When one-of-a-kind trainee Simone Clark Niecy Nash-Betts was introduced on a two-part event during on ABC’s The Rookie, she was an instant standout. Simone used her unique life experiences as a high school guidance counselor to help investigate a terror attack. This fall, Simone, straight out of the FBI Academy will bring down the country’s toughest criminals every Tuesday night on the new series The Rookie: Feds. She does so with the help of her colleagues played by Frankie R. Faison, Felix Solis, Britt Robertson, Kevin Zegers, James Lesure, and The Rookie‘s John Nolan himself, Nathan Fillian.
During ABC’s 2022 Summer Press Tour the cast talked about what to expect when The Rookie: Feds premieres this week. Alexi Hawley, Co-Creator/Executive Producer discussed the possibility of Nash-Bett’s character Simone visiting Fillian’s The Rookie. “The show exist within the same universe, within the same city, and the design in creating them was always to have them be able to cross over back and forth,” explained Hawley. “So that definitely exists, not just with Nathan and Niecy, but with all of the characters on both shows. I mean, police and FBI work hand in hand a lot, and so just the ability to have the fun of the character she loved bouncing back and forth is really part of the show.”
In addition to crossing over series, Feds definitely blurs the line between drama and comedy. The stars discussed the challenges of balancing the two. “I’ve come to know that comedy is the harder of the two,” said Nash-Betts. “It’s a blessing when you get to marry them, which is what I’m able to do here at Rookie: Feds, bake a little bit of that comedy into the seriousness of a script, and I love it.” She continued, “They say that people who can make you laugh can make you cry, but the reverse is not always true. So I feel very blessed that I can do both.”
Fillian agreed, “I think comedy is far more difficult, whereas drama has challenges. Drama can be exhausting. If you come to work and you’ve had a big day or you are really down and really heavy, you go home exhausted. But the challenge of making people laugh, I find difficult. It’s hard. It’s hard to do.” He continued, “Niecy can do that, she makes it look easy.”
While there is plenty of comedy in the mix, the creators of the series took the responsibiulity of telling a police story in 2022 very seriously. “After George Floyd was killed, we took a hard look as a show at policing and how we had addressed it,” expressed Hawley. “Definitely coming into “Feds,” we needed to hold true to that, especially because Niecy’s character is the star of the show. And 1% of the FBI are Black women.”
“I really wanted to address what it would be like for Niecy’s character to be inside an organization that is traditionally male, which is traditionally white and is traditionally stuck in the past. And so the clash of those two cultures and those two forces makes it inherently dramatic,” continued Hawley “a show that you look forward to watching and is still fun but still self-aware enough about the issues of systemic injustice and the issues of systemic issues within the FBI and just stay true that.”
“It started and continues on The Rookie and it is definitely happening on The Rookie: Feds,” said Co-Creator/Executive Producer Terence Paul Winter. “We are just trying to be honest. So we have very honest and frank conversations in the room about the realities of systemic problems in policing, and then we try to figure out how can we incorporate that in the story, still entertain but be honest.”
The Rookie: Feds premieres on ABC, Tuesday, September 27 at 10 p.m. ET and will also be available to stream on Hulu.
(Niecy Nash-Betts, “Simone Clark” and Executive Producer, on the premise of the show.)