Cast member Rashida Jones, the voice of Cool Girl's Emotions in the animated motion picture comedy "Inside Out," attends the premiere of the film in Los Angeles on June 8, 2015. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Parks and Recreation alum Rashida Jones is heading back to television, this time as the lead in the new cop comedy Angie Tribeca.
"It's definitely in the tradition of Hot Shots!, Airplane!, The Naked Gun, Police Squad," the 39-year-old Los Angeles native recently said during a roundtable interview with reporters at New York Comic Con.
The show was created by Steve Carell, former star of The Office, the sitcom on which Jones played a supporting role until she left to portray Amy Poehler's best friend on Parks and Rec.
Asked if she had been secretly cooking up her latest project with Carell and his wife/producing partner Nancy for years, Jones told UPI: "No! Apparently, they [had been working on it a long time.] But I was going to, maybe, focus on writing a little bit and Steve and Nancy emailed me the script and said, 'I don't know if you want to do TV...' And I could not believe how much I was laughing. It's so funny that I was like, 'Please...'"
The hilarious and down-to-earth beauty went on to say she loves how she and her co-stars Jere Burns, Hayes MacArthur, Andree Vermeulen and Deon Cole are required to play it straight in the faux police procedural.
"It is the best of both worlds. As a Law & Order fan, I am working out some serious fantasies in terms of my procedural life," she joked, adding that, unlike the L&O franchise, Angie Tribeca likely won't feature stories that are ripped from the headlines.
"I guess Law & Order does do that. But they can do that [because] they do 22 episodes a year, so they can be really current. ... We keep it pretty timeless. There is a ferret-smuggling plot. You know, that old chestnut. We go undercover as a dummy and a ventriloquist," she revealed.
TBS has promised the series will have "everything anyone could ever imagine in a crime drama."
"Dead bodies, heinous crimes, complex mysteries within mysteries, violence, grit, sex, gritty sex and a detective who will stop at nothing to get her man... or woman... or ferret."
Jones, who is the Harvard-educated daughter of music mogul Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton, admitted it was hard for the cast to keep straight faces while uttering some of the show's most ridiculous lines or taking part in snort-inducing sight gags.
"We have to get multiple takes, for sure. You can't crack at all. At least on Parks, I don't know, sometimes, Aziz [Ansari] would crack himself up and it would be OK. For this, it's not OK. We have to be as straight possible. It's very technical."
The entire 10-episode first season of Angie Tribeca is to premiere commercial-free Sunday on TBS. The cable-television network will then air 10 subsequent, single-episode seasons on Mondays after that, starting Jan. 25. Guest stars will include Bill Murray, Gary Cole, Adam Scott, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong.
"It's just nuts. They did a great job casting the show," Jones noted. "Jere Burns, he is a classic. He's been working for years. He is such a professional. He's so funny. He just nails everything. When I watch the show, I'm like,'I can't even believe how much he brings to the show.' So, we have this deep, deep bench of regulars and then we just begged and pleaded as many people as we could to come be stupid with us. The thing is it makes me look better -- or worse -- depending. But I think better to be surrounded by all of these crazy, talented people. So, I am thrilled."
So, was it difficult for Jones to commit to another series after spending nearly a decade between The Office and Parks and Rec?
"It was a little weird. I definitely called Mike Schur, who is one of my oldest friends and also my ex-boss, the creator of Parks, and Amy and I just wanted to make sure it was OK because, I don't know, it felt weird because Parks is my family," Jones said. "They always will be."
"There is nothing like it on television," Burns told UPI in a separate Angie Tribeca roundtable. "It's sort of Naked Gun, but it looks like CSI."
The 61-year-old, Massachusetts-born actor, who is known for his work on the TV shows Dear John, Burn Notice and Justified, said he didn't need much time to consider whether he wanted to co-star in Angie Tribeca.
"Steve and Nancy Carell wrote it. I'd never read anything like it. But the great thing about a big, stupid comedy like this, it can also get dark. What they've done so beautifully, is they have also given it heart," he emphasized.
"And that's hard to do. So, it's got some heart and all the big, stupid comedy is played deadly serious. ... Lots of physical comedy. An enormous amount of physical comedy, but there is no laugh track and it looks like a movie."