MONTREAL—It looks like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is going to be one of the busiest police precincts on TV when it returns for its second season on Sunday.
“There’s some new twists,” promised co-creator Mike Schur, who also helped bring “Parks and Recreation” and the American version of “The Office” to TV.
Capt. Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) goes toe to toe with a new rival and there will be “exciting and hopefully satisfying” resolutions to the romantic cliffhangers and star detective Jake Peralta’s undercover adventure.
“There’s a lot of new things that are introduced in the first two episodes,” Schur said of the show, which is broadcast on CityTV and Fox.
Case-cracking mingles with wisecracking in the comedy, which won Golden Globes in its first season as best TV comedy and for star Andy Samberg as best actor in a TV series, musical or comedy. It also won an Emmy for outstanding stunt co-ordination.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is one of only a handful of police-themed comedies since “Car 54, Where Are You?” in the 1960s. “Barney Miller” in the 1970s, “Police Squad” in 1982 and “Reno 911” (2003-2009) were others.
Schur said he and co-creator Dan Goor, both fans of “Barney Miller,” saw potential in that scarcity.
“There are certain reasons you would imagine people would be scared off from it because police work is often not hilarious but we felt with the right cast and with the right group of people doing it we can make a funny show,” Schur said.
Melissa Fumero, who plays Det. Amy Santiago, agreed.
“I actually thought this is great because there’s so many procedurals and cop shows on television, there should be a funny one,” she said. “There’s so much opportunity there to even poke fun at all those procedurals a little bit.”
Schur noted real cops have called “Barney Miller” one of the most realistic fictional depictions of police work ever broadcast. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” also consults actual police to ensure it’s getting details right.
Adds executive producer David Miner: “It’s important at some level, even though it’s a comedy show, to be tethered to reality just a little bit.”
Samberg said that’s one of the reasons the show has clicked.
“It very effortlessly feels true to life,” said Samberg, who sat down with the rest of the cast for an interview prior to a tribute to the show at the Just for Laughs festival in July. “It felt very current to me, in a nice way. That’s actually a really hard thing to pull off.”
The show’s cornerstone is the relationship between savvy yet irreverent Peralta and the stern Holt.
Samberg described the dynamic as “him, sort of a stoic rock and me a yipping dog jumping in circles around him and poking and prodding him.”
Samberg said unleashing Peralta’s craziness is something that comes naturally to him.
“I have two older sisters so I’m basically groomed in trying to annoy someone until they pay attention to me. It’s fun.”
Braugher, who was nominated for a supporting actor Emmy this year but didn’t win, said the show is “one of the best challenges I’ve had in quite a while.”
“I think it’s terrific. They’re all very accomplished comedians and I’m really learning the art of comedy from watching them.”
Braugher, who was previously known to viewers as intellectual crimesolver Frank Pembleton on the drama “Homicide: Life on the Street,” praised the “mature” quality of the humour, particularly in the handling of his gay character.
“Typically, you’re hit over the head with it because they want to make the character’s sexual orientation their defining characteristic and that’s not Capt. Holt’s defining characteristic,” he said. “I actually forget that my character’s gay because it has its place but rarely is it in the workplace.
“One of the other great things about this comedy is that no one’s the butt of the joke and that to me is another testament to the maturity of our creators.”
One character who would be an easy target is Det. Charles Boyle, played by Joe Lo Truglio, whose cop-acting credentials include “Reno 911” and “Law & Order.”
The quirky Boyle spent most of the first season looking for love, mainly pursuing the fierce Det. Rosa Diaz before hooking up with foodie Vivian Ludley and ending up in bed with Holt’s assistant, Gina Linetti.
“He’s getting a lot of action for a strange, obsessive, perfectionist type of guy,” Lo Truglio observed. “He has his own kind of eclectic arc. He has the attention span of a goldfish … and yet is still a very good detective.”
Making the cops good at their jobs is key to the comedy, he says.
“What makes them funny is their own personality flaws. It’s nice in the case of Boyle to have a character that is weird but also good at his job. If you’re strange and off-centred, that isn’t equal to incompetence. I think that’s a positive message.”
Lo Truglio pointed out that the writers have avoided making the characters cartoony.
Chelsea Peretti, who plays Gina, said the show is also written to the actors’ strengths, something echoed by castmate Terry Crews.
He said his Sgt. Terry Jeffords character was originally intended to be meek until the creators realized they had to take advantage of Crews’ “badass” personality.
“I think there’s a little of our characters in each of us,” Peretti said. “It’s always going to be an exaggerated version of you but I think they’ve found certain qualities that are innate to each of us and amplified them.”
Stephanie Beatriz, who is considerably bubblier in person than the tough-as-nails Diaz, agreed. She said she has scared herself by flaring up with a flash of Diaz-type anger in the past but she put it to use for the role.
“I just found that part (in her) and turned up the volume, like if you had an orchestra and you hear there’s all sorts of instruments. I just isolate the violin for that part.
“I isolate the Stephanie angry in traffic or Stephanie really cranky with customer service. It’s really enjoyable to play somebody who doesn’t have a filter.”
9/27/2014: The Canadian Press misspelled the family name of one of the co-creators. The correct spelling is Schur.