In the new Netflix dramedy, The Good Cop, Tony Danza plays a formerly dirty cop trying to reclaim a relationship with his straight-arrow detective son (Josh Groban). The show feels like a throwback, one part Castle and another part The Commish, relying on the chemistry of the two leads while working around occasionally absurd crimes that often seem to have a tie to Danza’s character. It’s an easy watch in a sea of heavier procedurals and a glove-tight fit for Danza, a TV icon thanks to Taxi and Who’s The Boss who picks his spots, touring his stage show and trying to produce a play while waiting for roles that sing to him.
In our talk with the affable and BS-free Danza, we touched on why this one carried a note, his initial apprehension (and ultimate delight) in working with Groban, taking a “real” job as a teacher for a while, playing against type while not caring about type, and why he doesn’t want to do more Who’s The Boss.
The Geoffrey Owens/Trader Joes thing is all over the news. You pressed pause on your acting career at one point and went off to teach for a while [documenting the process for an A&E series]. Were there any negative responses to that?
Well, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t working that much. [Laughs] It wasn’t like I was dropping out. But I got nothing but positives from that. You know, someone asked me because of the 40th anniversary of Taxi what my favorite… the thing that I’m most proud of, and I actually said Teach. Because that changed me in so many ways. You spend 181 days teaching high school at an inner-city school in Philadelphia, it changes your outlook.
I read that you’re still connected to the school with a talent show.
Teachers versus students talent show there. I try to stay connected to the school — it’s still important to me. There are over 4,000 kids in that school now. Can you imagine?
Have any of the students kept in touch with you?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, a lot of them. I just got invited to one of their weddings.
Oh, that’s awesome.
One of my favorite students. It’s amazing the effect as a teacher that you have on them. This was 10th grade, it was a very impressionable moment. I’d be surprised if they didn’t keep in touch with me.