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The Real Reason Zoe Was Killed Off In The Rookie

When a viewer becomes interested in a brand new drama series, it's largely assumed that their favorite characters will be around for at least a few seasons. For example, on ABC's "The Good Doctor," it's not until Season 3 that Dr. Neil Melendez (Nicholas Gonzalez), a staple of the show, is killed off. However, in the case of ABC's "The Rookie," the same can't be said for one key cast member.

Zoe Andersen (Mercedes Mason) doesn't even make it to the end of the inaugural season, which aired in fall of 2018. As the Captain of the Los Angeles Police Department's Mid-Wilshire Station, Zoe is one of the few to have confidence in John Nolan (Nathan Fillion). As the show's title suggests, he's the oldest rookie on the force as he embarks on a mid-life career change.

Fans loved Zoe's determination and drive, but that's cut short on Episode 16, "The Green Light," which sees her and John held hostage by gang leader Cole Midas (Grant Harvey). Though she attempts to defend herself and John, shooting at Cole from a pool, one of the gang member's shots hits her in the neck, killing her moments later. John, along with his fellow officers, are devastated.

Following Zoe's unexpected death so early on in "The Rookie," audiences demanded to know why the powerful captain has such a brief stint on the show.

Zoe was killed off The Rookie for dramatic impact

On Twitter, "The Rookie" showrunner Alexi Hawley revealed the reasoning behind this shocking scene. In his opinion, Zoe Anderson's death impacts the story in "the most dramatic and powerful way." It also allows John Nolan to fully grasp the dangers of this line of work. "It's heartbreaking," Hawley added. "But the stakes of the new life Nolan has chosen are all too real, and we can't run away from them creatively."

Not only did this creative choice stir up negative feelings in John, it caused an outcry among avid Zoe fans. On Reddit, u/Theladyisacat said, "So shocked and saddened. I kept telling my husband, 'I just like her so much! She is such a bad***!' And then the shot. So unexpected." Though u/Nickel412 was upset at the loss of Zoe, they praised Hawley for letting her leave this world in epic fashion. They said, "She went out like a hero – broke a finger to free herself, shot 2 dudes and saved Nolan's life."

According to Hawley, there was a "The Rookie" timeline that didn't include such a heartbreaking moment. "We went back and forth in the writers' room," he revealed.

On the heels of her character's death, Mercedes Mason simply said, "I just want to say thank you guys for being so supportive of the show and of me (via Comic Book Resources)." It's unclear if Mason wished to leave "The Rookie," or if she was just as surprised at Zoe's early exit.