Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s iconic gay cop says TV needs to ‘collectively address’ police brutality – starting with his own show
Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andre Braugher, who plays gay Black cop Raymond Holt, has said that the show must confront police brutality in its next season.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is widely loved by fans for its humour and charm, and in recent seasons it has tackled more serious issues such as racial profiling within the police force and sexual harassment.
In June, Terry Crews revealed that showrunner Dan Goor and his writing team had thrown out their scripts and vowed to tackle police brutality in the show’s next season following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of white police officers.
Speaking to Variety, Braugher said Brooklyn Nine-Nine must tackle police brutality in its upcoming season in a meaningful way.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine has to commit itself, as a comedy, to telling the story of how these things happen, and what’s possible to deal with them,” he said.
“I don’t have any easy answers, nor do I have a window into the mind bank of this writing staff. Can you tell the same story? Can anyone in America maintain any kind of innocence about what police departments are capable of?”
Braugher said he will be interested to see how his character will tackle the issue. In the show’s fourth season, captain Holt advised Terry Jeffers (played by Terry Crews) to not report an incident of racial profiling by police.
It could be a really groundbreaking season that we’re all going to be very, very proud of, or we’re going to fall flat on our face.
“It might mean that Holt is a staunch defender of the NYPD, or that he tries to burn the whole thing down,” Braugher said.
“I know that he is a pragmatic man; I do know that he’s a loving, [if] robotic person. I’m anxious to see what that’s all about, and I have no idea what season eight of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is going to be, because everything’s changed.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine star says he’s fallen prey to a ‘mythology’ surrounding police officers on television.
Andre Braugher, who formerly won acclaim for playing a police officer on NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street, continued: “Can a comedy sustain the things that we’re trying to talk about? I don’t know.
“It could be a really groundbreaking season that we’re all going to be very, very proud of, or we’re going to fall flat on our face.”
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Braugher said that he, like many other actors, has fallen prey to the “mythology” that has been built up around law enforcement on television.
“It’s almost like the air you breathe or the water that you swim in. It’s hard to see,” he said.
“But because there are so many cop shows on television, that’s where the public gets its information about the state of policing. Cops breaking the law to quote, ‘defend the law’, is a real terrible slippery slope.
“It has given license to the breaking of law everywhere, justified it and excused it. That’s something that we’re going to have to collectively address – all cop shows.”
He said police comedies and dramas must confront “the myth that the outcomes of the criminal justice system are not dependent upon your race” going forward.