Q Magazine

Q List: Andre Braugher's Greatest Roles

The acclaimed star of 'Homicide: Life on the Street' and 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' died on Dec. 11 at the age of 61.

wills q template
Source: MEGA

Andre Braugher as Capt. Raymond Holt in the Fox - later NBC - sitcom 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine.'

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

When the news broke on Dec. 11 that actor Andre Braugher had died, the effect was like a punch in the gut. Yes, it was felt particularly profoundly for fans of the classic cop drama Homicide: Life on the Street or the equally-classic cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but Braugher's career, which spanned 35 years when you include his theater work (and why wouldn't you?), was wide-ranging, which meant that the reasons people had fallen in love with his efforts as an actor were equally disparate. Q has assembled a list of a half-dozen such projects, including both films and TV series. The list could've gone on and on, of course, but these selections definitely confirm just what a profound loss the members of the acting community - and their viewers - have suffered.

Article continues below advertisement
wills q template
Source: Shout! Factory

The cast of 'Homicide: Life on the Street,' as pictured on the complete-series set released by Shout! Factory Home Video

1. Cpl. Thomas Searles, Glory (1989)

There is much that can be said about Braugher's film debut in this Civil War drama by Edward Zwick, but the simplest yet most factual way of summing up the strength of his performance is in a single sentence: in a scene that also features both Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, Braugher still makes enough of an impact that viewers were left wondering, "Who is that guy?" In short order, they would know...and, no, not just because he was soon co-starring with Telly Savalas in a series of Kojak TV movies. We're talking, of course, about the next entry on our list.

Article continues below advertisement

2. Det. Frank Pembleton, Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1998)

Yes, Homicide was an ensemble series, but as Frank Pembleton, Braugher's charisma and intensity quickly transformed his character into...not necessarily the central character, but certainly the character most readily identified with the series. (Yes, you could probably argue that John Munch was right up there, but his subsequent jump over to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit dilutes his Homicide connection somewhat.) In addition, his dramatic work on the series made it all that more remarkable to see him offering a comedic cop turn several years later...but we'll get to that.

Article continues below advertisement

3. Marcellus Washington, Hack (2002-2004)

It's not one of his better known roles, but this CBS procedural starred David Morse as Mike Olshansky, a disgraced police officer turned cab driver who still has a penchant for helping people find justice. Assisting him in this endeavor is Marcellus Washington (Braugher), his ex-partner, who perhaps a little too frequently risks his career to help Mike with his off-the-books crime-solving efforts. The series was originally intended predominantly as a star vehicle for Morse, but with Braugher in the mix, the twosome ended up playing together more often than not. Morse has groused in the past about how that wasn't what the series was intended to be, but even after the fact, he told the A.V. Club, "Andre Braugher, I thought, was tremendous, and I thought we told some pretty good stories."

Article continues below advertisement

4.Brent Norton, The Mist (2007)

In Frank Darabont's cinematic adaptation of Stephen King's 1980 novella, Braugher plays the disgruntled neighbor to fellow Bridgton, Maine resident David Drayton (Thomas Jane), but their neighborly squabbles can't hold a candle to what they're soon forced to deal with when a strange mist envelops the town and brings some horrifying new "residents" into the area. As with many of his past projects, Braugher brings an energy to the film that's unlike anyone else around him - and nowhere near the energy being put out by Marcia Gay Harden, but that's a whole other thing - and he delivers a standout performance in the midst of an equally impressive ensemble.

Article continues below advertisement

5. Owen Thoreau, Jr., Men of a Certain Age (2009-2011)

While there might not have been enough men of a certain age watching Men of a Certain Age to keep it on the air as long as it should've been - it was canceled by TNT after only two seasons and 22 episodes - but during the course of its all-too-short run, viewers were treated to a masterclass in acting by Braugher and his two co-stars, Scott Bakula and Ray Romano. Owen was arguably the most relatable character to an average viewer: he was married with kids, he dealt with anxiety on a daily basis, he was diabetic, and he lived in his father's shadow both while working for his father's dealership and even after his father puts him in charge of it. It was a different side of Braugher as an actor, and it was a wonderful weekly spotlight of what he could do in a family drama.

Article continues below advertisement

6. Capt. Raymond Holt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021)

Although it ended its run two years before his death, Braugher's performance in Brooklyn Nine-Nine was so wonderful that it's fair to say that he left us laughing. Taking a cue from the Police Squad! / Naked Gun rule that you can be funny by being completely serious, Braugher got some of the biggest laughs on the series, but he also had as much heart as anyone on the show. That's why this collection of clips added to the official Brooklyn Nine-Nine YouTube channel in the wake of Braugher's death features as many heartstring-pulling moments as it does laughs. In other words, it's a perfect farewell to an amazing performer.


Subscribe to our newsletter

your info will be used in accordance with our privacy policy

Read More