‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Season 2 Interview: Andre Braugher Talks Embracing Change


Like his Brooklyn Nine-Nine character Captain Holt, Andre Braugher is a man of few words and a strong presence. During a recent conference call to discuss season two of the hit Fox comedy, Braugher spoke sparingly, but eloquently about what is ahead for the season, how both he and Holt are good at embracing change and why he has so much admiration for his co-stars.

Peralta (Andy Samburg) is back in the precinct after a stint with the FBI, but do not expect Holt to be angered by Peralta’s choices. Quite the opposite, in fact. “Holt is a man who embraces change,” Braugher said. “As stoic as he seems, as conservative as he seems, he is a man who is interested in embracing change. With a new police commissioner and the return of my ace detective, Peralta, I feel as though the entire precinct is poised to get better, to leave the world of sleepy, under performing Brooklyn precinct and really become something special.”

In terms of the action behind the scenes, Braugher is most excited to have Kyra Sedgwick on board for two episodes (and Braugher hopes there will be more) as a deputy police chief Captain Holt has a longstanding feud with. Viewers were introduced to Sedgwick’s character last week, but Braugher cannot wait for the audience to see more of her. “It seems like they’re alter egos for each other,” Braugher noted. “They’re both a little committed to excellence to a high degree. They’re both sort of intuitive detective types. They’re both a little strange in their own way, a little robotic and quirky.”

As for what lies ahead for season two as a whole, Braugher insisted he could not say much since that was a question for the show’s writers, but from what he has seen so far, the world of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is going to continue to grow and deepen. “We are opening up and expanding the personal lives, especially of Santiago and Peralta. It’s part of the master plan for Brooklyn Nine-Nine to really create, I think, a full and complex universe for all of these characters.”

Braugher comes from a dramatic acting background, with Homicide: Life on the Street, Men of a Certain Age and Last Resort among his credits. He is the first to admit he is a serious man who is committed to playing the straight man in the comedic world of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Braugher’s commitment extends to keeping count of how many time his fellow actors, especially Samberg, can cause him to crack up during a scene.

“I’ve sort of committed myself to perfecting the art of the straight man, so I’m trying very hard to not crack up,” Braugher said. “We’ve done eight episodes this year. I’ve cracked up twice. I’m off my pace from last year, which was three crack ups in 22 episodes. Obviously, Andy’s getting funnier and I’m relaxing a little bit on the show, but I’ve decided to commit myself to really perfecting the art of the straight man. I’m getting better at it and I have a great cast of comedians. Between Chelsea and Andy and Joe and Terry, it’s really a funny cast and we have a great time doing it.”

Surrounded by young comedians who thrive on improve, Braugher expressed his admiration for their energy and spur of the moment humor. While Braugher revealed he mostly sticks to the script, during the filming of each episode there is time left for the actors to improvise during “fun runs.” Braugher explained “fun runs” are takes “where everyone pulls the craziest stuff they know out of a bag and throws it into the scene.”

“Fun runs are unpredictable, but they really breathe a lot of life into the process of creating the comedy and it keeps it loose,” Braugher continued. For him, they are also a time to study his fellow actors as they work. Ultimately, Braugher views their dynamic in the grounded way you would expect from a man who makes keeping a straight face the funniest moment in a sea of madcap comedy.

“I consider them all to be my kites and I am their string and so I just give them a great opportunity to fly and I guess I hold them to the earth to help tell the story.”

New episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine air Sundays at 8:30pm ET/PT on Fox.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 2 Episode 1 Undercover (7)

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