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Whatever Happened To Brucie From The Longest Yard?

Director Peter Segal's 2005 reboot of Robert Aldrich's 1974 crime comedy, "The Longest Yard," replaced Burt Reynolds with Adam Sandler (while bringing Reynolds back for a different role), Eddie Albert with James Cromwell, and slick 70s shtick with silly, early oughts screwball comedy. Co-starring Chris Rock and Tracey Morgan, the film was, like so many Adam Sandler vehicles, a hit with his built-in fan base, and littered with quotable moments and characters. Among those characters was actor Nicholas Turturro's eager and unlucky inmate Brucie.

Well before his endearing portrayal of the athlete earned him a whole new generation of fans, Turturro had made a name for himself on the other side of the bars, playing Detective James Martinez in "NYPD Blue." From 1993 to 2000, the actor breathed life into the often unlucky-in-love rookie on Steven Bochco's and David Milch's gritty police procedural. Following his comedic turn in "The Longest Yard," though, he found himself in the familiar position of playing an officer of the law in multiple projects.

From 2006 to 2006, Turturro found himself back in uniform

In 2006, Turturro played a Port Authority police officer on Nicolas Cage's force in Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center." The based-on-true-events film focused on the story of Cage's Sgt. John McLoughlin and Michael Peña's Officer Will Jimeno, two first responders who become trapped in the rubble of The World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. 

The following year, the actor portrayed Officer Colin Pierce in the television film and courtroom drama, "McBride: Semper Fi," and a year later, Turturro was back in uniform (albeit in an altogether different genre) playing Officer D'Agostino in writer-director David E. Talbert's "First Sunday." Like so many comedies, the film failed to impress critics, but earned itself a healthy fan following. That same year, credited as Nick Turturro, the former "Third Watch" actor enjoyed a two-episode arc as Officer Darrell on "Days of Our Lives." Clearly, his time in "NYPD Blue" served him well with regard to casting, but it wasn't all shields and badge numbers for the man behind Brucie. 

Turturro teamed up with Kevin James

Where there's smoke, there's fire, and where there's a Kevin James, there's very likely to be a Nicholas Turturro. The real-life Queens, New York native appeared in fellow native New Yorker Kevin James' "The King of Queens" in 2007, the same year he reunited with both James and his "The Longest Yard" co-star, Sandler, in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry." The James-Turturro team-up took place again in 2011, when the latter (credited as Nick Turturro) made an appearance along with Rosario Dawson in the Razzie Award-nominated, Kevin James co-penned comedy, "Zookeeper." Surprisingly (or, perhaps unsurprisingly, given the context, atmosphere, and competition), the less than critically lauded comedy was surpassed in its opening weeks only by Seth Gordon's "Horrible Bosses" and Michael Bay's "Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon" (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

That same year, Turturro reunited with his other comedy connection, Adam Sandler, in "Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star," before returning to work alongside James in 2012, 2015, and 2017, with roles in "Here Comes the Boom," "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2," and James' second sitcom, "Kevin Can Wait" (The last of which, James insisted to Entertainment Weekly, was definitely "not a reboot" of "The King of Queens," despite the fact that it co-starred Leah Remini and was...sort of a reboot of "The King of Queens"). In addition to his cops and comedies-laced resume, Turturro also guest starred in a number of popular primetime dramas before tackling the biopic genre. 

The actor balanced screwball comedies with biopics

Though he continued to guest star in single episodes of a number of television series, including "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Burn Notice," and "White Collar," Turturro remained on the big screen throughout the early 2000s, returning to his "The World Trade Center" biopic roots with 2008's "Phantom Punch" and 2009's "Street Boss." 

Director Robert Townsend's "Phantom Punch" tells the story of legendarily controversial heavyweight boxer, Sonny Liston, portrayed in the film by Ving Rhames. In the film, Turturro stars as gym owner and operator Ceasar Novak, who ultimately becomes Liston's manager. A contemporary review of "Phantom Punch" asserted that, on the whole, it was "never quite as dark as its subject might require" (via The Hollywood Reporter), but its lukewarm reception doesn't appear to have negatively impacted Turturro's film career. The following year, he was once again cast in a leading role in director Lance Kawas' "Street Boss."

