L.A.’s Finest is now the official title for NBC’s Bad Boys TV spinoff.
While the Bad Boys buddy cop film franchise, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, has been dormant since the 2003 sequel, it will finally return in the form L.A.’s Finest, starring Gabriel Union, who reprises her Bad Boys 2 role as Syd Burnett, the sister of Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett, who happened to be dating his police partner, Will Smith’s Mike Lowery; respective relationships that surprised both men. However, Marcus and Mike eventually learn that Syd was an undercover DEA agent who was investigating the same Cuban ecstasy ring that they were chasing.
While L.A.’s Finest star Gabriel Union’s appearance as Syd in Bad Boys 2 mostly took place in Miami, the spinoff will see her make a fresh start in Los Angeles, where she will work as an LAPD detective. However, her rough approach and brash personality – apparently masking painful secrets – will clash with new partner, Nancy McKenna, who will be played by Jessica Alba. Thus, in the spirit of Bad Boys (with a healthy dollop of Lethal Weapon,) the Peacock Network series will brandish a buddy cop dynamic, except, you know, with a pair of bad girls.
The L.A.’s Finest pilot was written by Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier, a duo who work for NBC crime drama The Blacklist as writers and producers. The project was reportedly conceived by Primary Wave Entertainment as a vehicle for client Gabrielle Union. Sony Pictures Television will produce. Original film producer Jerry Bruckheimer is onboard, joined by Doug Belgrad, both as executive producers, via 2.0 Entertainment and Primary Wave Entertainment. – There’s no word yet on whether original film series director Michael Bay will be involved.
For Union, the starring role in a Bad Boys spinoff series is a timely opportunity, with her BET drama series Being Mary Jane ending with a TV movie finale after a four-season run. She’s recently been seen in films such as The Birth of a Nation, Almost Christmas and Sleepless. Long before that, she cut her teeth in teen fare and a 1997 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest role, before finding film success with roles in (Heath Ledger breakout film) 10 Things I Hate About You, the original Bring it On and, of course, Bad Boys 2. She also fielded TV runs on City of Angels, the short-lived Night Stalker reboot series and Flashforward.
Jessica Alba will play LAPD detective Nancy McKenna, the partner to Gabrielle Union’s DEA agent Syd Burnett. Nancy is an Army veteran who joined the military police because women weren’t allowed in combat, spent a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now raising two preteen kids with her husband
Alba’s last regular TV run was back in the 2000-2002 Fox sci-fi/action series, Dark Angel, though she banked appearances on shows such as Entourage, The Office, The Spoils of Babylon and Barely Famous. She was featured in the films Sin City, Fantastic Four and its sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer, Machete, Into the Blue, El Camino Christmas, Mechanic: Resurrection. She also founded The Honest Company in 2011.
Original Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson will play Joseph Burnett, the father of Union’s character. Hudson’s seemingly interminable acting resume lives up to the words of his iconic Ghostbusters character, Winston Zeddemore, declaring that, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” His recent notable roles include a run on Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie, a recurring role on Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival and a regular role on Fox’s cancelled high-tech police procedural, APB.
L.A.’s Finest could be a bellwether revival for the Bad Boys franchise, with rumors continuing to swirl about Bad Boys 3 becoming a reality. Thus, the TV spinoff series could end up making a more welcoming cross-media IP atmosphere for a connected sequel film that would prospectively reunite Smith and Lawrence. Of course, with 1995’s Bad Boys being a $141.4 million (worldwide) surprise smash and 2003’s Bad Boys 2 raking in $273.3 million (worldwide), the movie franchise might also have some mojo left to help generate nostalgic interest for the TV series.