(LOS ANGELES) — In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andre Braugher is seeing his portrayal of police officers in a new light. 

For the past seven years, Braugher is known to TV viewers as beloved Captain Holt on the critically acclaimed NBC comedy. Before that, he spent seven seasons as Detective Frank Pembleton on the ’90s cop show, Homicide: Life on the Street. 

Speaking to Variety, Braugher says that cop shows hold a certain responsibility when it comes to accurately portraying the police system in America, and has noticed a specific trend in how police officers are portrayed on screen. 

“I look up after all these decades of playing these characters, and I say to myself, it’s been so pervasive that I’ve been inside this storytelling, and I, too, have fallen prey to the mythology that’s been built up. It’s almost like the air you breathe or the water that you swim in. It’s hard to see,” he explains. 

“But because there are so many cop shows on television, that’s where the public gets its information about the state of policing. Cops breaking the law to quote, ‘defend the law,’ is a real terrible slippery slope,” he continues.

“It has given license to the breaking of law everywhere, justified it and excused it. That’s something that we’re going to have to collectively address — all cop shows. The myth that the outcomes of the criminal justice system are not dependent upon your race has to be confronted.” 

As Brooklyn approaches its eighth season, the actor hopes that the show will “commit itself” to telling the stories of the relationship between race and policing in an honest way.

The new season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is expected to premiere in 2021.   

By Cillea Houghton
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