Spectrum invited the Television Critics Association to the set of their first original series, L.A.’s Finest. The show is a spinoff of the Bad Boys movies, starring Gabrielle Union as her character Syd Burnett from Bad Boys II. Speaking with the cast and producers, /Film learned about several connections to Bad Boys the show will retain.

Another Bad Boys Character Will Be In L.A.’s Finest

Syd was introduced in Bad Boys II as the sister of Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), who became a love interest to Mike Lowrey (Will Smith). She’s the star of the show, having moved from Miami to Los Angeles. Executive producer Brandon Margolis revealed that Fletcher, the hacker who helps Mike and Marcus in both films, would also appear in the show.

“When we were doing the pilot, we asked can we get John Salley?” Margolis said. “To our surprise, [Jerry Bruckheimer Television] were like absolutely. Suddenly Fletcher, the character from the films, lived in L.A. and he was with our characters. That was such a fanboy moment for me because I’ve loved the movies growing up and Fletcher was one of my favorite parts that now we get to work with Fletcher and it was so much fun.”

Okay, it’s not Will Smith. It’s not even Joe Pantoliano. But yes, it is a character from the movies. Margolis told fans to look out for more Easter eggs too.

“Obviously, we wanted to expand on the life of Syd Burnett, the character form Bad Boys II, but we’re hoping to keep as many Easter eggs in the show so that we’re reminded it was part of a larger universe,” Margolis said.

This Character Reveals More of Marcus Burnett

Ernie Hudson plays Syd’s father, Joseph Vaughn. He’s back in her life after decades of estrangement, so the more you learn about Joseph, the more you learn about Syd and Marcus’s childhood.

“The relationship with the mom was so difficult,” Hudson said. “The mom basically did not want him around. In the Bad Boys movies, her and the Martin Lawrence character have been away and the mom has deliberately worked to keep our distance. The kids get their mom’s story. I’m sure a lot of guys out there can probably relate to that. When kids are small, they hear things and they form their own ideas which is not based on reality. So how do you be that dad that you really haven’t been? How do you get her to trust you? All that stuff that I find fascinating just being a dad myself and dealing with my own kids. I’ve never been estranged from my kids but I do find it fascinating.”

That is a cool way that a spin-off can rewrite backstory for the movies. Nothing’s going to contradict the upcoming Bad Boys For Life, since Joseph will probably stick around in L.A. while the bad boys are shooting it up in Miami. Maybe they can explain some of Marcus’s neuroses as well.

“You’ve never really heard of Marcus having parents,” Union said. “I just got introduced in the second. Obviously, they weren’t dropped as orbs. So, we had to come up with a mythology that really explained his absence and their relationship. And by the end of the show, you’ll have a better sense of what caused that estrangement.”

It Could Have Been Called Bad Girls

This may be a pedantic question, but if the movies are Bad Boys, and the TV show has Union partnered with Jessica Alba, could it have been called Bad Girls? Would that have been too blatant?

“It was definitely discussed,” Margolis said. “I think we went through a lot of different titles and, definitely Bad Girls felt like it was the natural segue from the films. But, you know, we wanted to live in that universe, but also establish our own identity as our own thing. And, ultimately, L.A.‘s Finest was, I think, everyone’s favorite choice.”

Is Syd Stuck In L.A. Now?

Bad Boys for Life has finally gone into production after many false starts. It’s aiming for a 2020 release. Union would happily reprise her role, but she says no one has asked yet.

“I mean, my phone hasn’t rang yet,” Union said. “Luckily, I’m busy here, and they’re busy filming. It would be awesome. I guess we have to check our budget if we can afford for them even to do a cameo. I mean, obviously, the Bad Boys universe exists so we can have these Avengers type moments where we could all, sort of, be together. That would be amazing. The door is always open for them. Hopefully, you know, the door is open for me in III, but we’ll see. I’m waiting with bated breath.”

Syd moving to L.A. also means that she and Mike broke up. Union wouldn’t confirm, but hinted that the series would address why she’s moved away to L.A.

Bad Boys made both Lawrence and Smith movie stars after their hit TV sitcoms. It would be cool and gracious of either of them to visit Syd in L.A., but it’s also understandable if their movie careers and price quotes make it unfeasible. But then, Samuel L. Jackson did appear on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so there’s hope.

L.A.’s Finest is coming to Spectrum subscribers on May 13, 2019.

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