Why We Hope CBS Reconsiders Canceling East New York

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For East New York fans, CBS' finalization of its 2023-2024 schedule came with devastating news.

Since the network announced that the freshman cop drama was canceled, fan groups have organized petition signing and social media campaigns to save their beloved show.

It's a long shot, but let's hope it works. There are a ton of reasons East New York has a dedicated fan base; this show deserves an 11th-hour reprieve.

A New Vision - East New York Season 1 Episode 1

While there are many cop shows on the air, none was quite like this one.

Rather than focusing on the parts of the Big Apple that tourists usually frequent, this series took place in a lower-income, majority Black and Brown neighborhood.

This led to one of the most diverse casts on television and storylines many shows don't address.

Gentrification, political pressure to prioritize the needs of wealthier white people over those of neighborhood residents, and the difficulty inherent in trying to change police culture from the inside were regular features on East New York.

Yet they did it without being preachy or one-sided.

The best thing about this series was its well-rounded characters. Everyone from the newest officers to the precinct leaders had a distinct personality, complete with flaws and quirks.

Whether it was Sandeford's constant quest to educate Bentley about classic TV and music, Yenko's random interests and knowledge, or Quinlan's stories about her colorful past, every character made an impression.

Hitting a Speed Bump - East New York Season 1 Episode 20

Although the series often revolved around Regina's attempts to reform the system and the NYPD administration pushing back, this was no one-woman show. Every character was meaningful and memorable; viewers often felt they were visiting with friends on Sunday nights.

The stories were memorable and often kept fans talking all week long.

Quinlan's attempt to fit in at the projects was my favorite continuing arc. She volunteered to live there to make a difference, but she didn't consider how a white cop entering a predominantly Black space might come across.

If the story had ended with Regina calling Quinlan out on her motives for taking this assignment, it still would have made a strong point. Many people want to help marginalized people but go about it the wrong way.

Regina vs. Politics - East New York Season 1 Episode 21

But the story continued, and Quinlan learned how to be a neighbor rather than the cop living in a complex full of people who were not like her.

She stopped treating inconsiderate neighbors as if they were criminals and learned to approach them as people, not problems. As a result, she developed a friendship with Thora, a woman in her building who initially told Quinlan she was a nuisance who needed to move out.

This was an authentic story about people from very different backgrounds learning to get along and eventually care for each other, which is sorely missing in today's polarized world.

Aren't those the kinds of stories we need more of on TV?

A Tragic Shooting - East New York Season 1 Episode 21

Not every minute was about race relations, nor should it have been. People are a lot more than their racial identity, after all.

There was a lot of typical cop fare, some of which led to solid performances for the actors.

Who could forget Ruben Santiago-Hudson's portrayal of Sandeford's guilt and anger after Bentley got shot while riding together? Lavel Schley's performance as a traumatized Bentley was equally powerful.

And leaving all that aside, viewers enjoyed guessing the solutions to each week's homicide. Sometimes we were ahead of the cops, and other times East New York threw a twist no one saw coming.

Richard Kind as Stan Yenko - East New York Season 1 Episode 1

The series had a stellar cast, too.

Amanda Warren gave an incredible performance, letting viewers in on Regina's vulnerability and fear of intimacy alongside her determination to make unpopular changes that would benefit East New York residents but not politicians.

All the series regulars were great, but I especially loved that veteran actors Richard Kind and Jimmy Smits rounded out the cast.

Kind's Stan Yenko often provided comic relief, but could also be serious -- will anyone ever forget the time he tried to get his agoraphobic wife to leave the house?

And Smits was Regina's main foil, the senior detective who was better at playing political games and understood the stakes but sometimes erred too much on the side of pleasing politicians.

Press Conference - East New York Season 1 Episode 13

East New York was one of CBS' highest-rated series, showing viewers want this show.

It wasn't easy to watch this series live. Predicting when any given episode would start was often challenging, thanks to Sunday Night Football.

Sometimes it was on time; other times, it aired anywhere from five to 40 minutes late on the East Coast.

Yet fans set their DVRs for extra time or waited patiently by the TV for the series to begin. Some checked CBS's Twitter feed obsessively on Sunday nights for updated start times.

Put to the Test - East New York Season 1 Episode 21

That's how much we loved this show.

People don't put that much effort into finding out when any old series begins -- that's reserved for especially beloved shows, and we did it week after week. And we want to do it again and are holding out hope that somehow we can.

What about you, TV Fanatics? Did you watch East New York? Will you miss it now that it's gone?

Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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East New York Quotes

Rookie: Who's that guy?
Supervisor: He shows up wherever there's cameras.

Salon Worker: Big day for you, huh? You the boss now.
Hayward: I'm A boss. There are lots of bosses. I have a boss.