'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' EPs: It's 'Barney Miller' Meets 'The Wire'
Assuring reports that their upcoming Fox sitcom is not a parody, Dan Goor and Mike Schur talk about adding comedy to realistic police work.
Mike Schur wanted to make something very clear at the top of his Television Critics Association panel: Brooklyn Nine-Nine is not a parody.
"This is not Police Squad ... as big a fan as I am of Police Squad," said the executive producer, who co-created the upcoming Fox comedy alongside fellow Parks and Recreation scribe Dan Goor. "We want it to seem like it's a real police precinct. And that was the goal the whole time."
The pilot more than flirts with slapstick, but Schur and Goor insisted that they're being very cautious about the comedy taking second position to telling a real cop story for stars Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher -- particularly where Samberg is concerned.
"When we were writing the pilot, the thing we always knew was that he was going to solve a crime in the cold open," Schur said of Samberg's character. "He's a good detective."
"I think it's important for the show to work, because you have to take him seriously. Then when he's being a jackass, you can forgive him more," said Samberg. "He [seemed] to me like McNulty from The Wire -- but instead of the drinking problem and philandering, he'd be doing gags in the office."
"Comedy McNulty," added Goor.
The creators spoke a great deal about the research that went into the series, and of all the police officers they spoke to, most cited 1970s comedy Barney Miller as the most authentic police show.
"From the start, we didn't want to do a case of the week," added Goor. "Police do a lot of things. They could be on parade duty. If the crime in the first place is too silly, it's very hard to write a compelling story."
The resumes of the eps and cast -- which also includes Terry Crews, Chelsea Peretti, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero -- also lends itself to high-profile comedy guest stars, and Schur says one cameo in the pilot offers a look into how they'll likely be presented. Fred Armisen pops up for a moment when a patrolling Samberg checks in on different apartments, looking for witnesses.
"Doing door duty of knocking on people's doors is a real and common aspect of these officers' jobs," said Schur, comparing it to the public forums on Parks and Recreation. "It seemed like a fun way of grabbing funny people and just having them show up."