New Spiritual Detective Show Spotlights Local Digs

One thing you’ll notice about new crime TV show “The Calling” is its setting: haunting and neon-tinged by night, densely populated by subdivided brownstones. As it happens Matthew Tinker, the show’s co-executive producer, says he was precisely in search of a dark, unretouched neighborhood vibe when they decided to shoot the show around Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and Williamsburg.

Tinker says his choice to side-step Manhattan had as much to do with feeling burned out from watching other cop shows as in wanting to convey an “authentic, grittier vibe than what might otherwise exist in a more polished part of the city.”

He’s mostly known for working on shows like “Big Little Lies,” but Tinker says he decided to go for a raw and atmospheric approach when putting together a show that pulled from the crime novels of an Israeli writer named Dror Mishani. Mishani’s hero, Avraham Avraham is an NYPD investigator, played in the show by Jeff Wilbusch, recently on the HBO show “Oslo.”

Jeff Wilbusch plays Avraham Avraham (right), who is called to hang onto his underlying spirituality to bring about his innate, almost predictive sense of the human condition. Juliana Canfield (left), mostly known for playing a minor character on HBO’s “Succession,” plays fellow detective Janine Harris.
Michael Mosley, most remembered from the final season of “Scrubs,” plays Detective Earl Malzone. “There’s now a Trader Joe’s everywhere we used to be scared to walk,” Mosley tells us.
“Brooklyn, with its liveliness and its noise and its energy, definitely becomes a character of the show,” Wilbusch says about his time playing a spiritual detective.

In the show, Wilbusch’s character is largely seen around the neighborhood, always hanging onto his underlying spirituality to bring about his innate, almost predictive sense of the human condition.

“Brooklyn, with its liveliness and its noise and its energy, definitely becomes a character of the show,” Wilbusch told me. When not absorbing it all during his regularly walks over the Williamsburg Bridge in his off-hours, the Israel-born Wilbusch said he often found himself at 12 Chairs, a casual neighborhood spot near there, known for its all-day breakfasts and rustic Israeli cuisine.

Juliana Canfield, mostly known for playing Kendall Roy’s assistant on another HBO show, “Succession,” plays Wilbusch’s fellow detective Janine Harris. A Brooklyn transplant herself, she told me “the city is like a nesting doll. There’s always some new version of it waiting inside the one you already know.” She says her favorite Williamsburg spot is Court Street Grocers, where she applauded its “simply genius” lox sandwich, layered with potato chips.

Shooting In Brooklyn was a return home for once-”Scrubs” actor Michael Mosley, who plays another detective on the show named Earl Malzone. 

“There’s now a Trader Joe’s everywhere we used to be scared to walk,” Mosley told me. But one of the new favorite local spots is the Bushwick club Company XIV, where he’d catch the aerial burlesque shows.

“The Calling” is now streaming on Peacock.


Top image taken from “The Calling.”

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