Brooklyn 99 is amazing, and if you aren’t watching it you are missing out on the terrific acting, compelling, diverse characters, and hilarious hijinks of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct. Brooklyn 99 is genuinely funny. It is not just puns or stupid humor, it’s recurring character traits and complex, dry wit, and sometimes it is downright bust your sides funny.
When it comes to the cast, what is most startling is that the precinct looks like real life. There are always people at the office who you find gross, don’t do their job, or have weird hobbies, and people who become like family or best friends. In the 99th precinct it’s authentically portrayed and similar to the group you find in every office. With all races, genders, creeds, body types, and intelligence levels, B99 doesn’t pander to what you expect of a comedy cop show OR a comedy from Andy Samberg.
B99 is generally unproblematic in its portrayal of real life. Some episodes focus on ‘second-tier’ characters, but their stories are never treated as less than the main characters. The show shies away from portraying stereotypes that are generally problematic and plain wrong. Two of my favorite characters are Rosa and Amy (Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero). These two women couldn’t be more different in their personalities or what they consider a good time. Their characters are fully formed, interesting, and never boring in the way that women’s stories are relegated to in TV. In fact, the only thing they seem to have in common is both being Latina detectives in NYC.
B99 isn’t making some huge commentary on the nature of people like other cop shows do. They rarely focus on the criminal unless Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) is fulfilling some lifelong quest to get as close to Die Hard as possible. Jake is in fact NONE of the stereotypes we’ve often come to expect from a cop, much less a homicide detective in NYC. Jake is just waiting for the perfect time to use a nickname he thought of three weeks ago, looking for an excuse to blow off work and involve the whole office, or catching the bad guy. He can hold a gun believably, as well as crash a car and spill soup everywhere. Jake treats all his coworkers with respect—even those who seem pretty useless, I’m looking at you Scully.
Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) is the police captain of the 99. He also happens to be black, gay, and in a committed relationship for the last decade or so. He has worked his entire career to get the opportunity to be a captain. His incredibly dry wit and lack of knowledge about anything remotely pop culture related somehow make him seem more realistic than if he was a stodgy old grandpa yelling at the youngins about their phones. His sexuality is not used as the butt of any jokes, it is simply another part of his character.
The 99 is like a family, and it’s by far the most important relationship on the show. Whether they are working together as a duo, trio, or the whole squad, B99 chooses to focus on how different they are and how little that impacts their ability to work together as one unit. B99 doesn’t shy away from the taboo topics and discusses real police issues like misogyny in the workplace. The main focus of the women in the 99 is whether they can do their job, which is essentially important for women working in a predominately male field, and they do it all by making me laugh without making light of the struggle. This seems like a fine line to worry about them crossing, and maybe by writing this down I’m inviting them to make horrible character choices, but I will unapologetically tell you this show is worth the time investment—and you can watch the whole series on Hulu now.
tldr; watch brooklyn-nine nine. you will not regret it.