NEW YORK –
Fans of the rebooted hit NBC sitcom “Night Court” One might have been forgiven for listening to the entire season and asking, “Where’s Roz?”
Roz Russell – played by comedian Marsha Warfield – was the salty and pragmatic bailiff alongside Taurus Shannon who had a world-weary view of courtroom shenanigans when the series first aired, from 1984 to 1992.
But Roz wasn't in the reboot that aired in early 2023. John Larroquette as prosecutor Dan Fielding was the only full-time cast member to return.
So fans were excited when Roz appeared in the first season finale, surprising Fielding as the accused. “Roz?!” he exclaimed in disbelief. A few seconds later, the screen went blank.
The reboot was led by Melissa Rauch, a former star of “The Big Bang Theory” who is the new night court judge and the sun in Larroquette's sadness.
The revival achieved the highest ratings for a comedy series on the network since 2017. The second season begins Tuesday with Roz from Warfield with a lot of explaining to do.
She spoke to The Associated Press about the series, why it became so popular and what it was like to be back on set.
AP: Was it difficult to keep your appearance amazing? WARFIELD: Yes and no, but not really. I'm pretty good at keeping secrets, especially when your job depends on it. I can just about handle that.
AP: Were you OK with not being involved in the reboot full-time? WARFIELD: I knew that when they were talking about a reboot, the way they were talking about it, being involved wasn't necessarily going to happen. It was OK. I wished them the best from day one. You know, if they asked, I'd be happy to do it. But if they don't ask me, I understand. So it was a pleasant surprise to receive this call.
AP: Did you expect to stay on the original series this long?WARFIELD: I had only signed on for one series and they said they didn't know what they were going to do with the role since the last two ushers had died. They didn't know if they were going to have rotating bailiffs or no bailiff or if they would just defer to Bull or what. And so when I got the job, it was just that and I had no expectations.
AP: A regular gig must have been nice.WARFIELD: An ensemble part in a Top 10 show? It was wonderful for me.
AP: Why do you think the original struck such a chord?WARFIELD: “Night Court” had a big heart. It was farcical. It was crazy. It was misogynistic. It was embarrassing. It was all that. It was burlesque. But underneath it all was the heart of a puppy.
AP: Does this also apply to reboots?WARFIELD: Yes, Melissa brings the same kind of heart to this project. It's a love story. It's not just about saying, “Oh, we can make money doing this.” She loves this show. The people involved love the show and love doing it. We did it too.
AP: What was it like getting back on set?WARFIELD: It was like going back to your prom when you were 70 years old.
AP: Is Roz the role you are most associated with? WARFIELD: Pretty much, yes, of course. I've done other things that fortunately had positive feedback and all that, but I did “Night Court” for six seasons and so a lot more people saw that and a lot of them now have good memories. They also have memories, not so much for themselves, but more memories of being with their family. They say, “I used to sneak out and watch with my brother” or “My dad used to let me stay up and watch that.” » So these are the memories they have of their family and the moments they spent with the people who were dear to them.
AP: Could you come back?WARFIELD: If it's up to me, yes, I'll be back next week. But it doesn't depend on me. So if they call me, I would be more than happy to do so. If they don't, again, I wish them all the best. I have no expectations, but I have immense affection for the series and would be honored.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits