“Rookie” Talk 101 With Eric Winter

Eric WinterPhoto Credit: Jonny Marlow

Photographer: Jonny Marlow
Groomer: Denise Madrigal
Stylist: Adam Ballheim

We sat down with Eric Winter to discuss the upcoming seventh season of his hit ABC series, The Rookie. On the police procedural series, he stars opposite Nathan Fillion as the fan favorite Sgt. Tim Bradford, a strict no-nonsense police officer. The show has not only taken the coveted spot as one of ABC’s top scripted dramas, but is also ranked as one of Hulu’s most watched, with nearly 500 million hours streamed since 2018.

This June Winter will be launching a new venture: Palm Republic, a handcrafted premium, unique blend of rums from diverse rum-making regions – Panama, Jamaica, and the US Virgin Islands. The rum recently won a gold medal at the 2024 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which is the biggest competition in the country. Winter first fell in love with rum on his first trip to Puerto Rico, when he was meeting his now in-laws, and since then, has had a passion for the spirit, carefully developing Palm Republic by collaborating with expert mixologists and masters of spirits to achieve a unique premium rum. The brand is also partnering with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which was created to help Gold Star and fallen first responder families as well as injured veterans and first responders. The rum will be sold online and initially launch in-stores in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Eric WinterPhoto Credit: Jonny Marlow

With six seasons of The Rookie under your belt, is there anything you’re looking forward to exploring in Season 7?

I’ve been hoping to explore the relationship between Tim and his mom. His upbringing with his dad was awful and I feel like he really loves his mom. So, it would be great to see Tim in a situation next season with his mom and sister.

The show seems to have taken on new life since it first premiered in 2018. How has it been seeing the show grow and become somewhat of a phenomenon, especially through social media?

It’s really incredible to see a show like this becoming even more popular due to its social media presence. Really goes to show you the power of social media with TV and Film these days. We are a true anomaly as a show growing in viewers going into our seventh season. So many new fans have come up to me and said they found our show because they have been seeing clips and edits on Tik Tok. I love our fandom and the broad demo we reach because of our social media presence.

This season, we’ve gotten a chance to learn more about Tim’s past. Did you have any input on his backstory?

I always love learning about Tim’s past. It’s so complicated and layered. I’ve mentioned things like meeting a sister or family members, but I’ve never been involved in crafting the stories of his past. I’m always excited and eager to see what the writers come up with each season in regard to Tim and his past!

With over two decades of acting experience, are there any roles or genres you are still looking to explore?

I’m always looking to try things outside of my comfort zone or things I just haven’t had the chance to tackle yet. I would love to do something that is a period piece or in the sci-fi genre. A smart horror or thriller is also something I’m actively looking to do.

Eric WinterPhoto Credit: Jonny Marlow

What would you be doing if you did not go into acting?

I went to UCLA as a pre-med student. I always wanted to work in sports medicine. I was also very close to pursuing a career as a paramedic before acting took off.

What’s coming up next for you?

Outside of season seven of The Rookie, I am incredibly busy and focused on launching my premium rum Palm Republic. I have been obsessed with premium rum for close to 20 years now when I first met my wife’s family in Puerto Rico. A few years ago, I went down the road of creating my own rum strictly from this passion I had , and now, we are finally ready to launch in June! My wife and I also have a production company with quite a few projects in development and a podcast called “He Said Ella Dijo” with iHeart Media.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Honestly, I’m a very simple guy when it comes to luxury, and to me, the greatest luxury in my life is getting to have such an amazing amount of family time because I’m filming in LA. It is very rare to be on a show for seven seasons that shoots at home. So being able to do what I love and be with my family daily is a true luxury that I don’t take for granted.