What Exactly Is Angie Tribeca & Should You Be Watching It?

At 9 p.m. on Sunday, TBS began broadcasting 25 hours of Rashida Jones' new show, Angie Tribeca. Jones plays Angie, a super-serious LAPD detective. But Angie Tribeca is neither your typical cop show nor your typical sitcom. (Don't think this is Brooklyn 99, round two.) In fact, co-creator Nancy Carell thinks it "helps if you have an understanding of what it's going to be before you watch it," she tells Refinery29. "Otherwise, for the first five or 10 minutes you’re going to be like, 'Huh? What?'" Luckily, we can get you prepped.
Who's Behind It? The show was created by Steve and Nancy Carell. Yeah, those Carells. While Steve is the more famous member of the duo, Nancy is an alum of SNL and The Daily Show. She simply came up with the name Tribeca and started riffing from there. "We were just kind of having fun, saying, 'What would her world be like?' Coming up with things like that," she says. "Steve remembered it, and then pitched it one day. He literally came home and he said, 'Do you remember Angie Tribeca?' I said, 'Yes?' He said, 'I pitched it and now we have to write the script.' I said, 'I have stuff to do.'" The two enlisted Jones to star. "They emailed me and said, 'We wrote this show; it's really dumb and we hope you like it,'" Jones says. "I couldn't stop laughing from page one."
What's It About? It's a pretty standard cop show — but silly. "She's a serious woman with just craziness around her that's never acknowledged," Nancy Carell says. Angie Tribeca is a hard-ass LAPD detective who gets a new partner, Jay Geils (Hayes MacArthur). (Your dad will get that joke. Or — ahem —your editor.) They solve crimes. They go undercover. The show takes its inspiration from series of yore like Get Smart and Police Squad!, the latter of which birthed the Naked Gun movies starring Leslie Nielsen. Think Airplane!, which, like Police Squad!, came from the Zucker brothers. Angie Tribeca is also a send-up of crime shows like CSI. "Even if you aren't the biggest fan of procedurals, even if you don't watch them already, you know what the tropes are," Jones says. "You know the CSI theme song. You know what a serious character on a case is looking for. You know the quirky forensics lab person. You know the kind of archetypes and tropes that come with the genre. It's high time to make fun of it." For what it's worth, Nancy Carell's procedural of choice is Law & Order: SVU.
So What's Funny About This? The show relies heavily on sight gags. When the captain asks Tribeca and Geils to "grab a seat," they pick up chairs. A cop pukes on a crime scene no matter how mundane the crime. And — oh, yeah — one of the detectives, Hoffman, is a dog. "We never, never even refer to the fact that he's a dog," Jones says. "He's just a member of the team." Jagger, the dog who plays Hoffman, happens to be very well-behaved, according to Jones. "Sometimes I forget he's in a scene and he's just doing background work, at a desk with a pair of sunglasses on," she says. If that image doesn't make you chuckle, then this isn't the show for you. Nancy Carell describes the humor as "simple, but not stupid."
And Are There Awesome Guest Stars? Do you consider Lisa Kudrow, Keegan-Michael Key, and Bill Murray awesome? Then yes. "The person responsible for almost all of those is Rashida," Nancy Carell says. "Because Rashida knows every person in the world. If you mention anybody, she will say, 'Let me text him.'"
How Can I Watch It? The answer to that is stranger than you might think. TBS began broadcasting the first season of the show, which consists of 10 30-minute episodes, for 25 hours straight starting at 9 p.m. on January 17. "You can watch it all in one sitting if you were really feeling ambitious — or not ambitious at all, actually, I might say," Jones notes. "I do feel like they get better as you watch them more." Angie Tribeca viewers benefit from paying close attention — that even applies to Jones. "There are so many jokes that there's some stuff that I still even discover," she says. "Sometimes I won't get a joke until the day that I'm filming it. Don't tell anybody." I can attest that the show gets funnier as it goes, once you get into the rhythm of the silliness. The marathon won't be the end of Tribeca, though. Starting on January 25, TBS will air the episodes weekly. A second season will air later in 2016.

More from TV

R29 Original Series