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The Rookie: What Happens To Brandon Routh's Doug Stanton?

Brandon Routh is best known for his charming demeanor, disarming smile, and perfectly coiffed black hair, which made him the perfect choice to portray superheroes like Clark Kent/Superman and Ray Palmer/The Atom. However, he has another side of that charm, and he was able to use it in a manipulative way to portray the villainous Doug Stanton in a recurring role on ABC's "The Rookie." While Stanton is a slippery racist who has been able to avoid detection and discipline, the members of LAPD's Mid-Wilshire precinct are able to get him his comeuppance.

"The Rookie" has been another TV hit for veterans Nathan Fillion ("Firefly," "Castle") and Richard T. Jones ("Narcos," "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") and has been a stellar installment for other stars, like Shawn Ashmore ("X-Men" franchise) and Jenna Dewan ("Supergirl," "Take the Lead"). But the steady diet of villains has made the series more relatable than others due to their existence both in front of and behind the badge.

While Nick Armstrong (Harold Perrineau) is a more overt villain by being a corrupt detective who frames Officer Nolan (Fillion), Routh's Stanton is more shrouded in contentious ideals that see him profiling people of color and even getting close to police brutality before the interference of Jackson West (Titus Makin Jr.). Armstrong is a primary villain in the early seasons, but with only five episodes, Stanton becomes one of the more vicious villains in the series due to the real-world danger he represents.

He establishes his top-notch villainy

Doug Stanton first appears in Season 3, Episode 2, "In Justice." When Jackson West's training officer, Angela Lopez (Alyssa Diaz), is promoted to detective, Stanton steps in to lend his experience to train the young officer. West notices something off about the veteran officer and begins to suspect that he is a racist, witnessing him profile civilians and call them gangbangers and bros. West stands up to him when he reads a situation where Stanton looks to be about to use excessive force, only to garner his wrath.

While Stanton threatens to fail West out of the Field Training Program and end his career as a police officer, drawing a return threat from West to use his Internal Affairs father, the veteran uses a different approach to deal with West. When they respond to a call in an apartment complex known for its dangerous criminal element, they split up, and multiple people attack West. Instead of coming to his partner's aid, Stanton stands back and allows it to happen. When other officers respond, Stanton pretends to check on him.

At that moment, West reaches up from his ambulance gurney and turns on Stanton's body cam, knowing the device records the two minutes before activation. The resulting footage shows Stanton refusing to help him and gives the Mid-Wilshire team all they need to get rid of the officer, suspending him pending investigation.

He gets a fraction of what he deserves

While that may seem like enough to get him completely fired and maybe even facing charges, the video isn't enough to get rid of Stanton for good, as he wins his appeal and is transferred to the Hollywood Division for a fresh start. This looks like he is going to get away with his behavior, but the Mid-Wilshire team gets the better of him by having his new precinct use his body cam footage as a training tool, changing his fellow officers' image of him.

Of course, this is a lot less than he deserves, but some fans want to see the character return. One Redditor suggested that the character should come back, sparking some response from the fan base. u/ArmChairDetective84 asked a very legitimate question: "Why? He's a racist POS. There's nothing interesting about that." 

While they may have a point, u/AgathaM may have an idea of how it could work: "He should only come back if it's a redemption arc. Otherwise, no time should be spent on him unless he is going to be arrested."

There is likely a very slim chance that we will ever see Doug Stanton return, but there is no doubt that fans would love to see Brandon Routh chew up the screen again. The role is such a departure from what we are used to seeing him play that we almost forget that the character was so diabolically immoral. The writers gave him an ending that was relatively fitting, but we wouldn't be against seeing him get a little bit more comeuppance.