Marsha Warfield, bailiff Roz Russell on ‘Night Court,’ returns to the show that has a ‘big heart’
NEW YORK — Fans of the rebooted hit NBC sitcom “Night Court” might have been forgiven for tuning in all season long and asking “Where’s Roz?”
Roz Russell – played by comedian Marsha Warfield – was the salty, no-nonsense bailiff alongside Bull Shannon who had a world-weary view of the shenanigans in the courtroom during the show’s original run from 1984 to 1992.
But Roz wasn’t in the reboot that aired at the top of 2023. John Larroquette as prosecutor Dan Fielding was the only full-time cast member to return.
So fans were excited when Roz popped up in the season one finale, surprising Fielding as a defendant. “Roz?!” he exclaimed in disbelief. Seconds later, the screen went dark.
The reboot has been spearheaded by Melissa Rauch, a former star of “The Big Bang Theory” who is the new night court judge and the sunshine to Larroquette’s gloom.
The revival earned the highest ratings for a comedy series on the network since 2017. Season two begins Tuesday with Warfield’s Roz with a lot of explaining to do.
She talked to The Associated Press about the show, why it became so popular and what it felt like to be back on the set.
WARFIELD: Yes and no, but not really. I’m pretty good at keeping secrets, and especially when your job depends on it. I can pretty much handle that.
WARFIELD: I knew when they were talking about a reboot, in the way they were talking about it, being involved was not necessarily going to happen. That was OK. I wished them all the best from day one. You know, if they asked, I’d be happy to do it. But if they don’t ask, I understand. So it was a pleasant surprise to get the call.
WARFIELD: I was only signed for one show and they were saying they didn’t know what they were going to do with the role since the last two bailiffs had passed on. They didn’t know if they were going to have revolving bailiffs or no bailiff or would just leave it to Bull or what. And so when I got the gig, it was just the one and I had no expectations.
WARFIELD: An ensemble part on a Top 10 show? It was wonderful for me.
WARFIELD: “Night Court” had a big heart. It was wacky. It was zany. It was misogynist. It was awkward. It was all of that. It was burlesque. But underneath it all was the heart of a puppy.
WARFIELD: Yes, Melissa brings that same kind of heart to this project. This is a love thing. This is not just, “Oh, we can make money doing this.” She loves this show. The people involved love the show and they love doing it. We did, too.
WARFIELD: It was like it was like going back to your prom when you’re in your 70s.
WARFIELD: Pretty much, yeah, sure. I’ve done other things that have fortunately had positive responses 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 fond memories. They also have memories not so much for themselves, but they have memories of being with their family. They’re like, ’I used to sneak and watch with my brother” or “My dad used to let me stay up and watch it.” So it’s the memories that they have of their families and the times they spent with people they cared about.
WARFIELD: If it’s up to me, yeah, I’m back next week. But it ain’t up to me. So if they call me, I’d be more than happy to. If they don’t, again, I wish them all the best. I have no expectations, but I have tremendous affection for the show and I would be honored.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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