richard kind

By John Kennedy

New York City has set the scene for some of TV’s most memorable cop shows over the decades, from CBS’s Kojak in the ’70s through Cagney & Lacey in the ’80s to Blue Bloods today. This season the tradition continues with the new Sunday night drama East New York. To get you up to speed, here’s the inside scoop on the characters’ back stories, ranks, personalities, and more.

Watch East New York Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT and catch it streaming on Paramount+.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood (Amanda Warren)

\u200b Amanda Warren as Regina Haywood listens intently to her cell phone while wearing her NYPD shirt and tie as other members of the precinct stand in the background.

Amanda Warren as Regina Haywood in the episode “Snapped”

Photo credit: Scott McDermott/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Recently promoted to lead the 74th Precinct in East New York, Haywood finds herself back in the working-class Brooklyn neighborhood she grew up in and loves. She embraces her new role as an opportunity to serve its people while bringing innovative ideas to policing, like encouraging cops to live in the community. She knows she must win the respect and trust of the skeptical officers under her command as well as the local citizens who rely on the NYPD for protection but are wary of cops nonetheless. Whatever she hopes to accomplish, she must move fast. Time and rising crime rates are not on her side.

She is single and lives alone in a Brooklyn brownstone apartment with her beloved German shepherd. Her doting mother Shirley, who lives nearby, would like to change her daughter’s single status—and the fact that she is estranged from her father Maurice.

Chief John Suarez (Jimmy Smits)

\u200bJimmy Smits as Chief John Suarez in his navy blue NYPD dress uniform and hat.

Jimmy Smits as Chief John Suarez in the pilot episode of East New York

Photo credit: Peter Kramer/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This highly decorated NYPD officer commands the broader Brooklyn area—and the admiration of the units he oversees, particularly minority officers who are inspired by his personal journey and leadership. Haywood’s mentor and friend, he hand-picked her to lead the 74th. As a shrewd player of the long game, he generally supports her vision for change but advocates caution in moving forward. While Haywood sometimes bristles at his restraint, she knows he has her six and will listen to her ideas with an open mind.

Like Haywood, Suarez has roots in the East New York community, where his mother Rosa still resides and his brother Father Frank pastors a Catholic church.

Captain Stan Yenko (Richard Kind)

\u200bA closeup of Richard Kind as Captain Stan Yenko in his navy blue NYPD jacket and hat.

Richard Kind as Captain Stan Yenko in the pilot episode of East New York

Photo credit: Peter Kramer/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Yenko nominated himself as Haywood’s top aide and was pleasantly surprised when she took him up on the offer as one of her first leadership decisions. It was a smart move since he’s an avid supporter of her plans for the precinct and has her back when critics in the department and the media attack. While his encyclopedic knowledge of NYPD history (and trivia of all sorts) can be annoying, it can also prove surprisingly helpful in solving cases. As for his personal life … his job is his personal life.

Detective Tommy Killian (Kevin Rankin)

\u200bKevin Rankin as Detective Tommy Killian in a suit and tie standing outdoors next to graffiti covered train.

Kevin Rankin as Detective Tommy Killian in the episode “Court on the Street”

Photo credit: Scott McDermott/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A tough, honest cop, Killian thinks that, despite its flaws, the system works best without tinkering by would-be reformers like Regina. His skepticism of her ideas is nothing personal. He just thinks they’re wishful thinking.

He’s an avid baseball fan who lives with his independent-minded girlfriend Corrine, who—with Tommy’s help and support—just purchased Goody’s, a local bar-restaurant that serves as an after-hours hangout for the cops of the 74th.

Detective Crystal Morales (Elizabeth Rodriguez)

\u200bA closeup of Elizabeth Rodriguez as Detective Crystal Morales wearing a bright blue blouse and tan coat and standing in front of an official vehicle with flashing lights.

Elizabeth Rodriguez as Detective Crystal Morales in the pilot episode of East New York

Photo credit: Peter Kramer/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Morales enjoys a mutually respectful relationship with her case partner Tommy. Like him, she has great investigative instincts. Unlike him though, she’s more apt to give Haywood and her techniques a chance. She and Yenko are recognized as the precinct’s best detective team. Like her astrological sign Leo, she is confident, big-hearted, and protective of the people and principles she cares about.

Officer Marvin Sandeford (Ruben Santiago-Hudson)

\u200bRuben Santiago-Hudson as Officer Marvin Sandeford wears his NYPD uniform and smiles as he extends an arm to a man in a cap facing away from the camera.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Officer Marvin Sandeford in the pilot episode of East New York

Photo credit: Michael Greenberg/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A veteran beat cop and training officer, Sandeford knows East New York like the back of his hand. He knows what’s going down where—and the rare times he doesn’t, he knows who to lean on to find out. Like Yenko, he’s a bit old-school in his approach to policing and somewhat skeptical of his new boss’s plans for change. He is loyal to the law and the badge but willing to buck the brass to defend fellow officers, particularly younger ones facing injustice within the department.

In his downtime, Sandeford can be found hanging out at Goody’s, where he almost always orders the same thing. (“I don’t mess with success,” he says.) He’s also a fan of classic TV cop shows (especially the comedies), going all the way back to Barney Miller and Car 54, Where Are You?

Officer Andre Bentley (Lavel Schley)

Lavel Schley as Officer Andre Bentley wears his uniform and sits in the passenger seat of a car next to Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Officer Marvin Sandeford.

Lavel Schley as Officer Andre Bentley with Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Officer Marvin Sandeford

Photo credit: Scott McDermott/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

An idealistic rookie officer being trained by Sandeford, Bentley is a young Black man from an upper middle class family who feels called to protect and serve less fortunate members of the community. He can be naïve when it comes to mixing it up with the community (his hat gets stolen during an impromptu pick-up basketball game with local youth) and his interactions with the NYPD establishment.

