TV shows centering around cops have been forced to reckon with the impact they’ve had on public perception of law enforcement in recent months, amid the global anti-police brutality protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers. Reality shows like Cops and Live PD have been canceled, while scripted series like Law & Order and NCIS are grappling with the question of whether they glorify police brutality.
So where does that leave Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the beloved NBC sitcom about a team of NYPD detectives that has built a loyal following for its goodhearted comedy? As it heads into its eighth season, the series is starting from scratch, star Terry Crews confirmed, revealing that the writers have decided to scrap four of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 8 scripts in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
In an interview with Access Hollywood, Crews revealed that the writers had finished the scripts for four episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 8, but decided to scrap them amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests and conversations about police brutality:
“We’ve had a lot of somber talks about it and deep conversations and we hope through this we’re going to make something that will be truly groundbreaking this year. We have an opportunity and we plan to use it in the best way possible. Our show-runner Dan Goor, they had four episodes all ready to go and they just threw them in the trash. We have to start over. Right now we don’t know which direction it’s going to go in.”
Crews did not give details on those four episodes, but from his statement, it’s likely that Brooklyn Nine-Nine will attempt to sensitively address police brutality in its eighth season, hopefully with the same gravity with which it approached its episodes about an active shooter and racial profiling.
But despite the show’s diverse cast and its progressive comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has always felt like an optimistic fantasy of law enforcement that rarely dips into real-life issues. It’s both the show’s boon and curse, to be escapist comedy. But with tensions against the NYPD rising, it does make one wonder how Brooklyn Nine-Nine will deal with current-day issues, and if it will do it well.
For the most part, the cast and crew of Brooklyn Nine-Nine have stayed out of ongoing conversations about police brutality, though earlier this month, Goor and the cast made a $100,000 donation to the National Bail Fund Network to support “the many people who are protesting police brutality.”
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