Jayne Brook is tired of hearing her new ABC cop show, Sirens, called the Charlie’s Angels of the ’90s. With her polyester blues and her hair in a tight bun, Brook’s rookie Pittsburgh police officer Sarah Berkezchuk looks nothing like Farrah Fawcett. ”You have to wear your hair against your head, or anyone could grab it and pull you down,” Brook explains. And those tacky uniforms? ”We get pretty sick of wearing them,” she says. ”They’re not exactly Jordache.”
Blue-collar work isn’t completely alien to Brook, in her early 30s. Growing up near Chicago, she labored summers on the assembly line at her dad’s die-casting factory. ”I put some little piece into some other little piece,” she recalls. ”It was really pretty boring.” Brook found more glamorous work as a model while studying acting in London. ”I should have enjoyed it more,” she says now. ”But I was like, ‘I’m an actress, not a model!”’ After returning to the U.S. in 1989, Brook was cast in the short-lived CBS ensemble drama WIOU. ”I played a young (TV station) intern, and I kind of felt like one because it was my first big job,” she says.
Roles as an abused wife in Kindergarten Cop and a scheming secretary in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead followed. ”It was fun to play an unmitigated bitch,” she says of her Mom character. ”But I was horrified when I saw it because they cut all the scenes that explained why I was in such a bad mood.”
Brook was surprised by how little Sirens focuses on its lead characters’ gender until she started interviewing real female cops. ”I was prepared for them to tell me how hard it was to be a woman and a cop, but every time I’d ask them about it, they’d say, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,”’ Brook says. ”That totally took the air out of my big theory.”