If you’ve been trying to keep your cool, cool, cool during the insufferable wait for new episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine since news of its cancellation-turned-revival, there’s finally some good news on the docket: Your wait is officially over. Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns tonight, Jan. 10, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, kicking off its sixth season and providing resolution to that season 5 finale cliffhanger in which Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) didn’t quite reveal to just-weds Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) and the rest of the precinct whether he had landed his dream job as NYPD commissioner. How does that situation pan out? How will Chelsea Peretti’s Gina exit the precinct? Star and producer Andy Samberg is here to give you the 411 on the Nine-Nine.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So much has been said and written about the cancellation and the subsequent rescue of the show. What’s your favorite analogy to describe what it was like to go through that?
ANDY SAMBERG: I’ve equated it to — when that new promo came out, the big Die Hard one that they spent a ton of money on — pulling up in a Maybach with your new BF or GF. [Laughs] Like, “Babe, check out this fancy new ride.” But I’m not particularly cross with how anything went down with Fox, so I have nothing negative to say about them; they’re the ones who initially picked up the show and kept us on for five years, and in the end it made more financial sense for us to be on NBC than Fox as well [the show is produced by Universal Television, which is part of NBC Universal], so I don’t really begrudge anyone. I’m also very grateful that NBC did what they did. That 24-hour period felt like just hoping that this thing we had put so much time and energy into and care about so much didn’t die.
What, if anything, feels different now? I know that NBC said, “We don’t want you to change the show.” Is it more just that there’s just a renewed energy after seeing such an outpouring of love and support?
Yeah, without a doubt. Everyone was turbocharged, because we were back from the dead. It’s like that Flatliners rush. [Laughs] We’ve settled in a little more now, so it’s a little bit more business as usual, but it definitely has put a little bit of a golden shine over everything, because we, in a lot of ways, weren’t even supposed to be doing this season. So it makes you appreciate it a lot more every moment — having a successful operation and appreciating the time after that a little bit more.
What can you say about the cliffhanger that ended season 5? Having seen the first episode, I would say, without spoiling it, that there’s good news and bad news.
There’s good news and bad news in that episode — and the way that that is resolved. In classic Brooklyn Nine-Nine fashion, it is not simple.
And how would you tease their honeymoon?
In classic Amy fashion, she has it planned pretty much to the hilt, and it does not go as planned. They find themselves improvising a lot to try and salvage it. But it’s sunny where they go. Nice. But they don’t go to Philadelphia. No one read into that…. [And] the promo that just came out is not the only Die Hard fantasy that gets explored this year on the show.
The show is continuing its tradition of delving into topical and charged issues; there’s going to be a #MeToo episode. Dan Goor [co-creator of the show] has said that it’s a case Jake and Amy are working in the financial world. Were you looking forward to the challenge of that episode? That’s always a tricky needle to thread, to give an issue like that the respect it deserves, but still keep the episode Brooklyn-funny.
I’ll tell you this: If we hadn’t done episodes in the past like “Moo Moo” and “Game Night,” I don’t think we would have tried this, because obviously this is incredibly sensitive stuff, and sadly, really prevalent and talked about a lot right now, which is both good and bad. Good in that it’s getting talked about and bad that it has to be talked about, to clarify. I don’t know that I would describe myself as excited about it so much as along for the ride. The episode is written by Lang [Fisher], who’s one of our incredible writers, and Stephanie Beatriz directed the episode. Jake is a part of the story, but I would describe it as much more Amy’s story, and Amy driving the story. For me, it was more just a privilege to see all of them working, and hearing their takes on all of it, and trying to just learn, honestly. That’s kind of similar to what Jake goes through in the episode too, so it was easy to act in that way.
Let’s talk about the cast reaction to Chelsea Peretti’s announcement that she is leaving Brooklyn: How much of a loss is that for the show? It’s blunted a little bit by the fact that you know she’ll be back as a guest star, including in an episode later this season, right?
Yeah, we know for a fact she’s not gone for good. She’ll visit. It’s brutal in that we love Chelsea and she’s our dear friend, and it’s also a huge loss because she’s a killer when she shows up in any scene and is hilarious. So it’s a bummer, but we’re also really psyched for her, and I know that she’s excited to be trying some other stuff that she’s been wanting to do. She’s easily one of my favorite stand-ups out there, so I’m really excited at the prospect of her getting back to that, if that’s what she decides to do. She and I go way, way back, so it was one of those tough but all-love kind of decisions.
Did it take you by surprise, or were you thinking this might happen?
I was aware that it was maybe on her mind on and off for a little while, just through being a producer on the show and chatting with her as a friend too. It didn’t blindside me or anything. I would say it was all really sweet, and really good communicative decision-making made by everyone.
How would you characterize the two-episode arc that sends her off?
It’s really fun, and the first piece of it is a little more traditional to our show, and a really great episode, which I have seen and really love. And the back half of it is a little more breaking the mold, which I think we all felt was really appropriate because it’s in Gina fashion — not doing it the way that anyone else does it. [Laughs]
In one of the first-look photos that we debuted, Jake and Gina dress up to infiltrate a club. What can you say about that mission?
They’re celeb hunting.
What is your favorite moment/joke from the upcoming season?
We get to learn a lot about Hitchcock and Scully’s past…. That whole thing makes me so happy.
What is one hint you can give us about a situation that Jake finds himself in?
Jake does his best impression of James McAvoy in Split. Situationally it’s organic, so wrap your head around that…. And he gets to put on some of his favorite duds from high school.
And how would you describe that look?
I would just say it’s straight-up dope.
How many more seasons do you feel that the show has in it, now that it just got this new burst of life on a new network? In the back of your head, do you even see a finish line?
I can’t really tell. We’re coming back midseason, so there’s a lot of question marks. I will say we’re all still really loving making it, and that the episodes still feel really funny and interesting and exciting to us. It’s a huge testament to the writers; they’re doing such an incredible job. The sort of renewed feeling of interest from the outside world, and the fan base of the show, and this sort of big surge of attention the show’s getting on social media, that’s really exciting. It does feel like the show was well-received right out of the gate, and we were super-grateful for that, but it feels like it hit a second gear after this whole renewal thing, and the move to NBC. We’ll see how that manifests in terms of what it’s worth to the people paying to make it. But as far as we’re concerned, the fact that there’s people out there that are still excited about the show and letting us know that makes us feel a lot more excited to keep making it.
For those who haven’t yet started watching the show and have seen all the attention over the show, why is now the right time to start watching?
Because you want to feel good about the world and you already watched every episode of The Great British Baking Show.