Joe Lo Truglio: “I felt like we were brought back from the dead”

The 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' star reveals how the show's last-minute reprieve has energised the cop comedy
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Fans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine – not to mention the cast and crew – were devastated in May last year when US network Fox cancelled the comedy series after five seasons. But within 31 hours, the police sitcom had found a new home on NBC, with the sixth season having just commenced.

Even though it’s business as usual in Australia, where the show airs Fridays on SBS Viceland at 8.30pm, cast member Joe Lo Truglio, who plays eager-to-please detective Charles Boyle, believes there’s a noticeable difference in the salvaged series and reveals what’s in store.

Those couple of days when the show was axed and then rescued were a roller-coaster of emotions for fans. What was it like for you?
I felt like we were brought back from the dead. It was exhilarating for me. 

What impact has that process had on the show?
It definitely gave the show a charge. It was maybe what it needed. It was like, “Alright, we’re done,” and then we came back. There’s just an energy, certainly among the cast but also the crew and writers where suddenly it’s: “Wow, we’re still here.”

In Australia, Brooklyn Nine-Nine will continue on the same network. If someone has no idea this has all taken place, will they feel any difference?
I think you’ll be able to feel that charge, for sure.

Going into Season 6, was there pressure to prove the show was worth rescuing?
I don’t think so. We had this enormous outpouring globally from fans – it was a huge surprise because we had no idea that many people watched us. They were responding to something we’d been doing for five years. We hadn’t been getting great ratings here in America, but we were just doing the show we wanted to do, and making sure the quality was right up there and the jokes were tight. Then we were cancelled and we were like, “Everyone’s been watching it!” The lesson there is be true to yourself and keep doing what you’ve been doing. That’s what we’ll do now.

Boyle is such a fun character. What is your favourite quirk of his?
His tone-deafness sometimes, in terms of his inability to hear the words he’s saying and how they may come off as sexually suggestive. The innuendo that goes over his head is very fun to play. I also just like how Boyle bounces back from nearly anything. He never stays down very long, and when he is depressed, he commits to it and is out of it a day later.

No-one is as enthusiastic as he is. How do you get yourself into that state to play him?
I’m a pretty energetic guy. I’m not quite as big as Boyle, but I think of puppy dogs and try to give that kind of energy – that usually works. That and a lot of coffee.

In Season 6, Chelsea Peretti, who plays Gina, is leaving as a regular cast member…
Yes, that was easily the most difficult part of this year. Gina’s spirit will always be at the Nine Nine. She’ll be with us for some of this season and will come back for at least an episode at the end.

It sounds like there is plenty of life left in the show. Could it go for another five seasons?
I don’t know if we’d go that long, but there are definitely more stories to tell and more to explore with these characters.

For more from WHO’s chat with Joe Lo Truglio, listen to the new episode of TV podcast Binge List below and grab this week’s issue of WHO magazine.

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