It's only been a little over a year since Andy Samberg bid adieu to Saturday Night Live. However, viewers will soon be able to find him back on the small screen — sans the laser cats — on Fox's new comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
In the series, from Parks and Recreation executive producers Dan Goor and Mike Schur, Samberg plays a goofy and immature but skilled NYPD detective. "I was not looking to do a TV series at all," Samberg said at Television Critics Association fall TV previews Thursday. "But I was a huge fan of Parks and I saw what these guys had done with Amy [Poehler], who is basically my hero."
Although he hadn't planned to return to TV, Samberg admits that he didn't exactly have a grand plan for his post-SNL career, which has included hits (Celeste and Jesse Forever) and flops (That's My Boy). "I don't generally try to think about trajectory because every time I have tried that it has backfired miserably for me, so I just try to do whatever feels right," Samberg said. "Everything I've done is geared towards comedy."
Samberg's finely honed comedy chops will be particularly helpful for his co-star and TV boss Andre Braugher. Brooklyn Nine-Nine marks the Emmy winner's first comedy series after making his name as a dramatic actor on Last Resort, Men of a Certain Age and, most notably, as a detective on Homicide: Life on the Street. "There's a little bit of a learning curve, but I'm watching these guys like hawks so I feel like I'm getting on board with the right spirit of the comedy," Braugher said. "Spiritually, these comedies are just so much more uplifting. ... I was just here last year with something that wasn't so uplifting so I'm loving this."
So has his past work as a police detective on Homicide informed his portrayal of Capt. Ray Holt on Brooklyn Nine-Nine? "I wear my cuff the same way, but this is a different environment. This is a workplace comedy," Braugher said. "The stakes aren't nearly as high as they were 20 years ago."
But while this might be a comedy series, the producers insist that the stakes on the crimes told on the show will still have stakes. "This is not like Police Squad, as big a fan as I am," Schur said. "It's a workplace comedy that happens to be set in a police precinct."
Schur and Goor both emphasized the focus on real crimes and real people, and said that while some episodes may see the team working on parade duty, there will be some "murder-y" stories as well. "When we do a crime, it's important there will be some very high stakes," Goor said. "It's always finding the line because if the crime in the first place is too silly, it's very hard to find a story. ... The audience just checks out and doesn't care if you solve the crime."
Brooklyn Nine-Nine premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8:30/7:30c on Fox.