“To be attached to the subdivision, to love the the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections.” 

Edmund Burke – Reflections on the French Revolution

Fans of Nathan Fillion, late of Castle fame, should be pleased with his latest venture – a police procedural “dramedy” called The Rookie.  The action is herky-jerky like a good amusement park ride (and therefore riveting) and the humor is sprinkled in judiciously so as not to detract from the drama.  Fillion stars as John Nolan, as a forty-something new recruit to the L.A.P.D.   At first, his watch commander thinks Nolan is just going through some mid-life crisis, and hopes he will wash out soon so as not to embarrass or endanger his fellow officers, but he soon comes round to appreciating the practical, calm wisdom Nolan’s age can bring to bear, even in stressful situations.  Nolan makes mistakes, but he is turning out to be a damned good cop.

Nolan has one thing in common with all of the main characters – each of them is either recovering from, or seeking to repair, a personal relationship that has fallen apart. In fact it is Nolan’s divorce back in Pennsylvania that has, through a bizarre twist, led him him to try his hand at police work:

Officer Tim Bradford, training officer (T.O.) to another rookie, is wound up way too tight, and is recovering from his divorce from a fellow police officer, who worked undercover and whose life slowly disintegrated into abject criminality as she became addicted to the drugs she was trying to get off the street.  Nolan gets a new T.O. who had also worked undercover against the drug lords themselves; doing such a fantastic job that she is given a “golden ticket,” any assignment she chooses.  Much to the bewilderment of all around her, she picks going back on the beat as a uniformed T.O.  Only at the end of the episode does the viewer – and no one else so far – learn she has done so to clock in and out of a regular shift, in the community where she has lost custody of her daughter, in the hopes of regaining her life and her child.  And so it goes, with each major character, as each seeks solace in the job and on the street.

Like this crew, far too many Americans have lost the support of Burke’s “little platoons,” and have let the relationships around them fall into disrepair, or don’t even understand how to form and nurture such relationships to begin with.  They will find no hope on facebook, twitter, etc. – only co-misery with others in the same predicament.  Since post-modern society no longer features cultural support for marriages, parenting, religion, patriotism or any other unifying force, we must help each other as best we can.  Let’s start with encouraging ourselves and others to forgo immediate gratification – especially of transient emotions – if it hinders the long range but far more satisfying rewards.  Relationships are like farming; you must cultivate, or else end up with nothing but tares and wilted weeds.  Vincit qui se vincit (he conquers who conquers himself).