‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Finds a New Home and New Initiative for Season 6
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is the best New York boro-based ensemble cop comedy since “Barney Miller.” Season six kicks off at NBC after Fox subjected the series to strict stop and frisk policies that left only the last man standing. After the shakedown the Peacock network picked up that they could save money on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” They got so much graft they were able to gift newlyweds detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and officer Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) with a Posadita Bonita, Mexico, “Honeymoon,” which is also the title of the first episode. The trip pays for itself because they used Gina Linetti’s (Chelsea Peretti) travel discount ID, Gina30, for checkout.
Prepared to follow a strict ABC code, Always Be Cocoanuting, Jake and Amy’s idyllic furlough is detained by the unexpected appearance of their boss, Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) in a pink “what’s up bitches” tank top. Holt was up for the New York City Police Commissioner job but lost it to a man who’s policies truly get under his surprisingly soft smooth skin. Holt only wants to clear his head from the crushing disappointment, possibly wallow in the sorrowful paradise of existential soul searching while wearing gaudy novelty T-shirts. He had no idea Peralta and Santiago would also be taking advantage of the Linetti discount and swears he will be completely invisible for the rest of the trip.
The wonder of the “Brooklyn Nine Nine” ensemble is that any pairing, or tripling, within the cast pays off. Braugher’s dour passively aggressive self-control freak gravitas only gives Samberg firmer ground to flail into comic pratfalls. It takes Fumero’s dropping the Santiago façade to fix both the vacation and the precinct problems. The fact that she’s dresses for some erotic “Die Hard” cosplay helps. Peralta’s got a thing for that movie and this writer thinks it’s only a matter of time before Bruce Willis puts in an appearance on the show. Santiago’s wig might be the closest we get to Bonnie Bedelia though.
Back at the 99, Sergeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) is in charge. Top Dog Terry is primed. He is enthusiastic, ambitious and ready for anything, except maybe an actual solution to top cop decisions. Rosa Diaz’s (Stephanie Beatriz) latest collar is getting trashed. The best evidence was found in a dumpster and the Sanitation cops say it fell off the truck and into their hands. Crews runs his deliveries through his whole body at times as the frustration of interdepartmental pissing matches turn every word into a workout. He doesn’t have to say the words to get the laughs, but sandwiched between Beatriz’s stone cold defiance and Peretti’s rascally undermining, when he finally speaks the humor comes from a deeply sensitive authority.
Season 6 will also look into the personal files of Detectives Michael Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Norm Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller). Desk jockeys don’t start that way and Hitchcock and Scully were legendary detectives in the bad hair band days of the 80s, before their careers got stuck in slut sauce. Do these guys look like the kinds of cop who’d steal drug money? Well, look again because Peralta sees more than yesterday’s barbecue sauce on the two cops’ ties. Of course, once he and his partner take a closer look they realize there are some things you only wish you could unsee. The formerly picturesque policemen of the 9-9 would never knowingly turn out to dirty cops, network audiences tend not to forgive those things. Tony Danza who costars with Josh Groban on the cop comedy, “The Good Cop,” wouldn’t think twice about it. But he’s holding the thin blue line for Netflix.
Detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) is there, ever-hopeful, ever-helpful, forever annoying. Peralta loves his partner, and his partner obviously loves him. But damn if he isn’t the most unnecessary character on the show. Every comic show has to have one. It’s part of the silly putty that holds TV sitcoms together: the amorphic and ever disposable sidekick. Ken the NBC page on “30 Rock,” Joxer on “Xena,” and arguably the whole cast of “The Goldbergs” except Jeff Garlin.
As Captain Holt leads his blue revolt against the new aggressive policing initiative all the way up the chain of command it looks like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” will come out as a cop show that distinguishes itself as a modern mirror to the force today. It won’t make crime go away, and it won’t explore the even deeper problems of a nationwide police force in flux. But it will draw smiley faces on crime scene chalk outlines that make us all feel better.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” season six premieres Jan. 10 and airs Thursdays on NBC.