: You want the stakes to be there. I’m with you.
Valentino: I think that that’ll add to a [more fun] season premiere for a lot of people. So I’ve really actively been trying to keep as quiet as possible. I haven’t posted a single thing about THE ROOKIE. I’ve been pretty diligent about it. But then they posted that poster. And I’m on it. [He fakes a scream.]
Ashmore: As long as they’re doing it, you can’t feel bad. But I will say I agree with you that I think it’s important. Although the show has a lighter side to it, I think what keeps the show grounded is there are stakes. We have lost characters. I think for most network shows, long-running network shows, when you lose those stakes, when you put your characters in jeopardy, it starts to peel back from reality. And this show has done a really good job of [making you think] you never know. We might lose characters. [To Valentino.] So, yeah, good on you for keeping it [quiet], because I think it is important for the audience to believe that our characters are [in danger]. Otherwise, you can tune out a little bit, [thinking] he’ll be fine. And that’s not as much fun.

This is one of the few network shows where it does feel like it really could happen.
Ashmore: It may not happen, but it could.
Valentino: GAME OF THRONES, ATTACK ON TITAN, and THE ROOKIE. [Ashmore laughs.] In no particular order, people go up.

We’re seeing in the immediate aftermath that Aaron has a little bit of PTSD. How is that playing into the early part of the season?
Valentino: Early on when Aaron has to get back to the process of being a police officer, I think it’s very tough for him. He does have a lot of anxiety and he eventually has to go to therapy, and deal with therapists and all that stuff. So I think it’s a process for him to get back to wherever it was that he was at. 

But I thought it’d be cooler if Aaron came back as a total badass, just ready to [go] almost vigilante-style, because of what happened to him. We haven’t gone that route yet. I’m waiting!

For Wesley, his ex, Monica (Bridget Regan), keeps getting entangled in everything. How is Wesley dealing with that and how dangerous is she to him?
Ashmore: First of all, I love Bridget. Bridget and I are buddies. We’ve worked together before. So the fact that she is playing that role is amazing. And she’s fantastic. 

Yeah, Monica is very, very, very, very dangerous. She’s dangerous personally to Wesley. She’s dangerous to any case and the department in general. And without giving too much away, she is definitely a major factor this season. So, yeah, expect her to try to mess things up as much as possible.

The group that attacked the cops isn’t entirely out of the picture when the premiere ends. What can you tease about how that’s playing into the season and also how your characters are dealing with the uncertainty going forward?
Valentino: I know nothing.
Ashmore: I do feel like…[A long pause.] As we get into the season, this threat becomes a lot less complicated, let’s say. But I do think these characters are constantly ready, and able, to deal with these threats. So it’s not like it’s simple or it’s run of the mill. 

But after these things start to get resolved a little bit, obviously personally for him [Ashmore gestures at Valentino], there’s a lot more going on. But I think the department tries to move on as much as they can with this threat kind of still looming. And then as we move through the season, it becomes less and less.

THE ROOKIE, Tuesdays, 9/8c, ABC


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