‘LA’s Finest’ is an extension of the ‘Bad Boys’ franchise (directed by Michael Bay and later, by Adil & Bilall) that is known for its stylish action sequences exhibiting finesse. The show picks up with Syd Burnett (Gabrielle Union), Marcus Burnett’s (Martin Lawrence) sister from the ‘Bad Boys’ series, partnering with Nancy McKenna (Jessica Alba) as they work cases together in the Los Angeles Police Department. They’re both competent, skilled, and pleasant on-screen, but the plot entwines them in a complicated mix of secrets that roughen the smooth edges of this thrilling dynamic.
The story is further pulled together by wild car chase scenes, bodies knocked here and there, and an unforgettable whim of a helicopter slicing through the air just over the Hollywood sign. As with all stories involving crime, it is instinctive to wonder whether they are based on true stories, be it ‘Mindhunter‘ or ‘True Detective.’ Although ‘LA’s Finest’ delineates crime through a filter of comedy, the reality of its origins still poses a question mark. Is it based on a true story? Let’s find out.
Is ‘LA’s Finest’ Based on a True Story?
No, ‘LA’s Finest’ is not based on a true story. It is an original screenplay by Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier. The show is ideologically a fragment of the ‘Bad Boys’ franchise, created by George Gallo. Syd Burnett’s story crosses over from the original franchise to ‘LA’s Finest,’ as she moves to Los Angeles and teams up with Nancy McKenna: a happily married wife and stepmother of a slightly disturbed teenager.
As is standard in all ‘Bad Boys’ films, the show juxtaposes comedy and crime. Every grave situation is met with a distinctive style of well-timed jokes and one-liners. Union and her manager conveyed the idea of reviving Syd’s character in a new series to Jerry Bruckheimer (producer of ‘Bad Boys II’), who showed instant approval. He was excited to produce an entire show revolving around Syd, as a result of which the show’s production was partially taken over by his production company, Jerry Bruckheimer Television.
Union had more ideas in store about the cast. She believed that her good friend, Jessica Alba, would best portray the role of an effortlessly suave action chick. She saw her as a cool person who is easily approachable and has a funny bone that is quite charming. Alba, likewise, was looking to make a comeback in Hollywood, and she had discussed many possibilities with Bruckheimer even before the idea of ‘LA’s Finest’ took hold.
Hence, things fell into place, and she returned to the industry with fervent enthusiasm. Alba also had her hopes pinned on the show for its depiction of two women as the lead characters, which might initiate a positive impact. She wanted to influence the business to progressively acknowledge women past 30 who are stepping into the action genre. She wanted equality in terms of gender roles depicted in cinema, mainly when an action series is led by female protagonists.
As series leads and (two out of the many) executive producers, Union and Alba wanted their characters to reflect parts of their individual identities. Alba’s character is a stepmother, which is roughly based on Union’s personal experiences. As she stated in an interview, the journey of being a stepparent is attributed to striking a balance between responsibilities. That is what McKenna is fundamentally about, while Syd is more of a free bird.
Read More: Where Is LA’s Finest Filmed?