Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on FOX
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is getting serious in an upcoming episode.
On Tuesday’s installment, Terry Crews‘ character, Sergeant Terry Jeffords, is confronted by racial profiling when he’s stopped by a fellow police officer (guest star Desmond Harrington) while he’s off duty in his own neighborhood.
The incident escalates, and Jeffords seeks to file an official complaint against Officer Maldack, but Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) cautions him against causing a furor among the department.
“I don’t want to see your career derailed because you were besmirched for reporting on another officer,” Holt tells Jeffords in an exclusive preview of the episode.
“You’re a great cop, you can become a chief or higher,” Holt continues.
“How long will it take to make change that way?” Jeffords questions.
In a sit-down interview about the episode, Crews explains, “One good reason we needed to tackle [racial profiling] is so that Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn’t become a cartoon.”
“Terry gets held by a police officer who’s convinced that because he’s a large black man that he doesn’t belong in the neighborhood,” explains Braugher.
Adds co-creator and executive producer Dan Goor, “It was difficult for us to figure out a way into that issue because our guys are the cops and we’ve done as much as we can to portray a vision of the cops that is a positive vision and a vision of the cops that gets along with its community. It was very hard to figure out how to represent that story in a way that was fair to the cops and also to the community.”
In a second PEOPLE exclusive clip from the show, Jeffords has dinner with Maldack. In the tense scene, Jeffords realizes the officer only regrets stopping him because he’s a fellow cop — and Maldack feels no remorse for stopping an innocent African-American man.
“It was an honest mistake,” Maldack says. “If I’d known you were a cop, I never would have treated you that way.”
“So, you’re sorry for not knowing I was a cop sooner?” Jeffords asks.
“Yeah,” Maldack replies.
“But, you shouldn’t have treated me that way whether I was a cop or not,” Jeffords asserts. “I was just walking down the street. There’s nothing suspicious or illegal about that.”
“Okay, but you and I both know you don’t exactly look like you belong in that neighborhood,” says Maldack.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on FOX.