Nine-nine problems but comedy ain’t one

Investigations, perpetrators, sirens, and drama: all essential components to the American cop show. On today’s television networks, shows like N.C.I.S. and C.S.I. dominate the police and crime genre, keeping up with the intense drama that surrounds the life of police officers, detectives, and other types of law enforcement. But what if the life of a cop wasn’t all intense interrogation scenes and old men brooding over cups of coffee and unbreakable cases? Fox’s Brooklyn Nine Nine broke the mold for the typical cop show when it was released in September 2013, trading in the same boring drama for comedy.

Brooklyn Nine Nine follows the workings and shenanigans of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct in Brooklyn, New York. Starring Andy Samberg as Detective Jake Peralta, the show is full of ridiculous antics and goofy jokes to keep audiences in stitches for the duration of every episode. With his history on Saturday Night Live, I knew immediately that any TV show featuring Samberg was a show I wanted to watch. The more I watched the show, the more I fell in love with the rest of the cast, from Andre Braugher as Captain Raymond Holt to Stephanie Beatriz as Detective Rosa Diaz. I can’t say that I have a favorite character since every single character provides a special touch to the dynamic of the show. Samberg’s and Joe Lo Truglio’s (Detective Charles Boyle) characters provide the quick, silly humor that is essential to the American sitcom, and the plot twists and happenings in the lives of Brooklyn cops and detectives provide just the right amount of drama. The show never feels too funny or too dramatic, and every episode feels fresh and different from the last while still keeping up with the overarching storyline.

One of my favorite things about Brooklyn Nine Nine is the show’s diverse cast. With four main characters played by people of color (two of which being female and two being part of the LGBT community), the show feels more real and accurate in its portrayal of a Brooklyn police precinct. Each of these characters make mention of various struggles faced by people of color, most notably Sergeant Terry Jefford’s (Terry Crews) encounter with police brutality and racial profiling in episode 16 of season 4, “Moo Moo”. The show’s writers, producers, and actors handled the subject of racism with grace and purpose, providing viewers with a representation of something they might not experience in their lives and educating them on the matter through entertainment.

(spoilers ahead!) Another instance of gracefully addressing and handling real-world issues on the show was when Rosa came out as bisexual, starting out only telling a few people on the squad and eventually, in episode 10 of season 5, her parents in “Game Night.” Rosa’s parents, being traditional, Hispanic Catholics, were not thrilled with her news and after a heart wrenching spiel about acceptance from Rosa to her parents, her father eventually came around (with her mother still on the fence) and let Rosa know that he loves her for who she is. This episode provides the type of representation people of color and members of the LGBT community deserve in television, and I am thankful for the work Brooklyn Nine Nine has done to try and achieve such representation.

While I greatly appreciate the serious episodes and the substance they give the series, I am a sucker for the ridiculous moments and knee-slapper jokes of Brooklyn Nine Nine. My favorite episodes of the series are the heist episodes, which all take place on Halloween and involve an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse with everyone in the squad participating. The heists began with “Halloween,” the sixth episode of the first season. What started out as a foolish bet between Detective Peralta and Captain Holt became an annual tradition full of competition, occasional heartfelt moments, and pranks for the whole precinct and audiences to look forward to and enjoy every year.

From witty banter and silly methods of crime-solving to skillful execution of real-world issues on television, Brooklyn Nine Nine is the perfect show for just about any teen or adult, and perfect for binging or sporadically watching random episodes when they come on TV. Brooklyn Nine Nine is available to stream on Hulu and will return after its mid-season finale later this year on Fox.