Inspired by former FBI Agent Phil Kerby's non-fiction book, "With Honor and Purpose," (via Michigan Live) the film told the story of the FBI's take-down of one of Detroit's most infamous mobsters, Tony Jack (aka Tony Giacalone, portrayed in the film by Robert Gallo). Turturro tackled the role of consiglieri Jimmy Calone, and though the film wasn't exactly a well-known mega hit, it did allow the actor to flex his dramatic muscles.  

Brucie starred in Blue Bloods

The following year, Turturro would put his balance of comedic and dramatic muscles — as well as his experience in TV law enforcement — to good use in a series that would make him a familiar household face for the first time since his role in "NYPD Blue." 

From 2010 to 2016, the actor embodied Sgt. Anthony Renzulli in nearly 40 episodes of co-creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green's popular police procedural, "Blue Bloods." In the series, Turturro shed the wide-eyed rookie status of his "NYPD Blue" detective and took on the role of Sgt. Jamie Reagan's (Will Estes) experienced and wise-cracking Training Officer and mentor. As Renzulli, the well-versed comedic actor brought some levity and laughs to the series through his dynamic with Jamie, as well as some of his "NYPD Blue" fanbase (via Reddit).

Two years after his departure from the series, Turturro made the move (as so many television police officers do) from law enforcement to politics, with a two-episode arc as Councilman Ronald Sims in Carl Weber's "The Family Business." That same year, he enjoyed a small role in Spike Lee's Oscar winning film, "BlacKkKlansman," as well as a guest starring role in Aseem Batra's series, "I Feel Bad." It was his next project, however, that would see the actor tackle one of his most dramatic projects to-date. 

Turturro plays a man of the cloth in the The Name of the Rose

In "The Name of the Rose," a BBC/RAI miniseries now available on Sundance, Nicholas Turturro co-stars with older brother John Turturro ("The Batman") in creator Giacomo Battiato's interpretation of Umberto Eco's 1980 novel of the same name. Like its 1986 silver screen predecessor starring Sean Connery, the 14th century-set miniseries follows Friar William of Baskerville's (John Turturro) investigation of a series of mysterious murders at an abbey, all the while dodging an ominous inquisitor with an agenda all his own.

The series stars Rupert Everett as said ominous inquisitor Bernardo Gui, "Lost" veteran and "Evil" star Michael Emerson as Abate Abbassano da Fossanova, and the younger Turturro as the Archbishop of Zaragoza, Piedro Lopez de Luna, who appears in five of the series' eight episodes. Interestingly enough, "The Name of the Rose" marks the first but not the last time the "The Longest Yard" star has portrayed a member of the clergy.  

In addition to repeatedly being cast in blue, it seems Turturro works well as a man of the cloth. In Josh Webber and Brian White's genre blending "Dear Frank," the actor plays a priest named Father Quinn, and in writer-director Spencer T. Folmar's award winning "Shooting Heroin," (2020) Turturro portrays a character named Reverend John (via IMDb). Although the prolific actor appears at home appealing to a higher authority, his most recent recurring role sees him, once again, in the familiar role of a detective.

Turturro returned to his roots, sort of, with his role on SVU

What begins as another run-of-the-mill detective role for the former "NYPD Blue" star becomes anything but in Turturro's three-episode arc as Frank Bucci in Seasons 20 and 21 of "Law & Order: Special Victim Unit." 

Though his character first appears ever-so-briefly in Season 19's "Part 33," Turturro's divorced father of two and struggling former detective Frank is the dramatic axis around which Episodes 9 and 10 of Season 21 revolve. In "Can't be Held Accountable" and "Must be Held Accountable," Frank begins to spiral out of control when he learns that his two teenage daughters are being groomed by a wealthy predator named Steve Getz (Vincent Kartheiser). Fueled by alcohol, anger, and a feeling of helplessness that Getz will never see justice for his crimes, the desperate father decides to kidnap and hold Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) hostage at gun point, releasing her only when he hears on the news that Getz is being charged. 

It's a storyline that comes dangerously close to jumping the shark, but it did give Turturro an opportunity to play an altogether different kind of detective. Despite this, in Massimiliano Cerchi's "The Penthouse" (2021), Turturro would once again find himself playing a Detective Martinez, this time in a "Rear Window"-esque thriller. For the Kevin James and cop show-loving actor who brought Brucie to life, it appears things have come full circle.