‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’: Andre Braugher Says the Show Must Address Police Brutality

In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Andre Braugher plays Captain Raymond Holt, a gay Black man in the New York Police Department. Over the past few months, the show’s creators, writers, and actors have been reflecting on the future of Brooklyn Nine-Nine amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a recent interview with Variety, Braugher acknowledged that the show needs to change. Going forward, he hopes Brooklyn Nine-Nine will find a way to address police brutality.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Andre Braugher in ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ | FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Andre Braugher on his view of cop shows

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a workplace comedy that shows the lives of police officers working in a fictionalized version of an NYPD precinct. With the ongoing protests against police brutality, fans and critics have called out the show for its portrayal of police work. 

“I look up after all these decades of playing these characters, and I say to myself, it’s been so pervasive that I’ve been inside this storytelling, and I, too, have fallen prey to the mythology that’s been built up,” Braugher told Variety.

He continued, “It’s almost like the air you breathe or the water that you swim in. It’s hard to see. 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.”

What he hopes for ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

While it is a comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has tackled tough issues before. The show has a diverse cast, and has explored racial profiling, LGBTQ representation, and sexual assault.

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. I don’t have any easy answers, nor do I have a window into the mind bank of this writing staff,” Braugher said. “Can you tell the same story? Can anyone in America maintain any kind of innocence about what police departments are capable of?”

The way Braugher looks at it, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been given an opportunity, but the NBC show has to rise to the occassion.

“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… But I think this is a staff, a cast and a crew that’s willing to take it on and give it our best. I think we have a d*mn good chance to tell the kinds of stories that heretofore have only been seen on grittier shows.”

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What we know about the upcoming season of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

The Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor is also curious how Captain Holt will handle whatever change the writers develop for the show.

“It might mean that Holt is a staunch defender of the NYPD, or that he tries to burn the whole thing down. I know that he is a pragmatic man; I do know that he’s a loving, [if] robotic person,” he said.

For Season 8 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, co-creator Dan Goor confirmed to Variety that the writers are working hard to include a police brutality storyline.

“We want to make sure we get it right,” he said. .