The Real Reason Titus Makin Left The Rookie (Killing Off Jackson West Was The Only Way)

The Real Reason Titus Makin Left The Rookie (Killing Off Jackson West Was The Only Way)
Image credit: ABC

Despite the off-screen death, the writers could not develop Jackson's storyline after the actor's departure.


  • Jackson West (Titus Makin) was one of the protagonists of the first three seasons of The Rookie.
  • Fans still can't understand why Officer West's death was so sudden and strange.
  • The reason was the actor's decision to leave the project.

Over the years, we've enjoyed following the professional and personal aspects of the LAPD's Mid-Wilshire Division, with John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) as the central character. But what makes The Rookie great is its diverse ensemble cast, and many fans still can't believe how the writers handled Jackson West (Titus Makin) at the beginning of Season 4.

The character seemed to be hastily written out of the script. The reason was the actor's decision to leave The Rookie, but why did he decide to do so? Let's get to the bottom of it.

The Sudden Death of Jackson West

Jackson's father, Percy West (Michael Beach), was the commanding officer of the Internal Affairs Division, which created an interesting dynamic. Additionally, the rookie cop was the first openly LGBTQ+ character on the show, which had many of us rooting for him.

Officer West had huge potential in terms of story development, as originally a by-the-book cop, he quickly found himself disillusioned by the harsh reality of both the underworld and the conditions in which people of color have to work in the LAPD. One of the central motifs in Season 3 involved West confronting his interim T.O., Doug Stanton (Brandon Routh), who was an outspoken racist.

But unfortunately, in the first episode of Season 4, it was revealed that Jackson was killed by one of Sandra de La Cruz's (Camille Guaty) henchmen after he and Angela Lopez (Alyssa Diaz) were kidnapped.

The Real Reason Titus Makin Left The Rookie (Killing Off Jackson West Was The Only Way) - image 1

The Character Was Disrespectfully Written Off

In the Season 3 finale, we learned that the Lopez wedding was not going to go off without a hitch when criminals suddenly burst in. In Season 4, however, we are already confronted with the fact that West was killed off-screen, as we learn from the security footage.

Moreover, Jackson's revenge is carried out in the same episode, as Sergeant Grey (Richard T. Jones) manages to catch the killer and put him behind bars. Both he and Lopez are dealing with heavy emotions over the death of a friend and colleague, but that's where the Officer West arc ends — the heavy emotions are let go and we can move on with the story. They didn't even show the parents' reaction to their son's death!

The whole thing was incredibly rushed and bizarre.

The Real Reason West's Actor Left The Rookie

The actor stated that it was difficult for him to star in a show about cops after the tragedies of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who were killed by police officers.

'I woke up one morning and I was watching the news, and I was like, "I can't do this. I can't go play a cop on a show and not talk about the fact that I'm a Black cop." My character hadn't addressed any of that.'

Sure, West was able to get Officer Stanton fired (and only temporarily), but this set of issues only indirectly addresses the larger problem of institutionalized racism and police brutality that people face on a daily basis.

'I had that conversation with Alexi [Hawley], our showrunner, and he was extremely gracious and he totally understood everything I was saying. I did come to that point where I was like, "If you want to write me out, I politely receive that. I would rather be written out than ignore the reality and not be able to tell the story."'

Hawley later confirmed that Jackson had to be written out of the script due to Makin's departure, and that the character was hastily killed off because it made no sense to continue the arc without Jackson.

Source: Entertainment Weekly.