The following contains spoilers from the ABC Season 3 finale The recruit.
ABC The recruit this Sunday evening aimed to end season 3 with a somewhat impromptu wedding, but as with all good finals, the ceremony did not go without a hitch. Far from there, seeing that the pregnant bride-to-be Angela has disappeared, shortly after the interception of the prison transport of Sandra De La Cruz aka La Fiera, its vengeful occupant released.
Leading up to Angela and Wes’ almost– big day, La Fiera had been nabbed by an undercover Chen, whose cover was about to be blown after the meth cook “Nova” was introduced to – and seemed familiar to – the ascendant crime boss lady.
Days before The recruit has officially cut its pickup from Season 4, TVLine has spoken with showrunner Alexi Hawley about the tragically crushed marriage, Tim and Lucy’s ‘saved’ dance, this season’s stealth coups and more.
TVLINE | It was a pretty daring move, making Lopez (played by Alyssa Diaz) disappear when you haven’t officially received a Season 4 renewal yet….
You know, sometimes you have to dream big. It was like a way to bring people back in the end, plus we gave everyone a wedding – well, the start of a marriage – to be happy, so there you go. We’ve been building up La Fiera’s story all season long, so we just felt like we should go.
TVLINE | Is it still a school of thought on the creation of a final without being renewed yet, to give something to the network? at renew? Don’t some showrunners believe that if you don’t end up on a cliffhanger, that gives a network one less reason?
Honestly, I think they make the decisions they make anyway, at the end of the day. I mean, I don’t wanna go back to the end of Castle, but we found two endings. Terrence [Winter] and I basically decided we needed to shoot the one that aired, which was the one with the happy ending, just in case. No one told us to do it, but you can imagine if we were done with [Rick and Kate] bleeding on the loft floor – “See you later, America!” It would have been bad.
We have felt very positive about this season. It was a very difficult season to do, for many reasons, but a lot of it went very well. I think it’s both the hardest and the best thing I’ve ever done.
TVLINE | Should we be worried about Jackson (Titus Makin) as well as Lopez?
You caught that, didn’t you? It was a bit on purpose, yes. You really want to plant in the minds of the audience, “Wait a sec, where’s Jackson?” We’ll have to see.
TVLINE | Well give a little something to ease the spirits of the fans coming out. Does La Fiera (Camille Gauty) have a possible need for Lopez other than just to kill her?
She does. I don’t want to give it away, but she definitely does. This is do not the end of Lopez, but an escalation in that dynamic that they’ve had for most of the season. There is this friendship, a kinship. They bonded [La Fiera’s] son and [Angela’s] child-to-be, and also being Latinas who are two sides of the same coin.
TVLINE | I have to think that in the inevitable turmoil of Lopez’s kidnapping, Tim is not going to dance with Lucy….
They’re going to have to end the wedding at some point, but yeah, coming into Season 4 we’re probably not going to dance.
TVLINE | How much should we read in the fact that Tim even put that there?
At the end of the day, I don’t know if what I say about what people are going to read makes a difference. I mean, I think with her taking a step forward beyond being a rookie, they’re not yet equal – because obviously he’s still surpassing her, and he’s been around for a long time – but this removes an obstacle that could possibly be there.
TVLINE | I have to ask you, since I have you here: What’s your newscasting strategy? Because you’ve had some really fun things, but they’ve been a little bit silent. I looked like, “Hey, it’s Molly Quinn!… Hey, it’s Jenna Dewan!… Wait, that’s it Emily freakin ‘Deschanel?! ”
I’m working as fast as I can to put on a show in the midst of the pandemic, so I haven’t really paid too much attention, but… those decisions aren’t me. In Season 4, we might see how to do that, because in our time, anything you can do to make eyeballs appear is a plus. Obviously I thought having Castle and Bones together was a coup for us….
TVLINE | It was like the 1927 Yankees or something. How did it happen?
When we said we were going to bring Nolan’s ex-wife back, it seemed like a big deal, so we started to see who was available and who was in town. And the second I saw Emily’s name, I was like, “Can we get her? ”Like, that would be awesome. And she was so wonderful.
TVLINE | And she and Nathan Fillion were very well together.
They had such great chemistry together, yes. It was really great.
TVLINE | Speaking of Nolan’s love interests, could Bailey (played by Jenna Dewan) be a keeper?
Absolutely. I think Jen is another hit for us, so yeah that’s my plan. We couldn’t really do a ton of love stuff in the middle of the pandemic, but at the end of the day it was like, “Let’s find him someone to potentially take us into next season.” And Jen is really special and I love the character.
TVLINE | I was telling our staff that you gave him a spin-off character from the start. She’s a reserve in the army! She’s a firefighter! She’s a Capoeira instructor!
I love the idea, although I’m not sure if we can make it, that he just keeps shooting places and she’s there and it’s just one more thing that she does. [Laughs] He is the most accomplished person you have ever seen. They also have phenomenal chemistry together. Nolan has had some girlfriends along the way, but it’s been a minute and I feel like we really want to explore what it’s like with him.
TVLINE | As P2 in Season 4, what sort of things will we see Nolan do?
Basically a version of what we see him doing now, because as a patroller he walks around. P2s can drive solo, which we never really did. He could also ride with Lucy, or with Jackson…. It’s exciting for me to go into Season 4 with things we’ve never done before, with dynamics that we haven’t brought together. Also, what is inherent in not being a rookie, student, or intern is that he will have a bit more strength, as he is the one who will be making the calls. He will conduct his business a little more without having to, for example, register with a TO or you know how to pass a test in each episode.
TVLINE | I was a bit disappointed that Chen’s infiltration mission ended so quickly, but what does that experience do to the character advancing? Is it something for her to dip her toe in once a season or so?
Ultimately, it’s something that will always be on her radar as what she wants to do. Obviously, she was cast into the depths, without all the training that goes with when you are an undercover cop. I liked Grey’s line about “there is no failure in not being prepared for a job you did not prepare for.” A lot of shows just throw people undercover and they’re really good at it even when they don’t have training, but we try to do “indoor baseball” as much as we can. It was a special circumstance, but I think she’s going to be a little more deliberate to learn these things before embarking on a long term assignment.
TVLINE | Talk about the character of Toks Olagundoye and how you decided to implement Professor Ryan to solve several of the police issues that arise.
As we sat down to really plan the season, we felt responsible for honoring the serious conversations that were going on about systemic injustice and the police, stuff like that. As a patrol show, we can do so many different things – we’re not relegated to “a very special episode of The recruit– so we felt like we had the opportunity to really explore all these different facets. Obviously we went really hard with the Doug Stanton story, but I had been planning to send Nolan back to school since the end of Season 2. I had a conversation with a cop about how quickly you can become a TO, and they said, “If you have a college degree you can do it two years faster,” and I’m like, “Oh, I had to plan that when I made the show and that Nolan didn’t finish college! ” [Laughs] It ended up being one of those times when something that we had put in place really worked really well, because it allowed us to put it in a classroom situation. The classroom, and Toks in particular, was a great way to get into a lot of different things.
TVLINE | Even smaller things like “wobblersWhich I had never heard of.
It was very important to us that we honored those conversations even in the finale. And by the way, we’ll be talking about that in Season 4 as well, because at this point it’s part of the series. It seems that we have a responsibility to really look at real policing while remaining ambitious. But Toks, we obviously loved him from the Castle days, and she just came along and managed to put a real human face on some really serious issues.