‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ taking on police brutality? Terry Crews says “yes”
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the following Black Lives Matter protests there has been a call for change in the media. Television has answered this call and taken action to right wrongs when it comes to diversity and address the issues and one TV show making changes is NBC’s, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is in a unique position as it’s a comedy show, featuring silly & gag-related humor, that’s centered around the lives of police officers in a Brooklyn precinct. The way the creative team on Brooklyn Nine-Nine handles future episodes will need plenty of forethought to address topics like police brutality in the context of a humorous show.
Terry Crews, who plays Lieutenant Terry Jeffords on Brooklyn Nine-Nine spoke about the strides the show has already made to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes action
Brooklyn Nine-Nine just wrapped its seventh season in April but the eight season was already underway with four episodes already written. Crews stated that when the protests broke out the team immediately scrapped those episodes, saying that they, “just threw them in the trash.”
Crews went on to say that the cast has had “a lot of somber talks about it and a lot of deep conversations and we hope through this we’re going to make something that will be truly groundbreaking this year. We have an opportunity here, and we plan to use it in the best way possible.”
Addressing systemic racism & police brutality in the show’s context will definitely take some deliberation. Though Brooklyn Nine-Nine has dealt with serious topics before, like racial profiling in an episode where Crews’s character is stopped by a white police officer while walking in his own neighborhood.
A new future of cop shows
While “a shift in consciousness”, as Crews puts it, has been building for years, now that action is finally being taken there’s a strong aversion to the regular cop shows we see all over television. Already shows like Cops & Live PD have been pulled from the air. Brooklyn Nine-Nine portrays a version of cops that’s light-hearted & full of hijinks, a depiction that looks tone-deaf next to the brutality of real-life incidents.
The cast & crew of Brooklyn Nine-Nine recently made a $100,000 dollar donation to the National Bail Fund Network. Actress Stephanie Beatriz who plays Detective Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, took to Twitter to further encourage actors who make their living playing cops on television to donate as well.
A long-awaited movement in television
Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t the only TV show to undergo changes due to the new shift. Shows like Big Mouth and the newly released Central Park, have each parted ways with white cast members voicing Black characters.
Jenny Slate, who played Missy in Big Mouth, and Kristen Bell, who portrayed Molly in Central Park, have both decided to leave so their roles can be filled by Black actors. Bell & Slate made statements that the decision was mutual between them and the show and apologized for taking roles meant for Black representation.
Other shows that have portrayed racist tropes like “blackface” for comedic effect such as 30 Rock & Scrubs have removed the episodes containing the offensive content. Tina Fey, creator & star of 30 Rock, apologized for the episodes and stated, “Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness.”