Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Terry Crews has revealed that showrunner Dan Goor and his writing team have thrown out their scripts for the forthcoming eighth season of the series, in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed it.
Crews, who plays cop Terry Jeffords in NBC’s popular sitcom, confirmed that the show would be going in a new direction following continuing outrage over police brutality and the systemic racism that fuels it.
In a new interview with Access Daily, he also opened up about his own experiences with the police when he was younger.
“You’ve seen me, in movies or whatever but before all this, I was always a threat. I would be going to the mall or going different places. I’ve had guns pointed at me by police officers in L.A. This was before I was famous. The thing is, they had the wrong guy,” Crews said.
“It’s something that every black man has been through and it’s hard to really try to get other people to understand. I have to say, right here, what is going on right now is Black America’s Me Too movement. We always knew this was happening, but now white people are understanding.”
Crews was at the center of a standout Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode called ‘Moo Moo‘ in the show’s fourth season which explored the crushing effects of racial profiling, however, the series has long been problematic for those viewers who feel it has played it too safe in its depiction of police behavior over the years, when the reality for many people is catastrophically different.
“With that George Floyd video that came out it literally opened up the world because now you’ve experienced it and you have to go through the same trauma that Black America has been going through,” Crews said, adding that his own son is dealing with all-too-familiar situations. “As a young black man, you’re not going to be treated as a 14-year-old, especially by the police. He was scared, I’ll be honest, it’s one of those things where he gets heart palpitations when a police car goes by. It’s not the same. He does not feel safe, there’s a threat feeling.”
“It’s hard, it’s hard, because a lot of kids right now from what they’ve seen and even after in the protests and some of the actions of police, it has not been good. I’ve talked to him about always, always, being conscience of who he is and where he is and always look out for his own safety.”
Though the Black Lives Matter movement has now altered plans for season 8, Crews isn’t fully sure where the new story will take the cops of the Nine-Nine, but he hopes that the series will attempt to make an significant impact on its audience.
“We’ve had a lot of somber talks about it and deep conversations and we hope through this we’re going to make something that will be truly groundbreaking this year. We have an opportunity and we plan to use it in the best way possible,” Terry explained. “Our show-runner Dan Goor, they had four episodes all ready to go and they just threw them in the trash. We have to start over. Right now we don’t know which direction it’s going to go in.”
“This is an opportunity right now for us all to unite and get together and understand what this is and that we have to battle this together.”