Pretty much every TV show is struggling to adjust to the new reality of the world in 2020, but few series are under as much pressure as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the long-running comedy series about a group of New York City cops starring Andy Samberg. After the death of George Floyd and massive protests against police brutality, people might just not want to watch funny police hijinks right now, no matter how much they previously liked the show, its creators, or its stars.

In the immediate aftermath of Floyd’s death, the cast and creators of Brooklyn Nine-Nine collectively donated $100,000 to the National Bail Fund Network, which was a welcome gesture. Now the team is looking to next season, which presents a major challenge. Series star Terry Crews told Access Hollywood that the show already discarded four episodes it had planned for next year because they didn’t work in light of the events of recent weeks.

As he put it:

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. 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.

Productions everywhere are delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which adds another complicated layer to shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. How much of reality do you acknowledge? And if you do acknowledge it, how do you make it funny? There’s not a lot to laugh about right now. We’ll see what they come up with when the show (hopefully) returns to NBC in late 2020.

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