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East New York Was Inspired By Real-Life Events

Police dramas are about as common as a cold — but in a good way. They have long been a staple of television, especially network channels like CBS and NBC. "East New York," which premiered on CBS in early October 2022, is one of the latest examples of this phenomenon. The series focuses on Regina Haywood (Amanda Warren), the brand-new commanding officer of the NYPD's 74th precinct, and her quest to improve her community by becoming a part of it.

It's certainly an unusual premise for a police procedural, and the series has received a moderately positive response from both fans and critics. As of this writing, "East New York" has a critic approval rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes with a 75% fan rating. That's fairly impressive for a new police show, especially in a market seemingly oversaturated with them. But there's an interesting story behind the show's origins, as it's actually based on real-life events.

East New York's premise was pulled directly from headlines

A recent Forbes piece about the origins of the show revealed that "East New York" is very much inspired by the real world. Specifically, it's based on a New Republic article from 2018 that talks about community policing. The article focus on a group of police in Rockford, Illinois, where one cop moved into a home provided by the department. He then proceeded to earn the trust of his community while apparently impacting crime rates in a positive way. This particular story helped "East New York" co-creator Mike Flynn craft a pilot script around the overall community policing concept.

While it's hard to guess how much longevity Flynn and company can realistically hope to achieve from such a premise, it's an encouraging sign that CBS not only was willing to take the risk but, according to Deadline, has already given "East New York" a full-season order. The Forbes piece also touched on Flynn's desire to explore a cop show that exists in a world after the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Essentially, this is the type of risk and adapting to the times that more police shows must do in order to not become an outdated relic of the past like many genres have before it.