‘East New York’ tries to carry the community cop present, a la ‘NYPD Blue,’ into the twenty first century
USA Prime Time
Lots has modified concerning the view of policing since “NYPD Blue” premiered in 1993, an evolution that’s partially evident in “East New York,” which seeks to carry the cop present into the twenty first century.
That makes this CBS drama extra formidable than most community crime fare, specializing in the challenges going through a precinct in a working-class neighborhood that’s witness to “just a little little bit of the whole lot.” Yet it additionally raises the query: Given the style’s lengthy historical past, and the components underscored by CBS’ alphabet soup of cop exhibits, is it potential to bend, a lot much less break, the mildew?
Created by Mike Flynn and William Finkelstein, the latter of whom served as an government producer on “Blue” towards the top of its run, “East New York” includes a sizable ensemble forged however primarily sees this world by means of Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood (Amanda Warren), the brand new commander of a precinct in East New York.
“She’ll all the time be the variety rent, proper?” asks her boss, the police chief, performed by Jimmy Smits – one other hyperlink again to “Blue,” wanting loads like what Bobby Simone could be doing had he survived. He counsels Regina to “play the lengthy sport,” a part of a powerful supporting forged that features Richard Kind as Regina’s fumbling however efficient proper hand and Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Kevin Rankin and Elizabeth Rodriguez as veteran, seen-it-all cops.
Not surprisingly, the rank-and-file officers are cautious of the brand new boss, simply because the neighborhood is skeptical of the police, which incorporates an try to have one of many cops dwell in a neighborhood housing challenge to foster higher ties.
Feeling very very like “NYPD Blue” in its texture and jittery camerawork (which was groundbreaking then and never a lot now), “East New York” displays a laudable want to current “the job” in all its complexity, together with restricted sources and turf battles about which unit, say, will get saddled with investigating a useless physique. It’s additionally notable to see a youthful Black cop ask his extra skilled companion, within the second episode, why he stopped a Black man.
Such nuance hasn’t historically (or at the very least constantly) been the case on the most important networks. Indeed, all of the speak of soul-searching about how TV depicts the police within the wake of George Floyd’s loss of life seemingly fizzled as soon as fall scheduling time rolled round, which could clarify why there are three-series stacks of “Law & Order” and “FBI” on completely different nights.
To be truthful, broadcasters have tried loads of extra daring cop exhibits by means of the years, and customarily discovered that their viewers, dwindling although it could be, retains gravitating towards the TV equal of consolation meals. Ultimately, viewers have to assist such exhibits to buck entrenched programming practices.
One collection received’t reverse the tide, however “East New York” has the potential to depict the police as individuals – noble and heroic at occasions, however not resistant to insecurities and excesses – and do the identical for the individuals with whom they work together, as a substitute of decreasing them to perps or chalk outlines.
For now, although, it’s arduous to flee doubts as as to if the present can keep on with that method and, given the enduring reputation of an easier type of cop drama, entice sufficient viewers to supply “East New York” the possibility to play the lengthy sport.
“East New York” premieres October 2 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.