The Rookie’s Jackson West was played by actor and musician, Titus Makin Jr., who has since focused on his musical aspirations, with his most recent release being Truth Is.
Titus Makin Jr. is most popularly known for his role on the ABC’s police procedural crime drama television series, The Rookie, as Officer Jackson West. Makin was a part of the show for three seasons, after having debuted as part of the original cast members of the series. His last appearance was during the first episode of season four in September 2021, through a stand-in. The actor’s exit and the surprise death of Officer West came as a shock to fans of the show, primarily due to the manner of his exit.
Who was Officer Jackson West?
In the world of the story, Jackson West was first introduced as a police officer who assigned to the Mid-Wilshire Division. When viewers first met him, he was considered as the most prepared officer in training. However, as the show progresses, West struggled with the practicalities of his chosen profession. First, he had to deal with his fear of firing firearms. Thereafter, he had to deal with almost failing training, but by the time of his exit, he had overcome these and was already promoted to Police Officer ll.
Arguably, besides his characterisation on the show, the impact of Officer West was that he also highlighted the LGBTQI+ community in the world of the story. Officer West had two prominent relationships. His first season romance was with Nurse Gino, which was short-lived. However, in season two, he met Sterling Freeman, a relationship which continued well into season three.
Impact of BLM movement and Officer West’s season three
Ahead of the shooting of the third season, it was reported that West was willing to walk away from his role. This was during the season two break, when the George Floyd shooting happened and the formalisation of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was reignited. Considering that Makin was playing a character of a Black law enforcement officer, Makin had asserted that he was willing to walk away from the character and the show if the third season did not reflect the climate of the country at that time.
Fortunately, the show had every intention to have the socio-political climate of the time reflected on the show, which was the reason that Makin returned for the third season. What is unclear is whether the result thereof was the reason he did not return for the fourth season, even if it was to bid an on-screen farewell to the character.
Season four and Makin’s departure
Makin officially made his final appearance during the season three finale. Officer West, on the other hand, made his final appearance during the opening sequence of the fourth season premiere, which was shown through surveillance footage. Officer West was shot while he was attempting to escape being captured. Thereafter, he was rushed to hospital, where he died. This was shot through the use of a stunt double, hence the manner in which the sequence played out.
No reason was given for his non-return. However, The Rookie’s showrunner, Alexi Hawley spoke on the decision to give viewers some kind of closure on Officer West through the season four opener by explaining, “It’s heartbreaking, but I didn’t really have a choice. He (Makin) wasn’t coming back, and because of the way we set things up with the (season three) 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 since The Rookie departure
Makin has not addressed the reasons for his non-return, nor has he bid a public farewell to his character. Instead, he has focused on his music aspirations. The musician, in June 2021, released his most recent single, Truth Is.
He explained the intention thereof as, “Wanted to write this song from my truth and perspective of being someone feeling forced to digest the world’s negative tropes, headlines, and ideologies that have horribly molded our communities and relationships.”
He added, “As I have allowed myself to be negatively influenced far too much in the past, I wanted to raise awareness that we need to continue to search for our truth and true love. Broadening our minds and being able to love and live with a full heart of acceptance. Suggesting we have more care and concern for people (of all ethnicities), nature, & healthier media.”