As the world continues to reckon with racist police brutality, fans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine have been considering what this means for the future of the show.
The beloved comedy revolves around members of a New York police precinct. Characters are generally portrayed as likeable oddballs, calling into question whether it’s being too generous to police officers and the corruption that permeates policing.
In June, actor Terry Crews revealed that the showrunners scrapped four episodes following the death of George Floyd, in order to start again and seriously address police brutality.
Now, in an interview on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, Andy Samberg has confirmed that the series will cover racism in the police force in its upcoming season. “We are a comedy,” the actor and comedian said. “But it’s a cop comedy so we gotta lie in the bed we make. He continued:
“Well, it’s still being figured out obviously. I think there’s no question it’s going to address [police brutality]. We have a great challenge for the show itself, but obviously it’s a real and serious challenge for the country and the world.”
Samberg also acknowledged that it’s important to confront how the members of the Nine-Nine may have been complicit in police brutality:
"The challenge is going to be being honest about what’s happening in the world and not shying away from the fact that there’s serious problems, and also not punishing viewers who like our show and care about our characters. But I do believe that our characters need to examine their roles in the world and that’s going to be how we address it. They’re going to have conversations amongst themselves, and be forced to look in the mirror and see who they’re complicit with."
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has confronted pertinent issues in the police force in the past. One episode in its fourth season revolved around racial profiling, as the precinct’s Black lieutenant, Terry, is arrested for walking near his house at night. Samberg highlighted this particular episode as an example of how the show has addressed these issues in previous seasons:
“The good news for us is we have a pretty decent track record already in terms of addressing social issues. We’ve certainly never acted as if all police are innocent outside of our squad. In fact, I think we have a ton of episodes that are specifically about how there’s a lot of corruption and breaking protocol, and it’s terrible.”
The actor added that even though Brooklyn Nine-Nine will cover police corruption, we shouldn’t be looking for a ““half-hour comedy show to be the ones to solve this problem”.
"Still, it looks like those important issues that have been relegated to one-off episodes in past seasons will be brought front and centre.