East New York is a new CBS cop drama that stars Jimmy Smits and Amanda Warren as police officers of the NYPD's 74th precinct in East New York, Brooklyn. Warren plays the newly promoted Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood, who, with the help of her mentor Assistant Chief John Suarez (Smits), intends to deepen the connection between the community and those who are sworn to serve and protect it. Recently, PopCulture.com had a chance to speak with the actors about the show, which they say is a standout series due to its "A-game" writing staff and how well it captures personal perspectives.
Offering insight into the nature of the series, Warren says "it's definitely a drama," as opposed to a straightforward procedural like NCIS or CSI. "You're going to see in our show anyway, a lot of character development," she added. "Not only going home with Jimmy's character or my character, Regina, but going home with almost all of the regulars in our ensembles. So you get some very personal perspectives and then that just adds on to what they bring into work. Home life is always brought in one shade or another to your workspace. So it all just kind of builds on top of one another's. Very exciting in that way."
While this is Warren's first main cast role in a police drama, Smits has taken on many law enforcement and legal system roles over the years. This includes shows like NYPD Blue and Bluff City Law, as well as Dexter and West Wing. "I think that one of the things that I would dread and just in terms of the acting thing is when lines could just be interchangeable to characters," Smits said, noting that the attention to character detail is something very unique to East New York.
"It's pain. It's cringe," Warren added, "When episodes can kind of be flip-flopped and you just don't want that. You want some consistency you want to build. And I know Jimmy and I come from theater and come from other spaces in storytelling and that definitely excites a great many, if not all of our regular ensemble members and guests and recurring casts. Cause a lot of them also come from stage and screen as well."
Smits went on to say, "The audiences, if they can engage with the characters, they'll go for the ride in terms of whatever the genre is." He continued, "And so it's all about character first and are, the writing team that we have, the veteran writers and the young writers... The young creators on the show, (including co-creator) Mike Flynn, they're really bringing their A-game. And we have a wonderful ensemble and a different spin in terms of what you might be used to seeing police and law enforcement dramas to be about."
Warren then concluded by saying, "Absolutely. And it can absolutely be done on this platform beautifully. And we are committed to that and we are consistent about that. And we meet every scene like that, every day that we come in. So it's shaping up beautifully." East New York airs Sunday nights, after The Equalizer, on CBS and Paramount+. Those interested in trying out a free trial of Paramount+ can do so by clicking here.