The Rookie has quietly become a sensation on ABC. The police procedural has not only gone five seasons strong, and will be back for a sixth, but it has already spawned a successful spin-off titled The Rookie: Feds. We would not be surprised to see even more crossovers between these shows in the future, and maybe even another spin-off or two.
What makes The Rookie such a unique franchise is its premise, and what makes its premise all the more impressive is the fact that it’s based on real events. It tends to get lost in the shuffle of the dramatic storylines, but The Rookie is indeed based on the true story of an LAPD officer.
Is John Nolan a real cop on The Rookie?
The officer in question is William “Bill” Norcross. According to Daily Post, Norcross was 44 years old when he decided to quit his family’s printing business in Pennsylvania and move to California to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a cop. He was exceptionally old for a rookie, much like our beloved John Nolan (Nathan Fillion), but he succeeded, and currently works in Los Angeles’ pacific division.
Norcross’ story has gained even more attention on the heels of The Rookie franchise, and since the show films primarily in Los Angeles, the cop is able to drop by the studio and chat with Fillion on occasion. “When I have days off of patrol, I’ll stop by the set and talk with Nathan and the other actors and stop by the writers’ room and I’m always available with a phone call”, Norcross added.
Norcross agreed to make a cameo in an episode of The Rookie, but for the most part, he prefers to keep a low profile. “I keep it pretty quiet and don’t tell many people [about the series] but word has slowly gotten out”, he explained. “But it’s business as usual — I’m going out and doing my job. I’ve been incredibly fortunate — but I’m here to be a police officer.”
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