By: Stefanie Baltasar
One of the reasons I love the cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine (B99) is that it has a truly diverse cast of characters. They don’t throw in stereotypical characters for the sake of diversity like many other shows do — they round out their ensemble. The personalities may not be completely realistic, but they’re definitely not stereotypical.
For example, Raymond Holt (played by Andre Braugher), a gay, black police captain, has one of the most delightful personalities I’ve had the pleasure of watching, and he’s just one of many three-dimensional characters on the show. Holt is a stoic, overly serious man with a loving husband and a dog named Cheddar. His father-like relationship with another detective, Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), is one which gradually develops and deepens over the course of the show. Nearly all the characters’ interpersonal relationships undergo growth, from romantic ones to friendships — a great example of the latter being one between a guy and, gasp, a girl that doesn’t become what you might expect.
There isn’t an overarching, on-the-run criminal the characters are trying to hunt down (unless you count Doug Judy, a Pontiac thief), but what really makes the episodes fun are the characters interacting with each other. On of my favourite interactions is between badass motorcyclist Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) and the desk jockeys Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker). Recurring themes, such as the Halloween episodes, are also something viewers can look forward to. There’s a lot of consistency between episodes, such as characters who, despite undergoing a change in a previous episode, still act in-character and naturally let the change become part of their persona.
Although B99 is a cop comedy at heart, it doesn’t shy away from addressing more serious topics like racism and homophobia. These topics come up naturally in episodes, and the way B99 handles them is admirable. I’d like to address that the next sentence is (sort of) a spoiler for season 5. There’s a character who comes out as bisexual to their family, and while the family’s response is not one of acceptance, the cops with whom the character works accept their sexuality. I really loved that episode because it showed how much of a family the characters had become.
All-in-all, I adore this show and the fact that they actually address both negative and positive attitudes towards different ethnicities and sexualities through the show’s characters. These are the issues being addressed today, so they belong in the cop comedy made for our generation. If you are looking for a serious show, something more along the lines of Bones or Law & Order, then this is probably not for you. But if you’re like me and enjoy light-hearted comedy with really good serious moments, then this is definitely the show for you.