More and more, art is beginning to imitate life. At least when it comes to plotlines on popular televisions shows.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the latest program to tackle racial profiling. According to EW, an upcoming episode of the sitcom will get serious in an episode that spotlights stop-and-frisk. The show’s premise will feature sergeant Terry (Terry Crews), being subjected to the controversial policing method while searching for his daughter’s blankie.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-creator Dan Goor explained the premise to EW. “He tries to work it out with the cop by going out to dinner with him, but that doesn’t work out, and he has to decide whether or not to file a formal complaint,” Goor said. “To a certain extent, it’s the question of: Am I blue or am I black?”
He continued, “Because our heroes are the police, it’s difficult to talk about the police in an abstract way. We’ve talked about a million different stories and I think this one really works. It felt very natural and real, but at the same time, we’ve managed to make it as funny as any other Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode.”
The idea arose after Crews, 48, discussed his experience being racially profiled with staff from the show. Soon after the writers went to work. But they just couldn’t figure out how to bring the serious subject matter to life. Thanks to a conversation with actor Andre Braugher, who plays Captain Holt on the show, Goor had his eureka! moment.
“It was like the clouds parted and I could see for the first time,” Goor explained to EW. “It was so unexpected, but true to the character and honest, and made for an entire act’s worth of scenes.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t the first show in recent years to take a hard look at racial strife in the U.S. Late last year Lifetime’s UnReal got, well, real after depicting a racial profiling incident which ended with a police shooting. In 2016, ABC’s Black-ish devoted an entire episode to police brutality, which was called groundbreaking by viewers and critics alike. It’ll be interesting to see how Brooklyn Nine-Nine handles the matter.