CHP’s Docuseries “CADETS” Episode 1 Recap


Laura Reed | January 18, 2024

The highly anticipated premiere of CHP’s new Cadets docuseries aired yesterday at 4:00 PM PST on CHP’s YouTube channel. The episode starts in the early hours of a West Sacramento morning as we’re welcomed onto the CHP Academy grounds with a gorgeous aerial drone shot of the quad and its beautiful Memorial Fountain. The Fountain holds extreme significance, honor, and importance in CHP culture which I hope we’ll see more of in later episodes. In this episode, we see the cadets lined up in the quad where they first get their taste of Academy life with drills upon arrival, issued by the Staff Officers in charge.

Titled “Motivation“, Episode 1 can be summed up as the intro to the 26-week Academy training these hopeful cadets will undergo. It’s a peek into the para-military CHP boot camp that gives slight PTSD to anyone who has ever experienced something similar or even played competitive sports (hand up on that one). Within the first three minutes, the series gives us Last Chance U and Hard Knocks vibes which had me hooked immediately – in the best way possible (well done CHP videographers, producers, and editors!).

We’re introduced to eight cadets from all over the state including one from New York in a direct-address interview style peppered throughout the show, ranging in age from 21 to 33. They share their feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed, especially after day 1 of drills, yet still hopeful and determined to graduate. With just 15 minutes to run from the quad to their dorm rooms to change out of their suits and into their cadet uniforms, while carrying their suitcases which CANNOT touch the ground (that’s a hard NO Cadet!), you’ll find yourself audibly yelling, “Go, go, go!” as they struggle to race to their rooms.

As the short 10-minute episode closes out, the Staff Sgt. addresses the cadets in the gymnasium. “We will challenge you, we will not accept excuses and we will not let you off easy, EVER.” […] We do this to acclimate you to people yelling at you, testing you so you can respond respectfully. […] No one makes it through the Academy alone. We are part of your support structure. Your success is our success.” It’s made clear that this “tough love” approach is to prepare these cadets for the real world, the world that unfortunately isn’t so kind to eager, ambitious young men and women who want to make a difference in their communities by protecting and serving. A sad but honest truth these days.

We look forward to EPISODE 2 which looks from the teaser to be all about the rigorous PT they endure (enter the PTSD from competitive sports again). Here’s the bottom line: this docuseries is well-produced, thought-out, scored, and keeps you wanting to see more. Episode 2 airs next Wednesday, 1/24 at 4:00 PM PST on CHP’s YouTube channel.

“They don’t call it yelling, they call it motivation.” – Cadet Jessica Takenouchi, 33 yrs old, Pittsburg, CA