Emmys: On Set With 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' Where the Cast Play Cops With Camaraderie
This story first appeared in the May 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
It's actress Chelsea Peretti's 36th birthday, and the cast and crew of Fox's freshman show Brooklyn Nine-Nine -- still buzzing from their Golden Globe wins for comedy series and lead actor a month ago -- are singing "Happy Birthday" over and over to the actress, who turns increasingly red with embarrassment. Jokes Peretti, a writer on Parks and Recreation before landing her first full-time acting role as precinct administrator Gina Linetti on Brooklyn, "People who forgot my birthday are now overcompensating."
Or they're in a mood to celebrate -- for good reason. Created by Parks executive producers Dan Goor and Mike Schur with Universal Television, Brooklyn, which showcases the antics of a motley crew of crimefighters inside a New York police station, was a rare darling on the fall 2013 schedule amid a sea of dud premieres.
Although positive reviews were nearly universal, the show drew buzz slowly, which is why its dominance at the Globes -- where it beat prestigious cable series like HBO's Veep -- was a welcome shock. "It showed that people knew about us," says Andy Samberg, 35, of his first full-time post-Saturday Night Live gig. "Then it became more likely we were going to be able to do more episodes." (The show earned a season-two renewal March 7.)
Today, Feb. 20, the Brooklyn cast is bound to its soundstage on the CBS Radford lot, but a glut of policework storylines makes the number of location shoots high compared with other comedies. "Luckily there are a lot of warehouse districts near Studio City," says Goor. "It's a lot easier to make L.A. look like Brooklyn than it is to make L.A. look like Manhattan."
The camaraderie within the mock precinct feels like a rowdy classroom: Every lull is an excuse for hysterics. Andre Braugher, who plays the droll Capt. Ray Holt, is the current source of the cast's amusement. Known mostly for dramatic work on shows like Homicide: Life on the Street, the actor gets a rise out of his co-stars by singing Beyonce's "Drunk in Love": "I been drinkin'/ I been drinkin'." Just outside the set door, actor and former NFL player Terry Crews (Sgt. Terry Jeffords) stands in the shade as his muscled torso tests the strength of his character's signature suspenders. "We are benefiting from all their experience," he says of Goor's and Schur's respective histories, which include stints on Late Night and SNL. "It's like having six kids, and the youngest -- us -- get all of the benefits."