FOCUS | AMANDA WARREN
IN THE DRAMATIC SERIES EAST NEW YORK , Brooklyn’s fictional 7-4 Precinct has a new kind of boss in Deputy Inspector Regina Haywood. And the police procedural has a new kind of star in Amanda Warren, who plays the straightforward reformer who believes the most effective police work begins in community. Far from making Regina a softie, this objective suggests she’s both savvy and right on time. It’s not a stretch to liken Regina’s ascendency to Warren’s own arrival at the top of a network show’s call sheet. Best known for her roles as Mayor Lucy Warburton in The Leftovers and the seamstress Betty in the fleetly amusing series Dickinson , Warren has made her way up through the ranks of episodic tele- vision to this vaunted gig. On a video chat, Warren recalls her first audition for a pilot—it was with Don Johnson. “He emailed me when the network at the time had passed, and he explained that he had done a number before he landed Miami Vice and to just hang in there,” she said. Prescient advice, it turned out. “To have it hap- pen where I’m at the pole position is just crazy.” Warren has been acting nearly all her life and appears to have leveraged every experience. In first grade, she learned how important it was to show up prepared after she forgot her lines because she’d been too obsessed with the wrongness of her cos- tume. (Shouldn’t Dorothy Gale’s dress be gingham?) As a member of a youth gospel choir, she embraced the power of melding voices. And the Manhattan native learned—a little against her teenage will— that her time as a student at the Professional Per- forming Arts School would emphasize her studies over auditioning professionally. Lessons picked up at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts were deepened at Yale Drama School. Reviewers’ praise for her work in several plays and movies suggests she took those lessons and discipline to heart. Now Warren has donned the crisp blues of Regina’s NYPD uniform. She also gets to wear her character’s coolly stylish ensembles. Speaking of ensembles, the creators of East New York have assembled a first-rate cast that has War- ren’s back, including Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Richard Kind as veterans of the 7-4, and Elizabeth Rodriguez and Kevin Rankin as detectives. Jimmy
Smits—who knows his way around a precinct set—is Regina’s boss and mentor, Chief John Suarez.
You’re in such great company. What an ensemble. That’s so funny that you said that. The title of my personal statement for Yale and NYU grad was “In Good Company,” because that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be in, and that’s what it is now, and that’s what it’s always been. But in this position, it’s very nice to be in great company. I t’s a pinnacle, heading a show. Can you explain how it happened? I was filming Gossip Girl last February, and my agent calls saying, “I know that you’re not interested in pursuing pilot season, but here’s something that I think might be a little different. It really might spark something in you.” So I read it and it was very different, talking about the relationships between community and trying to bridge a gap. I was really interested in the resistance that she was met with in the script. Eight days later, I had a Gossip Girl script in my hand and had already gotten my call time for very early morning, and my agent called along with my New York agent and said, “They would like to offer you this role.”
EAST NEW YORK airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and streams on Paramount+
Christopher John Rogers suit, Celeste Starre ring
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER • 2022
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