There are dozens of television shows about cops and dozens of comedies. But, since the end of the much-missed “Reno 911!”, there has not been a police comedy. Fortunately, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has come along to fill the void and premieres Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8:30/7:30c on FOX.
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The show about a precinct of quirky but effective police officers continues a tradition that dates as far back as “The Andy Griffith Show” with some contemporary twists that Andy would never have imagined. The cast includes “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Andy Samberg and serious thespian Andre Braugher. The set up is simple: New Captain Holt (Braugher) is a traditional cop while Detective Jake Peralta (Samberg) is the snarky young gun.
Here are five things you need to know about “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
1. It’s From the Creators of “Parks & Recreation.” If the bizarre personalities, interoffice flirtations and general bonhomie between the characters seems familiar, that’s because the show was created by Mike Schur and Dan Goor, who also created the Peabody Award-winning cult hit “Parks & Recreation.” That comedy pedigree inspired Samberg, who also is credited as a producer, to sign on with the show. “I took a cue from Amy Poehler in terms of feeling confident about making this decision. Not just because she [segued] successfully out of [“Saturday Night Live”] into a show, but because she literally did it with the same guys.”
2. Andre Braugher and Andy Samberg Are the Best Odd Couple Since Felix and Oscar. It’s difficult to think of a more unlikely pairing than Samberg and Braugher, with the possible exception of the theoretical combination of Snooki and Dame Judi Dench. But it turns out to be brilliant. The contrast between Braugher’s classical training and Samberg’s improv background mirrors the differences between the characters that they play. Samberg explains, “Because of that gravitas that he has and that actual acting training, and because that’s so the opposite of where I come from and how I’ve gotten into comedy, I feel like our characters play perfectly into our experience leading up to this point. He’s able to ground scenes and let me sort of act like a maniac all around him like a yipping little dog in a way that has, so far, been really funny.”
Schur revealed the secret of the Peralta/Holt dynamic. “When Dan and I first started conceiving of the character in the show, we had this character detail for Jake that he was the kind of kid in high school that bragged to his friends and would say, “I didn’t even study for that test and I got a B.” And the idea was that Holt comes along and says, “Hey, you should study and get an A.” That was the essential dynamic of the two characters.”
3. Yes, the Captain is Gay. But He’s Also a Lot of Other Things. The most unexpected moment in the pilot is when Captain Holt explains that he’s a stickler for doing things by the book because he’s gay and had to work harder to fit into the macho police culture. But Holt’s sexuality is just one facet of his personality. “We think of it as a character trait that’s like a guy who’s from Orlando or something,” said Goor. “It’s a fact of his life and it has certainly influenced what kind of person he is and the shape that his career has taken, but it doesn’t overwhelm him. It doesn’t define him. It’s not the entirety of who he is.” However, as the show develops, his romantic life will be explored. “We have plans in the future to get more into his personal life and possibly meet his partner/husband, but that won’t happen in the first little batch of episodes. We really wanted to focus on the precinct and the work family before we got into the personal lives of the characters.
4. The Creators Were Inspired by a Classic Sitcom. Back in the 1970s, when New York was gritty and suits were made out of polyester, a classic sitcom, “Barney Miller,” was set in a New York precinct. The resemblance is no coincidence. Says Schur, “We were both fans of “Barney Miller” and we have fond memories of “Barney Miller,” and just the more we talked about it the more it seemed like something that, at least in the half hour network comedy world was at least somewhat unexplored territory, I guess. As soon as we came to that conclusion and we started talking about it, we just liked the idea more and more and we kind of stuck with it.”
5. The Producers Already Know How the Series Will End. Though they have only written a few episodes of the show, the creators have already planned the series finale. Says Schur (who played Dwight’s cousin Mose on “The Office”) with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, “I think what will happen is that at the very end, it will be revealed that this entire thing was a dream in the mind of Mose. Like, the camera will slowly push past as Jake Peralta assumes the captaincy and the command of the Nine-Nine, it will slowly push outside and into a hospital room where a dehydrated Mose will be lying on a cot somewhere, and you’ll realize that this entire thing was happening in a snow globe next to his bed.”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” premieres Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8:30/7:30c on FOX.