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'Rookie Blue' Boss Previews Life-Changing Finale and Season 4 Plans (Q&A)

"We were trying to take risks in season three more than before," executive producer Tassie Cameron tells THR.

Rookie Blue I Never Season Finale - H 2012
ABC/CAITLIN CRONENBERG
"Rookie Blue"

Rookie Blue is heading out with a bang.

"With season three, we were trying to stay somewhat honest to the experience of being a young officer on the job," executive producer Tassie Cameron told The Hollywood Reporter, "and that it's not all fun and games and good times. It wasn't really that we were trying to be darker. The more you're on the job, the more possibilities there are for dangerous and heartbreaking things to happen."

Cameron talked to THR about the decision to move forward with Jerry's heartbreaking (and game-changing) death, how the finale affects season four and introducing new characters.

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The Hollywood Reporter: Was Jerry's death always in the cards?

Tassie Cameron: It was in the cards from the beginning of development but we were very nervous about it and it took us a long time to gear up to do it and to actually make the decision. We kept thinking maybe there's something else we could do. We were very reluctant about doing that episode and making that choice, partly because we loved that character and the actor so much. At the same time, we felt it was important in a show about a dangerous job, it was key to show that there were consequences. We wanted to explore that with a character that would cause repercussions for everyone. Jerry weirdly had a great impact on a bunch of our characters.

THR: Can you recall what Plan B or Plan C were?

Cameron: Plan B is: Do they have to die? Plan C is: Is there somebody else? Can we do the same thing with a guest star and have it have the same impact. Do we do it with a character that hasn't been around as much or as long so it's not as painful? Every time you do that, you start to feel like you're side-stepping the most interesting, dramatic choice you could make. We wanted to go for it.

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THR: What were the reactions like when the episode aired?

Cameron: The night that the episode aired, I thought my computer was going to explode. That's an exciting reaction to witness, it means that people really care. It means that we've managed to get people emotionally invested. Within a couple of days, people started to look at it and go, "That makes sense for a lot of reasons. It makes sense for Sam and Andy, it's interesting for Tracy and Oliver."

THR: Can you share other story lines that were big risks for you and the writers this season?

Cameron: We were trying to take risks in season three more than before. I'm proud of the Dov story line. It was a risky one and we were nervous about that. We did it in an interesting and messy way that kind of snuck up on you. Even in last week's episode, which was in the Rashomon-style, with the different points of view in the cells. Maybe in season one, we wouldn't have killed the guy in the cell. By season three, we felt like that's what really would have happened so we said let's take the risk and go for it.

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THR: Which character would you like to explore further in season four? Will you be introducing new blood next season?

Cameron: I was happy to really explore Oliver a little bit more and his family life. I was happy to delve into him and give him an A story this season and a really strong episode. Swarek is a real man of mystery, and season four is a season where we should start to learn a little more about who he is and why he is the way he is. We constantly kept him quite a cipher. We know what we think, but we haven’t kind of explored that on-screen too much. It may be time to do a little bit of that.

THR: What should viewers expect in the season finale?

Cameron: In this episode, we were trying to explore our season theme and this season we were working on the idea that these characters need to be careful of what they wish for. This is an episode where, in some ways, most of the characters in the story line get what they wished for, and yet what that ends up looking like is very, very different from what they expected. I think you’ll see that for Andy, Chris and Gail. The decisions that they make in this episode is very important for season four.

THR: How will their choices affect them in season four?

Cameron: Andy is going to have to make a big professional choice that will affect her future professionally and personally in a really big way. I hope that it will be satisfying and understandable. It’s a bit more of a cliffhanger than usual for us. I think we’re always so insecure about whether we’ll get another season, but this year we decided to go for it in our taking risks frame of mind. We come into season four six months later, and by the time we fade out in the finale, I hope that people will be dying for these guys to come back and see where they ended after all of this.

THR: What dynamics will you delve into for season four?

Cameron: We’ve been gearing up to this undercover task force, so at least one of our characters will be off doing the undercover thing, and that will provide some new dynamics. The addition of these two new characters -- one’s a rookie, one’s a senior officer -- that’s going to shake things up, especially since the rookie character is outspoken and has no filter. We’re trying to shake things up in season four and keep everybody on their toes.

THR: Since you'll be introducing two new characters in season four, will everyone else be returning?

Cameron: For the most part, everybody is back.

THR: Is there an arc that you're still looking to incorporate into the show in some capacity?

Cameron: We are really looking for the right way to introduce or explore a gay/lesbian story line or character and we’re trying very hard to do that the right way and to do it thoughtfully and organically. It’s definitely on our list for this season as something we want to try and do right. I just want to find more cases that we haven’t explored yet. We’re going to revisit one of the big cases from season three in an interesting way. Now it’s fun because we’ve got a host of great villains and story lines from our past that we can start to draw on a little bit. We’ve never seen an officer go to court and testify. I don’t know if we’ll do it, but I want to try. They’ve talked about it, but we’ve never figured out how to crack a courtroom episode, so that’s on our bucket list. I would love to do a big wedding episode, so that’s on our list. We’ve never really done that. I loved the episodes that are kind of special and different from the regular ones, and I want to make sure that we have a couple this season too. The ones that have a slightly different vibe, I’ve always enjoyed those.

Rookie Blue ends season three 10 p.m. Thursday on ABC.

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@thr.com