On top of being a dedicated dad, a fitness buff, and a yogurt enthusiast, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Terry Jeffords is a nerd. He gets that from actor Terry Crews, who told TV Guide that his love of Star Wars helped inspire a memorable storyline for his character.
Revisiting some of Terry Jeffords’ funniest scenes as part of TV Guide’s 100 Best Shows ranking, Crews said he saw his own nerdy side reflected in his character in Season 4’s “Skyfire Cycle.” The episode finds the lieutenant (then a sergeant) investigating death threats against one of his heroes, fantasy author D.C. Parlov (Fred Melamed). Parlov’s books are a play on Game of Thrones, but Crews said he channeled his “obsession” with Star Wars to tap into Terry’s fanboy side — and he’s pretty sure the writers did the same.
“One thing about the writers of our show is that they steal from our lives,” said Crews. He pointed to the way he geeked out when he met Star Wars star Mark Hamill for the first time at the Oscars. (Hamill also happens to be a huge Brooklyn Nine-Nine fan whom Crews credits for playing a major role in saving the show when it was canceled by Fox and revived at NBC.)
“It was a total Skyfire Cycle moment,” Crews laughed. He told the story of his meeting with the Star Wars actor all around the Brooklyn Nine-Nine set, which he believes gave the writers some ideas. “I think they really stole that experience and really built on what that was,” he said.
One of the funniest things about Terry’s introduction to Parlov is how small he tries to make himself when they meet, which the actor said was inspired by his son, then 4 years old. Meekness couldn’t be further from what Crews channeled in another scene he watched: Terry and Holt’s (Andre Braugher) dance to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” in the Season 7 finale. While Crews was comfortable busting a move (“I would do Dancing with the Stars, but it’s just not fair”), to him the beauty of the scene is Braugher’s willingness to do the same.
“We practiced together,” Crews said of Braugher. “He really gave everything he had, and I was in awe. … And he’s like that nonstop. Every day he comes to work, he’s there to make everything better.”
Check out the video above for Crews’ take on more of Terry’s best moments — including a Heist victory so sweet that even an allergic reaction couldn’t ruin it.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is available to stream on Hulu.