Mike Flynn is the co-creator, executive producer, and co-showrunner of CBS’ character-driven drama “East New York.” Flynn spoke with rolling out about the show, what to expect from this season, and what went into having a strong Black female lead.
Why did you create “East New York”?
Given what our country has been through within the past two and a half years with the pandemic, protests, disruptions, and police brutality, there was a window of opportunity to tell a story. There’s a law enforcement officer who’s trying to go the opposite route and trying to make a change and by approaching it from Regina Haywood’s perspective, an outsider coming into a new precinct with a lot stacked against her, I think there was an opportunity to explore who she was, why she’s doing this, and what she hopes to get out of it.
What went into having a strong Black female lead in this series?
I recently had a daughter, and as a Black girl coming up, I want her to see herself reflected on the screen, especially in films or shows I’m a part of. I think that will hold true for other Black girls watching as well. Not only just Black girls but girls of all ethnicities and cultures. I think there’s a strong sense that there are stories that need to be told from different perspectives and through the lens of these different characters. I think that’s a strong step in the right direction.
What can the audience expect from this season?
They can expect a sense of pride that these cops have in doing their job and a sense of pride in what they provide for the community. We get to see how they interact with the community in certain situations and life or death situations or as minor as somebody getting a parking ticket. There’s some inspiration that lies in those everyday incidents that people have when they come across the police. You can get a sense of action and the inner workings of the police. You’ll see how Regina Haywood approaches putting policies in place when she doesn’t necessarily always agree with those policies. You’ll see inner conflict and how that comes out in the best dramatic form possible. You’ll get a lot of humor, too, because cops are cops, and they have an interesting sense of humor.
If you were cast to play one character from the show, who would it be and why?
I would have to say Marvin Sandford, played by Reuben. He has a wealth of knowledge because he’s seen so many inspectors come through the precinct and stays true to what he knows. There’s also a sense of pride that he takes in his job, but also the fact that he’s resistant to change, and how does he grow out of that.
–by jacquelene clarke