Punch & duty

Tony Danza on giv­ing back - and com­ing back - in Net­flix The Good Cop

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page - writes David Med­dows

TONY Danza isn’t ready to hang up the gloves just yet.

The for­mer boxer-turned-ac­tor, who shot to fame in the 1980s as the star of sit­coms Taxi and

Who’s The Boss?, is mak­ing his TV re­turn along­side singer Josh Groban in Net­flix dram­edy The Good Cop.

Danza plays dis­graced for­mer NYPD de­tec­tive Tony Caruso Sr who was kicked off the force for be­ing a dirty cop. Groban is his son and house­mate, Tony Jr, the straight­est, by-the-book homi­cide de­tec­tive.

It’s a pretty straight­for­ward premise, with the love­able ex- cop pitch­ing in to help his boy at ev­ery avail­able op­por­tu­nity.

It’s more com­edy than drama, with Monk cre­ator Andy Breck­man, the brains be­hind the se­ries, adding ex­tra quirk.

Not content with sit­ting back and en­joy­ing the spoils of a suc­cess­ful ca­reer, 67-year- old Danza jumped at the chance to play yet an­other Tony.

“I’m get­ting to the point where some peo­ple should sit back and watch the park,” he tells TV Guide, “but I’ll be hon­est with you, I haven’t had this much fun act­ing since Who’s The Boss?.”

That’s say­ing a lot given he’s ap­peared in dozens of shows since the pop­u­lar com­edy wrapped in 1992.

He’s also rel­ish­ing the chance to work with rel­a­tive new­comer Groban, who he’s em­braced like his own son.

Danza had his el­dest child Marc at just 19 and re­mains close to the now 47-year- old. “When hav­ing a young kid doesn’t mess up two lives, it re­ally makes for a great re­la­tion­ship,” he laughed. “I sort of took that re­la­tion­ship and over­laid it on Josh and I.”

While Groban has had a steady run of guest ap­pear­ances on shows such as Ally McBeal, The Of­fice and the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love, this is his first lead­ing role.

The el­der of this odd cou­ple was sur­prised by how well his younger co- star took to the role.

“I wrote him an email and said ‘ I just want to tell you how im­pressed I am with your work and your work ethic. I don’t pre­sume to be the best judge, but I’m hav­ing a great time work­ing with you.’ He’s one of those guys who knows his lines, he comes in pre­pared, he’s al­ways there and you look in his eyes and you know he’s not think­ing of his lines ... he’s ac­tu­ally with you, so it’s a great thing. It’s re­ally fun to work with him.”

While Danza has been sing­ing for years (in­clud­ing this show’s theme song), it’s re­ally Groban’s area of ex­per­tise; mark­ing a role re­ver­sal in The Good Cop.

A stunt­man was called in on one par­tic­u­larly ag­gres­sive scene involving Groban, one that Danza was keen to ob­serve.

“I thought ‘ wow, that guy’s great, he even looks like Josh.’ So then Josh came down and he did the scene bet­ter than the stunt­man. It was bizarre – he was fight­ing, get­ting knocked down. It was per­fect.”

Soon af­ter he got a call from a friend who pointed out the switch in roles. “He said ‘ Hey Tony, do you re­alise you’re on a show with Josh Groban – you’re sing­ing and he’s fight­ing,’” he says, laugh­ing.

Danza rel­ishes his role as a men­tor – not just to Groban but to his com­mu­nity in gen­eral. While he dis­misses the whole ‘giv­ing back bulls—t,’ he’s been help­ing many kids stay on track around New York.

He started the Po­lice Ath­letic League act­ing classes that are at­tached to precincts around the dif­fer­ent bor­oughs of NY.

He was ini­tially asked to teach box­ing but thought there would be more value in shar­ing the se­crets of his pro­fes­sion in­stead.

“When you teach a kid how to act, you teach a kid how to act,” he says.

“We started with 12 kids up in Har­lem and we now have over 200 kids.”

A few years ago he also went to a school in one of the rougher parts of Philadel­phia to teach English for a cou­ple of terms.

While part of the ex­pe­ri­ence was filmed for a TV show, he stayed on to fin­ish out the year with­out a cam­era in sight.

His time in that school opened his eyes to the plight of chil­dren in his own coun­try and how far ed­u­ca­tion stan­dards had fallen since he was a child.

“I just don’t un­der­stand. The thing that made this coun­try great was that we had this great pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion. Don’t get me wrong, thou­sands of mir­a­cles hap­pen in pub­lic schools ev­ery day but it’s done with­out many re­sources, it’s just so much harder to be a kid than it was. It’s tough.”

Come­back: Sit­com sta­ple Tony Danza (right) makes his TV re­turn along­side singer Josh Groban in the Net­flix dram­edy TheGoodCop.

THE GOOD COP STREAM­ING ON NET­FLIX FROM FRI­DAY, SEPTEM­BER 21

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