Officer Brandy Quinlan (Olivia Luccardi)

\u200bOlivia Luccardi as Officer Brandy Quinlan sits in the witness box in a courtroom wearing her NYPD uniform.

Olivia Luccardi as Officer Brandy Quinlan in the episode “Court on the Street”

Photo credit: Scott McDermott/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Quinlan is an earnest young patrol officer who believes in Regina Haywood’s community policing vision and is the first (and so far only) officer in the 74th to volunteer to move into an East New York Community housing project.

To the protective Officer Sandeford, her new friend Officer Bentley, and all those who doubt the white girl is tough enough to handle the assignment, she points out that she grew up in a rough, diverse section of Yonkers and knows how to navigate dicey situations. She also enjoys a friendship with Captain Yenko, who is learning Italian, giving her a chance to brush up on the language she learned during her time in Italy when she was 16.

Watch East New York Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT and catch it streaming on Paramount+.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

By Brantley Bardin

When Richard Kind shows up onstage (The Producers, Bounce), in film (Inside Out, the upcoming Monsters of California), and in classic TV comedy staples such as Mad About You, Spin City, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, you are guaranteed guffaws. A brilliant physical comedian, Kind can ace a villain with ease, but the 6’2”, die-hard New Yorker who rarely ceases to work (“I love acting— there’s no business like show business, there’s no people like show people!”) is oft acclaimed as the funny guy specializing in urban eccentrics. He’s carrying on the tradition of his childhood idols: W.C. Fields, Zero Mostel, and Robert Preston.

Now the father of three—who enlisted close pal George Clooney as his best man for his 1999 wedding—is returning to network TV as Capt. Stan Yenko, a garrulous but nerdy and insecure Brooklyn police captain, in the new cop drama East New York. The show was co-created by William M. NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Good Fight Finkelstein and Mike Big Sky, Queen Sugar Flynn. Is that tony pedigree why Kind bit? No, he says. Then why? “Because they offered me the job,” he jokes.

Watch East New York Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT and catch it streaming on Paramount+.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

In a scene from East New York, Richard Kind stands in front of an American flag while wearing an NYPD uniform and watching Amanda Warren as she stands at a podium, also in uniform.

Richard Kind with Amanda Warren as Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood

Photo: Peter Kramer/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ha ha ha, buddy. What’s the real reason?

I’ve never said this out loud, but if you must know: I am Bill Finkelstein’s muse for some of his characters. I think he finds in me that Jimmy Breslin type of New Yorker who has humanity—and can act. Bill’s a very good actor, but he’s always writing, so he can’t act much. So I am his microphone.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson plays a gritty street cop under the show’s lead—Amanda Warren’s newly promoted deputy inspector, Regina Haywood. Jimmy Smits plays her mentor, Chief John Suarez. Unlike them, you’re the (surprise) eccentric outlier who obsesses over such things as bidding on a vintage Chrysler Cordoba online.

Stan is an eccentric! Bill writes on different levels and wanted some levity, a bit of a softer tone than the other, more grizzled cops.

As a king of comedy, that’s the perfect assignment. Confession: The world knows you from your smash TV comedies, but I know you best onstage from your divine Max Bialystock in The Producers at the Hollywood Bowl and really know you from the cast album of the Harold Prince–directed, Chicago production of Stephen Sondheim’s Bounce so—

I love it! I like it best when people know me from the theater. I think I’m best onstage. When most kids were lying in bed dreaming of being Mick Jagger or Mickey Mantle, my goal in life was to do a Sondheim/(Harold) Prince (-directed) musical.

That’s specific. And miraculously, in 2003 you actually landed one of the two leads in Bounce, the very final Sondheim/Prince collaboration.

[Exhales.] Ah! I loved it. Sondheim was our genius, our Shakespeare, our poet, our philosopher. We laughed, we learned, we were able to emote through his lyrics.

A full body shot of Richard Kind in an NYPD uniform as Stan Yenko.

Richard Kind in character for East New York

Photo credit: Matthias Clamer / 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It’s just the truth. OK, I’m gonna jump right to a question about your best man back in 1999, George Cloo—

I don’t talk about him. Number one, he gets enough publicity. Number two, everything everybody knows about him, he is: a good and talented man.

Like him, you’re a charity and political beast, hosting countless benefits every year. And last Fourth of July weekend, you announced a new project, one specifically to fight voter suppression, The Kind Foundation. The social media unveiling came with a searing video message on Twitter and Instagram. Crazy powerful.

Good. I’m not making a dime off of it. But if I think about what the gerrymandering is doing … and what now the Supreme Court might do in the future …. well, if votes aren’t being tallied and your voice isn’t being heard, then our democracy is faltering. The best way to be heard is your vote, and I think people are being squelched in their power by not being able to vote.

The Kind Foundation will raise money to channel into organizations that already exist to, for instance, provide cars to get folks to the polls or [provide them] with money for lawyers if their votes aren’t counted and they have to go to court, right? And it’s so stupid that Richard Kind should have power like that, but I am on TV, therefore I am a celebrity, therefore— and it’s the silliest thing—but if people will donate money because I’m a celebrity, why should I keep my celebrity in my apartment?

Word. What’s your greatest hope for East New York?

One, that we show the humanity of and respect for the police that I grew up with in the ’60s and ’70s. Two, I want economic success for the show, meaning more seasons. And three, I hope for good craft services.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

Watch East New York Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT and catch it streaming on Paramount+.

MOST POPULAR

By viewing our video content you are accepting the terms of our Video Services Policy.
© 2019 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.