The time has finally come: Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns this February for its 7th season, which means I’m a television viewer once again.
I’m a complete disaster when it comes to faithfully watching a television show, especially those that have garnered cult level following. So, when I fall for a show, I fall hard. Like watch-it-live-with-commercials hard.
Starting Thursday nights, I will endure insipid car commercials and Bud Light ads just for the 99th precinct and their comedy hijinks. How did Brooklyn Nine-Nine break through my walls and inspired my rare unyielding devotion?
Sure, the comedy does have the sharp wit that you would come to expect from creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur, whose combined credits include The Office, Parks and Recreation, and The Good Place. In fact, I would cash out my entire retirement plan to be a fly on the wall in the writer’s room just to hear them come up with storylines and dialogue that are the stuff GIFs (and this brilliant soundboard) are made of. Of course, the chemistry and camaraderie of the cast is palpable on screen, making me just want to be included in a cast text message chain.
All of these reasons are why you should watch B99. However, what makes me love Brooklyn Nine-Nine goes beyond the comedy. The show doesn’t skirt around sensitive, topical issues like sexual harassment and racial profiling. Rather, it addresses them head first and does so in a way that doesn’t forsake both intelligence and empathy for comedy. We’re told, “It’s okay to have a laugh, but we also want you to think or even challenge what you believe.”
Prepare for spoilers in 3, 2, (You’ve Been Warned) 1…
Last we left Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the precinct was in a state of upheaval. Although Detective Jake Peralta and crew outed regressive Police Commissioner John Kelly, the team suffered the consequences: the demotion of beloved Captain Holt by his nemesis, interim Police Commissioner Madeline Wuntch. Our brave boys and girls in blue may have won the battle, but they lost the war. However, this is the Nine-Nine, and judging by the new trailer, our crew won’t be down for long.
With its 7th season premiering soon and an 8th season already confirmed, it’s the perfect time for a good old-fashioned binge. However, 130 episodes may seem a little daunting and you do, hopefully, have a life. Whether you’re a B99 veteran like me or a rookie, here’s my completely unsolicited but quintessential Brooklyn Nine-Nine short list.
Julie’s Must See B99 Episodes
S1 Ep 1: “Pilot”
Ah! They were such babies back then. A must watch if you’ve never seen the show and definitely worth the revisit if you’re a veteran. Brooklyn Nine-Nine begins with a cold open that introduces us to the brilliant but immature Detective Jake Peralta and the meticulous Detective Amy Santiago. We meet the rest of the crew, watch the precinct work together to solve a case, and have more than a few laughs along the way.
All Seasons: The Halloween Heists
It all started with a little bet: if Jake could steal Captain Holt’s Medal of Valor by midnight on Halloween, he would be crown the ultimate detective/genius. Every season, the show has held their anticipated “Halloween Heist,” where the detectives outsmart and outmaneuver each other all for the coveted title of the “Ultimate Detective/Human/Genius.” There’s never been a repeat winner, and the plans grow more and more elaborate.
Best “Halloween Heist?” Season 5’s “HalloVenn,” which didn’t have an official winner but had the best heist twist in the show’s history.
S2 E23: “Johnny and Dora”
Since the first season, it’s easy to see that Jake and Amy are the show’s OTP. They’re opposite in every way, fiercely competitive with one another, and pretty much embody every romance trope we love. So, when the two go undercover as an engaged couple, we’re rooting for the Fake Couple Trope to end in a HEA.
S4 E16: “Moo Moo”
Remember what I mentioned about why I love this show so much? This is that episode.
Sergent Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) is the precinct’s resident Papa Bear. He’s freakishly strong, has a heart of gold, loves all things yogurt, and speaks in the third person. Unfortunately in “Moo Moo,” Terry becomes the target of police profiling in his own neighborhood. In an honest and real moment, we are privy to not only Terry’s pain, frustration, and embarrassment, but to those who have been the target of police profiling in real life:
“When I got stopped the other day, I wasn’t a cop. I wasn’t a guy in the neighborhood looking for his daughter’s toy. I was a black man – a dangerous black man. That’s all he could see: a threat. And I couldn’t stop thinking about my daughters – and their future – and how years from now, they could be walking down the street, looking for their kid’s Moo Moo, and get stopped by a bad cop. And they probably won’t get to play the police card to get out of trouble. I don’t like that thought.”
S5 E20: “Show Me Going”
Where as “Moo Moo” tackles the issue of racial profiling, “Show Me Going” takes on the all too prevalent problem of gun violence in America. During an active shooter crisis, the team listens to a police scanner, hearing random police officers report their badge numbers followed by, “Show me going,” a signal that they are in the area and reporting to the scene. Suddenly, we hear the 99’s own Detective Rosa Diaz on the scanner and the squad quickly realizes that one of their own may not be coming back. The episode is packed with palpable tension, with each person dealing with their feelings of helplessness and fear in their own way. Yes, there are a few laughs in the this episode, but the comedic moments do not undercut the weight of this issue.
S6 E4: “Four Movements”
Although I love the entire ensemble, one of the best characters on the show, if not on television today, is Gina Linetti. The civilian administrator is narcissistic, freakishly perceptive, intimidating, lives her life out loud, and is the subject of many worthy GIFs:
Prior to the premiere of the 6th season, actress Chelsea Peretti announced that she would be retiring from the force and leaving the show midyear, giving us only a few more precious episodes with our favorite civilian. In “Four Movements” the team and audience said farewell to Gina, who in turn created an entire production of her final days at the 99th precinct, culminating in the most Gina Linetti-style goodbye that would make her idols – Beyonce and Rihanna – proud.
S6 E8: “He Said, She Said”
Last summer, when I had the chance to interview the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (humble brag), I knew that I had to ask about the filming of “He Said, She Said,” which premiered in the middle of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the MeToo movement. Directed by cast member Stephanie Beatriz (Rosa Diaz), the episode centers around Amy and Jake investigating a sexual assault case. The victim is hesitant to come forward, fearing retaliation. As the case unfolds, Amy finds herself revisiting her own experiences with unwanted sexual advances and in one of the best moments of this entire show, opens up to Jake in a way that is honest and raw to watch. As a result, those of us who have experienced sexual assault, unwanted advances, and harassment find ourselves connecting to the moment and this character, understanding her choices, conflict, and her motivation for seeing this case to the end.
Before you watch “He Said, She Said,” please understand that it does not have a simple, cohesive conclusion. In fact, the victim doesn’t come out in the end having “won.” To be honest, I appreciated that this episode didn’t have an easy ending because, like “Moo Moo,” this issue isn’t going to be simply solved in 30 minutes. What we do have in the end, however, is hope and the acknowledgement that even if it is painful and difficult, speaking your truth will inspire others and create change.
And that’s how we do it in the Nine-Nine.
Are you ready for Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s premiere? What are your favorite episodes?
Julie believes great books should be read more than once and prides herself on finding the "dirty part" in any romance novel under a minute. Loves red wine but loves it more when shared with friends. Has an (embarrassingly) extensive knowledge about all things Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. Is currently curating the perfect playlists that ALWAYS include a song from one of the Twilight soundtracks.