FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 8, 2021
Color Of Change Hollywood Comes Together with ABC’s The Rookie to Inform Depictions of the Criminal Justice System in the Show’s Latest Season
January 8, 2021 – Color Of Change (COC) and ABC’s The Rookie partnered on the show’s newest season, which just premiered, to more accurately depict the criminal justice system in the series and lead the charge for the genre. Through writers room meetings, script reviews and deep discussions on issues embedded in the criminal justice system, COC and The Rookie’s creative staff worked closely together to inform the newest season.
Over the past several months, COC’s Hollywood teamed up with writers and producers at The Rookie to help them develop content that is authentic and nuanced when it comes to the relationship between the criminal justice system and Black Americans. In these meetings, COC connected and translated its on-the-ground criminal justice campaigns to writers, showrunners and entertainment insiders. This partnership represents a significant leap for how crime shows are developed and who has a voice in their development. While police officers or other members of the judicial system are routinely brought in as experts to consult on scripts and storylines, activists and advocates for justice reform are left out of those conversations, with a real impact on how these stories are told.
“As The Rookie began Season Three, we were committed to going beyond our aspirational storytelling to focus on issues of systemic injustice and the need for police reform,” said Alexi Hawley, executive producer of The Rookie. “Color Of Change has been an invaluable partner in that mission, and our stories have been impacted in a myriad of ways because of their insight and guidance.”
“If the genre continues to exclude writers of color, miseducate people about the criminal justice system, and normalize racial injustice, it makes our work to create a better world for Black people much more difficult,” said Kristen Marston, culture and entertainment advocacy director at Color Of Change. “Color Of Change is proud to serve as a consultant for The Rookie and other crime TV shows, but we are not a replacement for Black writers, showrunners and creators – whose consistent contributions to the storylines are critical. We appreciate The Rookie’s commitment to inclusivity, and how open and dedicated to progress the team has proven to be and look forward to more great conversations and meaningful steps towards change.”
The partnership was informed by COC’s report, Normalizing Injustice, which presents findings on how crime TV shows influence how people understand criminal justice and race. This report included an in-depth look at the way crime TV shows influence how people understand criminal justice and race, and how that can relate to the lack of diversity in the writer’s room as well. In the 2017-18 season, eighty-one percent of showrunners (21 of 26 series) in this genre were white men.
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and governments to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org