Emmy contender spotlight: Bill Hader shines on ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ season premiere

On Sunday’s third season premiere of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Bill Hader stole the show with a wild one-off guest spot by him as the episode’s eponymous “New Captain” and it could be Hader’s next Emmy-nominated performance. His character, Seth Dozerman, replaces Capt. Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), who was reassigned in the second season finale from the 99th precinct of the New York Police Department to a public relations post under Deputy Chief. Madeline Wuntch, a recurring role that is reprised this week by Kyra Sedgwick.

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Despite winning Best Comedy Series and Actor for Andy Samberg at its first Golden Globes, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has been snubbed by the Emmys save for Supporting Actor bids by Braugher and Stunt Coordination. But Hader might be enough of an academy favorite to overcome the apathy.

Between performing on “Saturday Night Live” and producing “South Park”, Hader has seven Emmy nominations to date, including a 2009 win for Best Animated Program. He was nominated for hosting “SNL” this year in Best Comedy Guest Actor, losing to Bradley Whitford of “Transparent”, who will be eligible again on that show this season. Might Hader come out on top in the same category for this fresh turn?

He is more widely recognized after his leading role in Amy Schumer’s blockbuster comedy “Trainwreck” and this “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” role returns him to his roots, as he acts opposite former fellow “SNL” cast member Samberg.

As the pompous captain, Hader commands five minutes of the episode’s 22. Director Michael Schur stages his four scenes simply and writer Matt Murray makes the most of him. Unlike the regular staffers that sit at their desks in the background of scenes (and provide Easter egg visual gags — keep an eye on Joel McKinnon Miller), Dozerman dominates the screen when he appears.

He opens the episode with a speech about his management style — his motto is “efficiency, efficiency, efficiency” — and he delivers similarly explosive speeches later, complete with his self-described “amazing sense of humor.” There is even pathos as Dozerman shares personal details in his unpredictable speeches. This is a commanding and loud scenery-chewing performance with maniacal laughing and physical comedy that remains top-of-mind even when Hader disappears for stretches because Dozerman’s arrival drives the narrative and characters frequently discuss him. His voice and visage even pop up around the office digitally for a running gag.

Photo: Bill Hader in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Credit: Fox 

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