With police shows coming under sharp scrutiny in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the #BlackLivesMatter protests taking place the world over, hit cop-comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine has also had to reassess its storylines. Cast member Terry Crews revealed that they have already had to completely axe four new episodes.
"[Producer Dan Goor] had four [new] 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."
Brooklyn Nine Nine tells the tale of a bumbling New York police department. This simple premise is bolstered by a strong cast and writing. The series is famous for placing its sometimes too-quirky characters in grounded, realistic settings where they have to deal with red-tape, interdepartmental feuds and government corruption in their fight to keep crime off the streets of their precinct.
The show has also not been shy about discussing racism, with one episode's major plotline being Crews' character getting racially profiled by a fellow cop, and his attempts to get justice for his treatment. However, in thewake of the George Floyd protests, such infrequent references to racism in the police force might no longer be enough, and Crews has confirmed in the past that the cast and crew are debating how best to address the issue in future episodes.
"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 here, and we plan to use it in the best way possible."
There is a contingent of the internet that is calling for the show to be canceled altogether, along with any other show that portrays cops as ultimately well-meaning and good-hearted public servants. This movement has already resulted in the cancellation of the long-running tv show Cops, along with A&E's Live PD.
Brooklyn Nine Nine is no stranger to the threat of cancellation. The show has developed a cult following but always struggled with network ratings. This led to Fox canceling the show after its fifth season. Within the span of a day, news of the cancellation hit social media, and an outpouring of support from fans, including celebs like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sean Astin, Mark Hamill, and Guillermo del Toro, led to the series being picked up by NBC.
Hopefully, the goodwill the show has garnered in its seven seasons will protect it against demands of cancellation by the subset of viewers who are in no mood to see cops being portrayed as good guys on tv, and the subset of tv execs who listen to those viewers and act accordingly.
If/when the show does come back for the eighth season, we will surely see the '99 squad addressing head-on the issues of racism and criminal police behavior in thair trademark quirky-but-serious manner. This news was first reported at Deadline.