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Andy Samberg's 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' character inspired by 'The Wire'

Andy Samberg is on a new Fox comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."
Actor Andy Samberg at the Television Critics Association summer press tour for his new Fox comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."Frederick M. Brown / Today

Andy Samberg's family knew he was funny when he was an infant and relieved himself in a bathtub, then laughed hysterically about it. 

"My sister started squealing and laughing and I started laughing hysterically," Samberg said told reporters at the Television Critics Association's press tour Thursday for his first post-"Saturday Night Live" TV show, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which premieres on Fox on Sept. 17. "And my mom said, 'That’s when we knew.' I like to think I haven’t matured in my comedy at all since then."

Samberg, 34, plays a smug and effective detective in the workplace comedy set in a Brooklyn police precinct. Although his character, Jake Peralta, can be goofy, he's also the best detective in the house.

"He's like McNulty from 'The Wire,' except instead of drinking problems and philandering he's being a jackass," Samberg said. "I think it's important for the show to work, because otherwise why do you care? If he’s actually good at it, you can forgive him from being a jackass."

"He's comedy McNulty!" added executive producer Dan Goor.

Samberg said he wasn't looking to become a series regular on a television show. But when "Parks and Recreation" executive producers Goor and Michael Schur, who created "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" in a similar documentary-style format, approached him, he couldn't resist.

"I was not looking to do a TV series at all," Samberg said. "But I’m a huge fan of 'Parks' and I’ve seen what these guys have done with (Amy Poehler), who is basically my hero and idol ... it was too good to pass up."

The diverse cast includes Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Chelsea Peretti and Stephanie Beatriz, who plays a detective and is excited to be one of two Latinas on the show.

"It never happens that you look over and there’s another Latina actress on the same show with you and we’re not doing accents," Beatriz said. "Nobody’s doing anything spicy, you know? It’s amazing, it’s incredible and it does reflect this room and the United States."