When NBC decided to pick up “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” the day after Fox canceled the workplace comedy in May 2018, executive producer Dan Goor was eager to continue his story about the police officers of the 99th precinct in New York City, but was not looking to make any drastic changes just because the show would have a new home.
“We are committed to making the same kind of show for the same kind of audience,” Goor tells Variety. “I always feel a tremendous amount of pressure to make the fans happy and make sure they enjoy the show. But it’s more of the same, I hope, in a good way. I think you have a shorthand with your audience. They understand who the characters are and why they would act the way they do in certain situations.”
Although the Peacock allows “bleeping and blurring,” while Fox did not, Goor is not looking to push boundaries with edgier or more risque comedic material, either. “One of the things that I really like about our show is that families watch it, and it is edgy and jokes that are definitely not G-rated, but I am conscious of the fact that we have a strong family fan base, so we wouldn’t gratuitously change the characters,” he says.
Instead, the main thing Goor feels the show has earned in the sixth season is diving more deeply into some of the supporting characters’ lives to make them more central in various stories. The fifth season saw that happen with Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz), who came out as bisexual. The sixth season will further expand upon that story.
“She came out to her family and wasn’t fully accepted by them, and I think that’s really, really difficult, and she’s also taken the very vulnerable step of sharing that with her entire group of friends,” Beatriz points out. “She’s not used to letting anybody in, yet now, over the course of five seasons she’s grown to a place where now it’s valuable to let people in. … You will see Rosa’s personal life literally and figuratively come into the office a little bit more.”
In addition to Rosa, the show will feature character-centric episodes for Gina (Chelsea Peretti), who will leave her position as Holt’s (Andre Braugher) assistant when the actress leaves the show mid-season, as well as Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller), through a flashback-heavy origin story that explores how the duo became the cops they are today.
“There was one funny idea that they are exactly the same, and played by the same actors, but everyone else is from the 1980s; there was a funny idea that Hitchcock has changed but Scully was the same actor; but it seemed like the funniest version was to have these two beefcakes,” Goor says.
The show will spend more time with the families of Holt, Terry (Terry Crews) and Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), too. “You’re going to be surprised by the family dynamic with Terry Jeffords,” Crews says. “It makes it really, really human and fresh and cool, and it reminded me a lot of the ‘Tiny Terry loves his pickles’ thing when you didn’t know he was literally being harassed by a family member.”
Adds Braugher, “I think [Holt’s] biggest challenge this year is really dealing with his family — that’s embracing the relationships as they are, embracing his place and status in the world, dealing with his mortality, his legacy, his history. It’s really a question of living within constraints in terms of wanting what you have, as opposed to having what you want. I think Captain Holt is settling down.”
Blending the professional and the personal a bit more, Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) got married at the end of Season 5. Goor admits that although “the stakes are higher because they’re married,” the show will not be “artificially putting their relationship in harm’s way.”
“The thing I’ve loved the most about how they’ve written Jake and Amy is that they’re consistent,” adds Fumero. “This season we’ll see them exploring and just coming to terms with adulting more, but they’re still Jake and Amy.”
Amy’s life will further be complicated by a #MeToo storyline, though, as well as a slightly new position within the precinct.
“By the end of our time at Fox, we were doing a lot of interesting episodes that didn’t follow our normal pattern or structure and I think we are doing more of that this year. And also, in Seasons 4 and 5 we started dipping into more issues, and we’re doing more of that, too, now,” Goor says. “It’s a way to keep it fresh for us and for the viewers, as well.”
Given how the character of Boyle began on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” romantically fixated on Rosa and always physically affectionate, it may have seemed like his character would have been the perfect fodder for a #MeToo story instead. But his character was shown the error of his ways much earlier on in the show’s run, and well ahead of the movement going viral. “
“Boyle has had quite an arc, and it’s always been funny, but on a more serious note, just in the current climate,” Truglio says, “it’s been nice to see Boyle…establish a great, close friendship with a dear colleague…after communication and understanding and saying, ‘This is wrong. I feel this way.'”
For Boyle, Truglio feels it has been important because there could have been a struggle to make him likable after he was a guy who didn’t hear “no” for such a long time, but he evolved into someone who still has “unmitigated admiration” of people but is more aware of how he makes others feel.
The majority of the crew of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” stayed with the show in its network move, so the continuity and consistency behind-the-scenes is also “more of the same,” according to the actors. But one thing the team behind the show says does feel different is that there is a renewed excitement for the project.
“The show has gained confidence because we have a home. Everybody wants to be wanted. So in that way, I think we’ve gone into these [new] episodes with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of strength, a lot of energy,” says Braugher.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Season 6 premieres Jan. 10 at 9 p.m. on NBC.