Movie Reviews

Years Later, I Still Don't Think Brandon Routh's The Rookie Character Got What He Deserved


  • Brandon Routh’s racist cop Doug Stanton in The Rookie is a detestable person who has simmering tension with another character.
  • Stanton’s cruel and cowardly behavior contrasts with the protagonist, showcasing a weak bully who relies on others to do his work.
  • While Stanton faces consequences in the show, the real-world parallel of a slap on the wrist and a transfer is unsettling.

Brandon Routh appears in The Rookie as a character I truly despise and, frankly, I don’t think the show went far enough with his punishment. The Rookie, the hit ABC police procedural series, stars John Nolan (Nathan Fillion), who joins the LAPD as the oldest rookie on the force at age 45. Also starring Alyssa Diaz, Richard T. Jones, Melissa O’Neil, and Eric Winter, The Rookie has had plenty of guest stars and seasonal introductions to keep the series fresh.

Brandon Routh made his debut in The Rookie in season 3 into the show, playing a very harsh character. Routh has had a fascinatng career. He first came to wide attention playing Superman in what has become one of the more forgettable Superman movie adaptations, Superman Returns. While this major role never turned into major superstardom for Routh, he’s still had a successful career, and I’ve always enjoyed seeing him pop up in things like the Scott Pilgrim franchise as Todd and Chuck as Daniel Shaw, but my enjoyment of the actor’s work still couldn’t make me stomach Doug Stanton.


15 Best Episodes Of The Rookie Ranked

The best episodes of The Rookie exemplify why Nathan Fillion’s John Nolan captured the hearts of viewers and stands out among TV cops.

Brandon Routh Plays Racist Cop Doug Stanton In The Rookie Season 3

Doug Stanton And Jackson West Become Rivals

Doug Stanton is an officer in the LAPD who first appears in season 3, episode 2, “In Justice” when he is assigned as Jackson West’s (Titus Makin) new training officer. Jackson observes Officer Stanton’s penchant for profiling civilians and referring to citizens of color as “bros” and “gangbangers”. When West, a Black man, decides to confront Stanton, the police officer turns his hate on the young trainee. Stanton threatens to kick West out of the training program, but West fires back and threatens to report Stanton to his father, who works at Internal Affairs.

Stanton is a particularly cruel and cowardly type of villain, and he’s the exact type of antagonist I’ve always personally detested.

The simmering tension comes to a boil when West and Stanton respond to an apartment complex call. When West is attacked, Stanton just stands back and watches. After other officers arrive on the scene, an injured West quickly turns on Stanton’s body camera, revealing to the department the officer’s refusal to help another in danger. Stanton is a particularly cruel and cowardly type of villain, and he’s the exact type of antagonist I’ve always personally detested.

Some villains, even those whom I vehemently disagree with, I enjoy as a character. Maybe because there’s one aspect of them I can relate to on some level — an ambition, or desire for control, or something that makes them a mirror of the protagonist, but Stanton is a bully and a weak bully who can’t even manage to achieve anything from his hate except by standing aside and letting others do the work for him.

All Brandon Routh Episodes On The Rookie







In Justice

Stanton is assigned to West


La Fiera

West recognizes the racist profiling Stanton engages in



Stanton threatens to wash West out of training



Stanton lets West almost die and is put on administrative leave


Triple Duty

Stanton succeeds in his appeal but is sent to the Hollywood Division where his bodycam footage is shown to his fellow officers

I Still Lose Sleep Over Stanton Being Reinstated To The LAPD

Stanton Needed More Than A Slap On The Wrist And Some Minor Embarrassment

Stanton (Brandon Routh) relinquishes his weapon to Tim in The Rookie.

After Stanton’s complicity in the attack is revealed, he’s suspended from the team. However, Stanton wins his appeal. He isn’t fired but is instead transferred to the Hollywood Division. West and his team get the last laugh though and make sure Stanton’s body cam footage is used as “what not to do” training footage for his new division, ensuring the other officers there know exactly who they’re getting. I’m glad The Rookie doesn’t let Stanton off completely scot-free, but it irks me beyond belief that he wasn’t completely fired from the force.

Doug Stanton previously worked with the LASD before coming to the LAPD, suggesting his transfer in season 3, episode 13, is not the first of his career.

Looking back now, I have to admit that what happens to Stanton in The Rookie is much more true to life than whatever my pie-in-the-sky hopes for the standards of an institution are. Too often I’ve heard about a government official breaking the law or compromising his duties and receiving nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a transfer. My dislike of Doug Stanton was probably just my wish to at least see a fictional police officer be properly penalized for failing to uphold his duties.

The rookie tv poster

The Rookie

The Rookie is a police procedural television series that stars Nathan Fillion as police officer John Nolan. At 45 years old, John becomes the oldest rookie at the Los Angeles Police Department. The show premiered on ABC in 2018.

Release Date
October 16, 2018


Alexi Hawley

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