When audiences around the world were introduced to The Rookie, they met a character in Jackson West that was initially afraid to fire his service weapon or get into firefights. This was not always the plan for West, as it turns out. The actor behind the rookie officer, Titus Makin, recently revealed that his character once started out as a far more capable and street smart person.
Speaking with PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview, Makin discussed his first introduction to Jackson West, as well as the evolution that the character went through while shooting the pilot episode. As the son of another prominent figure in law enforcement, the expectations for West were high, but the first season was marked by his struggles to perform his duties at a high level.
"Yeah, a lot of people actually don't know this. The character actually started off very arrogant and competent and he was more like the Tim character (Eric Winter)," Makin told PopCulture.com. "So the whole audition process, I was auditioning with them being kind of this boastful young guy who has the highest scores, and all the connections and all these things because of his dad."
However, the situation changed midway through the pilot episode. West and Tim Bradford were both very similar characters in that they were capable and headstrong, so those in charge of The Rookie felt like it might be best to make a major change early in the show.
"And then actually during the filming of episode one, we got notes back from network, and they were trying to switch around a few characters and kind of trying to... They were still editing some things and that's when I got the change," Makin continued. "They were like, 'Hey we actually want to take a different approach with Jackson, maybe let's make him a little bit more... He's still strong, a strong person, but he's a little bit more inferior to his TO, his training officer, and he doesn't want to step on any toes.'"
As Makin explained, there was one scene during the first episode in which West and Officer Bradford were in the midst of a heated discussion. Neither character would back down from the confrontation due to the bold personalities in play. This was later changed prior to the episode airing, which was partially done to give each character more color, as Makin said.
Of course, the fear of gunfights and using the service weapon only lasted for a period of time. As the show has progressed, West has grown as an officer and has become far more capable. There were even moments during the second season in which he was chasing down criminals and tackling them in the street.
With 10 episodes remaining in the second season, Makin is excited for the continued growth of his character. He wouldn't specifically tease any big moments for Officer West to finish out the season, but Makin did say that he will soon be meeting some expectations.
"He just continues to grow more confident, which is good because I know a lot of the shows fans and Jackson fans have wanted to see," Makin said. "Because obviously all of us, including myself, get tired of him not living up to the standards of what he should be doing. So we just kind of see him just bunkering down, and getting things done and kind of being the boss cop that he should've been in the first place, you know?"
The Rookie is currently midway through the 20-episode second season. New episodes air every Sunday night at 10 p.m. ET.
(Photo Credit: Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty)