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Night Court's Melissa Rauch and Marsha Warfield Celebrate the Return of Roz
After 31 years away from a Judge Stone courtroom, actress Marsha Warfield returns to reprise her role of Roz Russell in the Night Court Season 2 premiere.
On a late spring day last year at the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank, California, Night Court executive producer and series lead, Melissa Rauch, was standing off camera during the live studio audience taping of the Season 1 finale, titled "The Honorable Dan Fielding, Part 2." It was the last scene of the episode, and she was bristling with excitement at getting to witness a true TV history moment: the return of actress Marsha Warfield to her beloved role of Rosalind "Roz" Russell in the revival.
The moment was born out of Rauch's long-held hope, and efforts as the show's executive producer, to woo the only other surviving member of the original Night Court cast into their creative sandbox, much like she did in getting John Larroquette to reprise his signature character of Dan Fielding as a co-lead.
Welcome back the legendary Marsha Warfield (a.k.a Roz!) to Night Court
Rauch recently told NBC Insider, "I think that moment in the studio audience was one of my favorite moments ever at a live taping of a show. Watching Marsha come out and seeing her stand across from John, I had tears streaming down my face."
Rauch also observed the audience — many who are fans of the original series and frequently attend the tapings — and was delighted in their reactions too. "I looked over to see some of the people that I knew had been fans of the original and this guy did a double take," she said of when Warfield appeared in Fielding's courtroom. "I saw him grab the person next to him and say, 'Look, it's Marsha!' Watching the audience, there was such electricity in the air."
She continued, "It was such a dream of dreams to have her on the show. It was very hard to keep it secret, especially as we started to do press for the show. With people asking, 'Anyone you think of having back?' I so badly wanted to tell them, but we also wanted to keep that moment."
How Marsha Warfield made her way back to showbiz and Night Court
While Roz's appearance served as the big cliffhanger to end the season, Warfield and her character really get to shine in the Season 2 premiere, "The Roz Affair," (available to stream now on Peacock). In the episode, Roz gets to catch up with Dan, reveal some important things about her life now and facilitate Dan's return to New York City. Through it all, Warfield makes Roz's return feel seamless. And that's not so small feat, considering the actress and stand-up comedian left performing behind two decades ago.
Warfield told NBC Insider that she relocated to Las Vegas and just lived her life there for 20-years. "I didn't do any show business," she confirmed. "But in 2015, I started dipping back into doing open mics and stuff. And then I committed to doing it all over again, starting all over again."
Asked if there was any fear in starting over, Warfield said outside of nervous "butterflies," there wasn't. "A lot of people my age stop seeing the future and stop looking forward to it and I'm so the opposite," she shared. "I'm looking forward to every new experience."
Asked how she first heard Night Court was returning to television, Warfield said she found out via social media. "Other people were very opinionated and excited about it and kept saying that they thought I should come back," she said. "I was like, 'That's flattering, and thank you. But it's a new show so let them do their thing.'"
A few months into Season 1, Warfield was asked by Rauch and the executive producers if she would help them close their first season on a high note with a cameo appearance as Roz that would lead into the second season premiere. She accepted and literally went back to work on the same sets for a show with the same premise, and a familiar co-star in Larroquette.
And for Warfield, this was a far more welcome reunion to have with her former co-star. "We had seen each other, unfortunately, at Markie [Post's] Memorial and at Harry [Anderson's]," she said of the last times she saw Larroquette. "So walking on set, it was nice, even though we're gray-haired people."
Roz's big return for Season 2, Episode 1 ("The Roz Affair") airs January 2 at 8/7 on NBC and next day on Peacock
"The Roz Affair" brings Roz back with her signature deadpan delivery, biting sarcasm that gives Fielding a run for his money, and empathetic wisdom. Warfield said she was so pleased that she immediately recognized the character on the page.
"They nailed her," the actress said of the new show's writing of Roz. "And I they they've got a really good handle on what made Night Court special. Dan's gruff, grizzly bear, marshmallow interior thing is perfect. But Melissa, I think, is the heart. People don't really give Night Court enough credit for its heart. The heart of Night Court was really what made it relatable."
With Roz's place in the series left open-ended — though currently she's only confirmed to be in this one episode — we asked if she had a dream scenario for her character's return. In a Roz moment of perfection, Warfield deadpanned humorously, "I think [she and Dan] should be lovers and adopt a child."
In the meantime, Warfield is back to traveling the stand-up circuit. "I'm putting together my own, one woman stand-up special called The Book of Marsha. So I'm having a ball. And I can't see stopping for any reason that I know of right now."