Stephanie Beatriz, known for her role as Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has spoken out about the show’s emphasis on diversity and its almost-cancellation.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine quickly garnered a reputation for the humor with which it addressed serious issues, especially given the police station setting. After the show went through five seasons, amassed an Emmy and a solid fan following , Fox decided to cancel the show. For a while, it seemed as though the show was definitely over, but NBC picked it up. At the time, the Chairman for NBC Entertainment Robertt Greenblatt said, “Ever since we sold this show to Fox I’ve regretted letting it get away, and it’s high time it came back to its rightful home. Mike Schur, Dan Goor, and Andy Samberg grew up on NBC and we’re all thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest, and best cast comedies in a long time will take its place in our comedy line-up.”
While speaking to Teen Vogue, Beatriz said that as part of the cast and crew of the show, there was a moment when everyone “definitely had come to terms with the possibility that [the show] was not going to get picked up.” She explained, “TV shows don’t go that long anymore. It’s like, three seasons and ‘Bye!’ In a weird way, we’re very disposable. So for a show to have had five seasons, I mean, what else can you ask for?”
Beatriz also talked of the backlash the show has faced due to its setting and how it showcases a happy-go-lucky group of police brutality in an environment of police brutality in America. She said, “The state of police officers in the United States right now is very bad. They are murdering people, and particularly black people. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an idealized, fun, comedy world in which feminism is an underlying value that all the characters have. Equality is a value all the characters have. I mean, I want to live in that world. I’d like to make the world feel more like that, but I understand that it’s a fantasy.”
Beatriz’s character, like the actress herself, is bisexual. Although the revelation happened in the 99th episode of the show, Beatriz said she felt that the character could be bisexual right from the start, and took that into consideration when deciding how to portray her. Despite this, she did not try to guide the writers as to how they should portray Rosa’s character.
She said, “This is the first show I’ve ever been on so I didn’t know what the rules were in the beginning, you know? I think one of the things that women struggle with is, we’re taught to be ‘good girls.’ I didn’t even know what would be overstepping. But in my mind I always played [Rosa] sort of queer because it read that way to me. So I laid the groundwork in my acting and I made choices based on what I was given in the writing to support that. And it was very cool to see people in like, season two be like, ‘Is Rosa gay?‘”
The sixth season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine will air in 2019.