Nathan Fillion cop drama The Rookie launching on Three

US police drama The Rookie hits New Zealand television Monday night after wowing critics.

Nathan Filion stars plays a small-town American who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of being a police officer.

As the department's oldest rookie, he's met with scepticism from some who see him as a walking midlife crisis.

"It's a wholly original take on the cop genre," writes Glenn Garvin for

"What really makes The Rookie interesting is watching Fillion manoeuvre among all these sharp elbows while balancing the shortage of adrenaline with the bonus supply of experience that both come with middle age.

He does it all with the same let's-have-a-beer amiability he's displayed in shows as diverse as Firefly and Castle."

The LA Times review criticises the show for following "the cop-show playbook", but reckons "Fillion's easy charm is tough to dismiss".

The Rookie scored a C+ review from Indiewire's Ben Travers, who cites a few problems but ultimately recommends it.

"Kicking off the series with a laughable setup is never good, but The Rookie manages to recover," he writes.

"It has the few auspices necessary for a functionally pleasant procedural: Its star is handsome and charming.

Its supporting characters range from capable to intriguing. The structure, look, and tone, all fit the mold."

Terry Terrones gave the show an A grade in their The Gazette review.

"Full of action, interesting characters, and a little bit of romance, The Rookie is a sure-fire hit," Terrones said, also praising the "diverse and well-rounded police station filled with complex characters".

The Rookie screens on Three every Monday night, starting February 4.