When news first broke that Afton Williamson would not be returning to The Rookie for Season 2 after bringing sexual harassment allegations against a crew member and a guest star, we were all curious how her character would be written off of the show.
TVLine first broke the news that Williamson's Officer Bishop would leave the series in a way that would tie up loose ends for her storyline, with showrunnre Alexi Hawley explaining that her departure would be tied to a revelation she'd made in Season 1. Bishop did not disclose that she has a foster brother who was also a felon on her police academy personal history questionnaire, and because of it, “She was never going to get a fair shake at the LAPD. So ultimately she would transfer over to a federal agency. There she could start with a clean slate and hopefully rocket to the top of the ladder.”
Hawley called the hasty departure an “organic” exit for the character, which also gave Nathan Fillion‘s titular rookie “an opportunity to throw other obstacles in Nolan's way.”
News of Williamson's departure came in mid-June but it wasn't until recently that we learned why as she explained her decision to walk away from the show in a series of Instagram posts.
“This season on The Rookie, I was sexually harassed by fellow actor Demetrius Grosse. I was Racially Bullied and Discriminated against and Sexually Assaulted by Hair Department Head Sally Nicole Ciganovich,” the actress wrote in an Instagram caption. While she reported the incident to Hawley, it “remained undocumented and was not reported to HR as promised.” After she was called in for a meeting following The Rookie‘s Season 2 renewal alongside producers and her agent and an SAG-AFTRA Union Rep, “It was clear to all present in the meeting that the Showrunner had not shared my reports with any of the producers.”
An independent, third-party investigation did not find any evidence of wrongdoing based on Williamson's claims. The findings were released in a statement from said third-party, which read, “As a result of the independent investigation, we have concluded that those identified in Ms. Williamson's allegations did not conduct themselves in an unlawful manner or demonstrate behavior inappropriate for the workplace. It was also concluded that the executive producers, including showrunner Alexi Hawley, addressed matters of which they were made aware promptly and in a fair and reasonable manner.”
The Rookie Season 2 airs Sundays at 10/9c on ABC.