Some police shows have had a considerable reckoning in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody, which has sparked a widespread protest movement in the United States and around the world as governments are pressured to reform departments and prevent more police brutality.
Cops was abruptly canceled after it was pulled from the air, and Live PD got the same treatment shortly afterward. While Brooklyn 99 has not had the same fate, the once-revived NBC comedy has apparently gone back to the drawing board when it came to its next season. Terry Crews said the show scrapped a number of planned episodes in the wake of Floyd’s death and the subsequent national conversation about race and police brutality.
According to Access, Crews said the show’s writers were four episodes into plotting out the next season and decided to throw out what they had been working on, starting over with new context about what the show should be in light of the changing perception of police on television and its impact on an audience’s perception of what they do.
“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,” Terry revealed. “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 also spoke about his own experiences with the police, explaining that he’s always been seen as a “threat” in any role he plays because of his size and physical fitness. But he said that’s gotten him into uncomfortable situations with the police in the past.
“You’ve seen me, in movies or whatever but before all this, I was always a threat. I would be going to the mall or going different places. I’ve had guns pointed at me by police officers in L.A. This was before I was famous. The thing is, they had the wrong guy,” Terry explained to Scott and Kit.
“It’s something that every black man has been through and it’s hard to really try to get other people to understand. I have to say, right here, what is going on right now is Black America’s Me Too movement. We always knew this was happening, but now white people are understanding,” Terry shared.
One episode of Brooklyn 99 did take that lesson to heart and have his character confronted by a white police officer. But often the show has not done the best job of recreating how police are perceived elsewhere, especially in the Black community. A season one plot line, you may remember, involved a contest between two officers racing to arrest as many people as possible. It’s just a TV show, of course, but it seems that Crews and the others involved with Brooklyn 99 understand the opportunity they have with the show to tell different kinds of stories moving forward.