‘The Rookie’ Showrunner Discusses Heartbreaking Exit for Original Cast Member in Season 4

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Season 4 of ‘The Rookie” premiered last night, picking up right where the Season 3 cliffhanger left off at Detective Angela Lopez’s wedding to Wes Evers.

Unfortunately, the bride and mother-to-be never make it to the altar. Instead, she and her close friend Officer Jackson West get kidnapped right before the ceremony by Sandra “La Fiera” De La Cruz. When the premiere episode of Season 4 starts, we see Sergeant Wade Gray looking through security cam footage to find the missing bride.

What he sees instead is West getting shot in the back by one of La Fiera’s goons. The shocking, startling death so early on in “The Rookie” episode comes as West tries to resist getting shoved into the trunk of a car, causing La Fiera’s men to eliminate him on the spot.

“The Rookie” showrunner Alexi Hawley opened up to TVLine about the sudden, quick death of longtime character Jackson West. Titus Makin, who plays West in the show, didn’t even star in the Season 4 episode. The showrunners had to use a stand-in instead, only showing West from the back.

“What I can say is that Titus [Makin] was not coming back to the show,” Hawley told TVLine earlier this month. “So we needed to do the best that we could to honor the character who’s been so primally a part of the show.”

Makin starred as Jackson West in all 55 episodes of “The Rookie” so far, alongside Nathan Fillion, Alyssa Diaz, Richard T. Jones, Melissa O’Neil, and Eric Winter. Showrunner Hawley doesn’t explain why Makin left the show so suddenly, but he made it clear that Makin is gone for good.

‘The Rookie’ Actor Titus Makin Won’t Come Back to the Show

“It’s heartbreaking,” Hawley said of having to kill off Makin’s character, West. “But I didn’t really have a choice. He wasn’t coming back, and because of the way we set things up with the [Season 3] finale, there was just no way to tell that story without Jackson…. But we lean really hard into honoring how he was the heart of the show. And it was definitely impactful for us to have to deal with that.”

Makin’s been silent on social media since mid-June, according to TVLine, and not doing any exit interviews at the moment. The outlet also noted that “The Rookie” actor also works as an R&B singer under the name Butterfly Ali. Perhaps he wanted to focus on his music career and take a break from television acting.

Regardless, the show tries to do Makin’s character justice after all he’s been through in the last three seasons. At the very end of the episode, we jump ahead to three months later. During the time jump, Lopez visits West’s grave with her newborn baby. The pair mourn for Lopez’s fallen colleague, who she even named her child after in remembrance.