CBS’s new police drama, Training Day, debuted Thursday night with the episode titled “Apocalypse Now.” Based on the 2001 movie with the same name and using the movie’s director (Antoine Fuqua) as a producer, the show diverges with its portrayal of a badass older police investigator who pursues justice by unapologetically playing outside the rules.
The LAPD Deputy Chief asks a young patrol cop, Kyle Craig, (Justin Cornwell) to go undercover as a trainee and report back to her on veteran investigator Frank Rourke’s (Bill Paxton) actions in the field. She tells Kyle that Frank is “one of the finest investigators this department has ever produced” but that’s not good enough for her. She refers to Frank as a “rogue cop.”
On Kyle's first training day, Frank describes what is basically the “Ferguson Effect” – criminals are taking over the city because the cops are backing off enforcement in the wake of the media circus over Black Lives Matter and it's only hurting the poor people who live there and are struggling to get by. Frank is all about the politically incorrect attitude that it is “better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.”
Frank: Crime in L.A.'s up 300%, arrests are way down. Cops don't even want to make a damn traffic stop. Afraid they'll wind up on "Anderson Cooper."
Banging from trunk: Frank!
Frank: Put us through sensitivity training now. Hug-a-thon. Crooks love it 'cause it's like "The Purge" every night out here, but you know who winds up with the turd end of the tomahawk? Allen.
Kyle: Who's Allen?
Frank: Allen's the very people we swore an oath to protect.
Frank has a soft spot for Allen, a young black boy from the projects who was being pressured to be a lookout for a drug dealer. Frank takes money confiscated from a drug dealer and puts it into a trust fund for him – he tells Allen it is not available to him until he turns eighteen and it will pay for college to get him out of the projects.
Allen: Who is it?
Frank: Pope Francis.
Allen: I thought that was you.
Frank: Listen. Put this in a safe place. It's a trust for 300 grand. Don't get excited. You can't access it till you're 18. It'll get you through college, as long as you don't go into criminal defense.
Allen: Or civil rights.
Frank: Nobody likes a smartass, kid. You're under my protection now, Allen. Everybody out here knows it.
The final twist is that while Kyle is concerned about Frank’s techniques, Frank tells Kyle that his father – a police officer himself killed in the line of duty – was his partner. So, Kyle comes to the realization that his father worked as Frank still does – hardcore and playing outside of the normal rules, but getting the job done. They bond with a goal of finding Kyle’s father’s killer who has escaped justice for so many years.
Unsurprisingly, liberals are not taking kindly to Frank’s take-no-prisoners approach to police work. The New York Times went so far as to write that Frank sounds like Donald Trump did on the campaign trail as he campaigned on law and order. Oh brother.
A good, tough cop who gets the bad guys while showing compassion for a kid in the projects? Let’s hope there are more Franks out there.