[SPOILER ALERT: This story contains plot details about the season finale of
, “Greg and Larry.” If you read before watching the episode, you may incur the wrath of Figgis.]
We’re not just talking about how the Fox cop comedy wrapped up this final stretch of episodes on a roll, thanks in part to Holt (Andre Braugher) hilariously matching wits with his seeming twin/monotone FBI agent Bob Anderson (Dennis Haysbert). Tuesday’s season 3 finale, “Greg and Larry,” left viewers with a huge, possibility-charged cliffhanger that featured a change of location that is, to quote Jake,
While Holt, Jake (Andy Samberg), and the rest of the
precinct were successful in taking down the criminal enterprise run by mafia mastemind Jimmy the Butcher Figgis — which included Bob Anderson (sorry, Annderson) — Figgis himself was nowhere to be found. That is, until Jake received a call from him, in which he ominously threatened to kill both Holt and Jake. Cut to: the “Blue Skies” and pink flamingos of Coral Palms, Florida, where, in a nice wink to
, Jake picked up the morning paper and called out, “Morning, Greg,” to his lawn-watering neighbor Holt, who responded, “Morning, Larry.” End of episode.
So, clearly two of NYPD’s finest are now tucked a thousand miles away in the witness protection program. But who is with them? What does this mean for the Nine-Nine? Is Pimento (Jason Mantzoukas) ever coming back? What is Rosa’s real name? So many questions to get answered before the early bird special. After showing strangers some pictures of our grandchildren, we called
executive producer Dan Goor on an outdated, oversized cordless phone to break down “Greg and Larry” and see what the future holds.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When and how did you guys come up with the idea to have Jake and Holt in the Witness Protection Program? Were you recently re-watching the end of
DAN GOOR: No. It was coincidence with that. Once it was pitched, we all were like, “Oh,
had that.” It’s always very difficult to come up with a season-ending twist or cliffhanger, obviously, and we wanted to do something that we’d never done before. We wanted the pay-off the end of the arc that we set up, and we wanted to really give credence to the idea that Figgis was a weighty and serious and stakes-y villain. We also in a way modeled the end of the year on shows like
, which have huge stakes and then huge swings in the plot, where it’s like, “They seem to have gotten out of it! No — it’s worse than before!” That was the model that we were going for, and then this felt like a super stakes-y, super fun thing to do, and it also just felt like a really funny way to end the season. We came up with the idea for that last shot, and then it felt like a really fun, different way to start the next season. The idea of the two of them — or there could be other people from the Nine-Nine there who we haven’t seen yet — having to live not as cops in Florida seemed funny. It seemed like a fun way to re-explore their power dynamic also, because now Holt won’t necessarily outrank Jake in this situation. It just felt juicy, and the only real debate we had was we liked the shot, but the other version was we just say that they’re going to Florida. It was just a debate about how far we go.
By the way, I feel like Holt still outranks Jake, and will tell Jake he’s Witness Number One.
Exactly. There’s a really funny thing when we were scouting the locations and if you look in the last shot, Holt’s lawn is incredibly well-manicured, and Jake’s lawn is a piece of crap. And I wish I could say that we art-designed it, but it was really just those were the two houses and then we happened to notice that, and we switched the houses since that was the case, but it was like kind of perfect. It was like an omen.
Jake and Amy (Melissa Fumero) talk about moving in together at the end of episode, so we ask: Is Amy with Jake? And is Kevin (Marc Evan Jackson) with Holt? And is Bob there?
No details are final yet. We haven’t really started working on the season yet, but our intention is for the fact that they’re in witness protection to really influence their personal relationships with their loved ones and spouses and friends and the squad, and for that to be a real source of comedy.
That was quite a long run of serialized episodes for the show, dating back to the arrival of Pimento in episode 17, and it’s been really successful. I’m wondering, though, if you guys were worried that it was a lot for the audiences who were used to more stand-alone episodes in a cop comedy? Was that something you discussed?
It is something we discussed a lot and we talked about it with Fox beforehand, and Fox was very supportive. Our governing principle was: Every episode should be stand-alone enough that you don’t need a “Previously on,” so that might mean that there’s a little bit of exposition in the first few scenes, but you should be able to enjoy [it on its own]. We tried to break stories like breaking into the FBI, which we could have just done as a stand-alone episode, or like escaping from a hospital, a
kind of episode as a stand-alone episode, because we know that there are people who check in and out of the show, and then there are a lot of people who watch it online and binge. And for those people, I think it’s actually very rewarding when you do it in a serialized way.
With the way this season leaves off, the question obviously lingers: How far into next season will the serialized story continue? And does this experiment make you more open to doing more of them in the future? Or do you still consider stand-alone episodes as the bread and butter of the show?
That is something we’re talking about right now. I think that’s a really good question. With 23 episodes, it’s very hard to do all stand-alone, and it’s very hard to do all serialized, so in our ideal world, it would be a combination of a few serialized episodes to figure out what’s happening in Florida and then maybe some stand-alone episodes…. We like — and people like — watching all of the Nine-Nine together in the precinct and working together and all the combinations that affords, but also we don’t want to short shrift the work we did at the end of the year. So we’ll keep them in this situation for as long as we think it’s fun, and then we’ll figure out a way to make it the Nine-Nine we all know and love. The only thing I want to make sure of is: I really like the balance that the show strikes — doing police action episodes, romance episodes, office episodes — and I don’t want to do anything that too dramatically disrupts it. This arc was so stakes-y, it was very difficult to do too many silly [things]. A silly Jake-Gina story would have been hard to put in, and I always want to make sure we have room for those types of stories as well.
would be renewed, but was this ending also chosen because it could serve as a series finale if it had to? There is something kind of great about them ending up in witness protection.
interesting. No, we’ve been getting pretty good feelings from the network. You watched the end of
. You know our sensibility. If we thought it was a series finale, I think they all would be embracing in some way. [
] Or they would have all ended up in witness protection together. But it’s funny. It is interesting, if that had served as the series finale. Or it’s fun to think of that as like a spin-off show. Not that you could spin off the main character from his own show, but it is funny to think like forever after, it’s just a funny show about two people who live on the same block.
NEXT: More on Charles’ baby, Gina’s love life, and Rosa’s real name!
See Martin Freeman and Adam Brody in the \'StartUp\' trailer
Read an excerpt from \'Stalking Jack the Ripper\' -- exclusive
Explore the blood-soaked legacy of an auteur in new \'De Palma\' trailer
Little Mix throw a slumber party for \'Hair\' music video
Tina Fey: \'Mean Girls\' musical probably won\'t feature three-way calling
The 20 Best \'Real Housewives\' Stars in Bravo History
10 Voices Behind Your Favorite \'Recess\' Characters
Tribeca Film Festival 2016: Exclusive Portrait Photos