“East New York”: Amanda Warren on CBS Drama Success Fall Finale
The early success of the CBS drama East New York was nothing short of “an embarrassment of wealth” for Amanda Warren, the show’s lead.
In the freshman drama, Warren stars as Regina Haywood, the newly promoted assistant inspector of the 74th Precinct – a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of Brooklyn amid social upheaval and the early seeds of gentrification. Haywood has family ties to the area and is keen to use creative methods to protect her community, though her valiant efforts have so far met all sorts of (not insurmountable) obstacles.
The series’ cast also includes Emmy-winning director Jimmy Smits as two-star chief John Suarez; Richard Kind as Haywood’s right-hand man, Captain Stan Yenko; Kevin Rankin and Elizabeth Rodriguez as Detectives Tommy Killian and Crystal Morales; Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Lavel Schley as TO Marvin Sandeford and his trainee Andre Bentley; and Olivia Luccardi as Brandy Quinlan, a patrol officer who volunteered in the pilot to live in a local housing project as part of Haywood’s plan to “bridge the divide between the police force and the community.”
TVLine caught Warren between days of filming to think about it East New York‘s positive reception and a preview of the fall finals this Sunday.
TVLINE | You were the #1 new show from the start (alongside NBC’s quantum leap) and so far you’re trailing only CBS fire land. What was your Response to audience reaction to the show?
Oh it was shocking, kind of relieving, encouraging… You’re in the middle of this organized, beautiful chaos making a TV show for seven and a half days and you just hope people like it. And especially for me, as a native New Yorker, one hopes that New Yorkers really enjoy it. So it was all an embarrassment of wealth, and we couldn’t be more grateful. I’m just tickled red from the whole thing.
TVLINE | I’m the “cop show guy” on the staff. Why do you think this was the right take on police drama at the time?
What’s happening with our show, with [co-creators] billy [Finkelstein] and Mike Flynn and Michael Robin, is that you have this very strong foundation that a first season always needs, no matter what you’re going for. And right now we are building on the foundation of telling the truth about the human condition. So we’re just trying to build on what we have and evolve and focus and sit with our characters a little bit more. And then there are the characters that are in the community, and that’s a little bit different. They have this bridging of the divide that we’re exploring and hoping that grows into something very solid and very real for our viewers to absorb every Sunday.
TVLINE | Like when Quinlan goes home to the project at night, or when Killian learns his wife has hired an ex-con to be their restaurant’s chef…
Exactly. There are all sorts of little things. I’ve been telling people it’s a very slow burn, so you could get a Killian-heavy episode, and then we go to Morales, or we go to Yenko, or to Suarez, or to Reuben’s lovely character and so on, that builds for him . We keep your crimes you’re used to in the procedural realm, but we also dive in and out, weaving through each character’s life or journey as they head home. It’s very nice to explore all of this, especially for someone like me. i really enjoy it
TVLINE | You mentioned Yenko a second ago. Can we take a minute to acknowledge Richard Kind in this role? Because when I started the pilot for the first time, I thought: “Richard Kind in a Cop drama?” But he is so good.
Yes, yes, he’s always looking for nuanced things that we haven’t really seen before his wonderful, very unique character. It’s so creative what Billy Finkelstein made of Yenko and it’s really nice to see Richard in a different light because he has it such Offer. He really does. Coming from the theater, as a lot of our actors do – I come from the theater – it’s so nice to see someone else appreciate and tap into other areas of Richard’s range
TVLINE | What are your plans for the fall finale airing this Sunday?
Oh I know you wish you’d want to know but you just have to tune in and we’ll see you later in the winter and that’s going to be fabulous too. [Following its fall finale, East New York returns Jan. 8, 2023.] But everything will be great. That’s all I can tell you.
TVLINE | The case at hand is the sudden death of a retired police officer who was planning to go public with allegations of corruption? And it’s initially counted as a suicide…?
Yes / Yes. So yeah, we’re going to see some other sides of the precinct, maybe some “ghosts from the past of 74”. And we see how Regina and Suarez deal with it and what follows. But we have one Yes, really special last moment for you. So, you know, just tune in and it’ll be great.
TVLINE | Are you leaving us on the break with a juicy cliffhanger?
Just hold on everyone. Just hang in there and really enjoy and know we’ll be back with answers. It’s a slow burn, all is revealed – or we can hold on. But there’s a lot of different things that come out of our characters, and I think that’s something refreshing for our audience to see — more more of these people’s private lives, a little bit more character arc and story arc.
TVLINE | Let’s talk about Regina. We still don’t know what made her a somewhat surprising choice for the Deputy Inspector’s post in her past, right? The thing alluded to in the pilot?
Not us, not us. And like everyone else in the cast, I’m only privy to the script that lies ahead. Or the script, which we’re about to dive into. So no, I don’t really know that yet. But I’m excited to find out. I’m very excited, as are our viewers.
TVLINE | And by the end of the final episode, DEA Agent Dryden seemed to pick up what Regina was laying down…
Yes, just a little! [Laughs] Again, that’s a bit of a slow burn. She’s always on the alert, so it’ll be interesting to see how her personal life coincides with her professional life as he’s in law enforcement himself. It’s like Regina making things complicated.
TVLINE | That was a funny act of you, with her reaction. She’s “Deputy Inspector Haywood” after all, but this handsome guy is clearly interested.
That’s correct. So we’ll see. We will see. But oh boy, that Regina – as much as she tries to keep the peace, it never quite suits her. A little trouble always follows. And that always makes everything entertaining for the viewers.
TVLINE | I watch CBS Blue blood fairly regularly… We haven’t met East New Yorkthe police commissioner or his mayor….
Not on our show. No we have not.
TVLINE | because in my Mind until you show me that your police commissioner is not Tom Selleck, your mayor is not Dylan Walsh, theoretically They could be in the same universe.
As much as we love that Blue blood World and all, I think we’re definitely looking for something that’s a little bit different and special. In a land of reboots and crossovers, we’re interested in making something solid and original. We’re in our first season, so we want people to know who we are first. if [a crossover] happens, I think that’s very nice. But personally I’d like to see a world where we’re just on our own.
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https://tvline.com/2022/11/25/east-new-york-amanda-warren-season-1-fall-finale-preview/ “East New York”: Amanda Warren on CBS Drama Success Fall Finale