In the spring of 2020, my family found solace in Brooklyn. At Neuf-Neuf.
Brooklyn nine-nine premiered in 2013 – a heartfelt sitcom about a New York City police station starring Andy Samberg as the funny and affable Jake Peralta – a somewhat immature but brilliant detective. Not really my cup of tea, I thought at the time, although I was slightly amused by the two or three episodes I watched on the flights. (Oh damn, do you remember the flights?)
When Fox canceled the show in 2018 after five seasons, fans protested – and NBC stepped in and resumed the series. Perhaps it was this strong fan response that led me to hit play on Netflix, as I searched for something early in the pandemic to calm, distract, and entertain my 11-year-old – and myself. .
The series begins as the 99th Precinct has a new captain, Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher). A serious intellectual who seems poles apart from Jake, he nonetheless becomes a father figure for the group – especially for Jake and his colleague Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero). Under Holt is Terry Jeffords (America has talent host Terry Crews), a bodybuilding, yogurt-loving and sweet-hearted dad to twin daughters, Cagney and Lacey. Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) is super knowledgeable and rock hard (at least on the outside); Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) is Jake’s greedy and devoted partner. Hitchcock and Scully (Dirk Blocker, Joel McKinnon Miller) are cop partners, best friends and disaster. The only non-detective in the group is Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), Holt’s social media obsessed civil servant who thinks she is responsible (and sort of is).
My son and I watched our way through seven seasons, laughing at the goofy antics and getting emotionally invested in the lives of the characters. Jake’s dad is in trouble. Gina’s confident narcissistic wisdom. Jake and Amy’s chemistry. Captain Holt’s love for classical music, her teacher husband, Kevin Cozner, and their dog, Cheddar.
(Spoilers for the first seven seasons follow, so stop reading if you don’t want to know.) I cried at Jake and Amy’s wedding. And during Gina’s farewell episode, when Amy refused to burn the scrapbook she made containing Gina’s best tweets. And watch the last scene of season 7, with Jake, Amy and baby.
Which brings us to this week. Season 8, the final season, will begin on August 12.
I’ve spent time in the real world thinking about what will happen – and what I would like to happen – to these characters. Fictional men and women that I have come to know and love. (Title of my sex tape.)
The Season 8 trailer offers some clues. Gina – who left in Season 6 because her talents were wasted at the Nine-Nine – appears in the trailer, as does the bizarre but lovable ex-cop and undercover detective Adrian Pimento (Jason Mantzoukas). Holt sends a text that could end his career (“a portrait of a digital phallus”). Charles becomes nostalgic, Jake cries. I did it too.
Jake is obsessed with Die hard and I wish a guest appearance by Bruce Willis. I imagine Willis stepping in to offer advice to Jake and Amy as they struggle with new parenthood. Okay, any marriage advice from Bruce Willis? Hmmm. Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool.
There will be one epic final Halloween Heist, a highlight of the annual series – although I personally get quite stressed out watching them. (Those who paid attention would have noticed that the heist of Season 7, which ended at Easter 2020 – would have hit COVID-19; Jake and Amy’s baby was born too, a few episodes later.)
I imagine Charles leaving the police to open his own restaurant – despite the food truck disaster of Season 5. His son, Nikolaj, will help him every now and then, while Charles teaches customers how to pronounce his name correctly. Hitchcock and Scully will retire and be regulars. Or, better yet, they’ll have a stash of cash and become investors in Charles’s culinary business.
Will Rosa and Pimento reunite and start a crazy life together? Will Rosa rule the world? She should.
I have very high hopes for Terry and especially Holt. The show has sensitively dealt with real-world issues – undocumented Americans, infertility, being LGBTQ. There was a great episode in season 4 that dealt with racial profiling and the treatment of black Americans by the police. Crews has indicated in an interview that this final season will address the issues surrounding the murder of George Floyd.
This is where I want Terry and Holt, who are both black, to make a difference. Holt has wanted to be a commissioner for years. And while the logical happy ending would be for him to get this job (and Amy to get his), I want more for him. I want him to quit the force and run for office. Holt could make a real difference in America.
As I prepare for Season 8, I have reviewed some of my favorite episodes and scenes. The missing Thanksgiving pie case. NutriBoom. Jake and Holt under witness protection at Coral Palms, the epic Florida Rosa salon date. The t-shirts from Holt’s souvenir shop on Jake and Amy’s honeymoon. The gender revealing cake. Holt and Terry Push it dance routine.
And my favorite cold opens: Nikolaj’s monster in the closet. Hitchcock and Scully congratulating each other on being the first people in the office – on the day of the fumigation. that of Jacques I want it this way police programming – one of the best 66 seconds of television ever.
I look forward to more laughs and of course more tears. Their, mine.
Cool cool. Boom boom. Nine-nine!
Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Register now today.