The Essential Andre Braugher: 5 Defining TV Roles

TV Lists Andre Braugher
Share Tweet Submit Pin
The Essential Andre Braugher: 5 Defining TV Roles

How do you make a show as positively delightful as The Good Fight even better in its final season?

You bring in Andre Braugher as the new partner, Ri’Chard Lane. Fabulously bespectacled and prone to spontaneous prayer, no one could figure out exactly what Ri’Chard was up to—only that he seemed to enjoy being the center of everyone’s universe. “Draw attention to yourself,” he tells Liz’s (Audra McDonald) son. “Only way to make a place for yourself in a world not built for you.”

Braugher has infused the final season of The Good Fight with humor and tension, setting up what could be a final showdown for control of the firm. Watching Braugher work his magic on the Paramount+ drama while simultaneously seamlessly fitting in with the cast, made me reflect on some of his greatest TV roles.

I should note that I didn’t mean for this to turn into a “justice for Andre Braugher” piece, but I was shocked to discover how much of his work isn’t streaming anywhere. It’s an outrage. With so many streaming platforms available, it seems crazy that so many of Braugher’s performances are confined to just a viewer’s memory.

Take a look below at some of Braugher’s most memorable TV roles:

1linebreakdiamond.png

Homicide: Life on the Street

homicide-andre-braugher.jpg

Original Run: 1993-1999 on NBC
Where to Stream: Only available for purchase on DVD
Character: Detective Frank Pembleton

The one that started it all. Yes Braugher, who graduated from Juilliard in 1988, had been acting for a few years (most notably in the movie Glory and the TV revival of Kojak) before he landed the role of Detective Frank Pembleton on Homicide: Life on the Street. But it was his Emmy-winning performance on the seminal drama that still resonates to this day. Baltimore Detective Frank Pembleton simmered with a reserved intensity that could, when you least expect it, reach a righteous indignation crescendo. No one could elicit a confession the way Frank could in the “box.” The first season episode “Three Men and Adena” is widely considered one of the best television episodes of all time. In that tense hour, Frank and his partner Tim Bayliss (Kyle Secor) interrogate Risley Tucker (Moses Gunn) about the murder of 11-year-old Adena Watson. It is one of the rare times Frank can’t get a confession. The unsolved case would haunt Frank through the entirety of the series. The impact of this storyline was so great that more than a quarter of a century later the name “Adena Watson” is seared into my memory. So it is with great sadness that I tell you Homicide isn’t available to stream anywhere. It only appears to be available for purchase on DVD, which makes zero sense. The good news is Shout Factory has the entire series for $95. Writing this story has made me put that on the top of my Christmas list.


Thief

thief-andre-braugher.jpg

Original Run: 2006 on FX
Where to Stream: [Not available]
Character: Nick Atwater

Et tu, FX? Another instance where it is simply outrageous that this show is not only not available to stream, but also not even available on DVD. In a reverse from his career-defining role on Homicide, Braugher flips to the other side of the law to play, as the title might suggest, a master thief capable of pulling off the most elaborate heists with an elite team of burglars. His team starts to fall apart when Nick realizes one of his more trusted members is an addict and that their latest theft has incurred the wrath of a Chinese gang. But Nick’s bigger problems are at home with his 14-year-old step-daughter Tammy (Mae Whitman) who he’s tried to keep in the dark about what he really does for a living. The scenes between Braugher and a pre-Parenthood and Good Girls Whitman are simply extraordinary. I wish that you could see it! I simply don’t understand how this six episode miniseries isn’t on Hulu.


Men of a Certain Age

men-of-a-certain-age.jpg

Original Run: 2009-2011 on TNT
Where to Stream: HBO Max
Character: Owen Thoreau, Jr.

Ah, finally! HBO Max has been dropping so many shows lately, but thankfully this series—which ran for two seasons on TNT—is still streaming. Phew! In this dramedy, Braugher is one of three lifelong friends (the others played by Ray Romano and Scott Bakula) facing mid-life with varying degrees of crises. Braugher’s character Owen is a married car salesman working (begrudgingly) in his father’s business. This was the first time I truly remember seeing the lighter, more comedic side of Braugher. He’s also more vulnerable here as Owen wrestles with his various roles: husband, father, son, friend. His rat-a-tat rapport with Romano and Bakula make the series truly stand out.


Last Resort

last-resort.jpg

Original Run: 2012-2013 on ABC
Where to Stream: Available for purchase on Prime Video, Apple TV and Vudu
Character: Captain Marcus Chaplin

A short-lived ABC series that was canceled after only 13 episodes and not currently streaming anywhere (again I ask, why is this not on Hulu?). This was Braugher returning to his no-nonsense dramatic form. Co-created by Shawn Ryan (The Shield) , the series follows the crew of the USS Colorado who, after failing to follow attack orders, must take refuge on a remote island while fighting to prove their innocence. Here Braugher is the captain in charge with Scott Speedman’s Lieutenant Commander Sam Kendal as his second in command. I’m not going to lie. I maaaayyyy just love this one for the novelty of seeing Braugher and Scott Speedman (once and forever Ben on Felicity and currently romancing Meredith on Grey’s Anatomy) acting opposite each other. The pair made for a great combo and I was sad to see this gem of a show with so much potential canceled so soon.


Brooklyn Nine-Nine

brooklyn-nine-nine-andre-braugher.jpg

Original Run: 2013-2021 on Fox and NBC
Where to Stream: Peacock
Character: Captain Raymond Holt

Noice! This hilarious comedy from Dan Goor and Michael Schur worked so well because it leaned so hard into Braugher’s dramatic reputation while giving viewers a glimpse of his surprising comedic timing. Braugher’s Captain Raymond Holt was so funny because he was the literal straight man among the squad’s increasingly ridiculous antics. In Andy Samberg’s Detective Jake Peralta, Braugher had a great comedic sparring partner. No one does a deadpan like Braugher. As a married gay man, Captain Holt was also groundbreaking. He defied so many stereotypes of how homosexuality had been portrayed on TV. Cool, cool, cool!



Amy Amatangelo, the TV Gal®, is a Boston-based freelance writer and a member of the Television Critics Association. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter (@AmyTVGal).

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.