Although it would be easy to dismiss “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Fox’s new workplace cop comedy, as just another cop show, it is just the opposite. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is an original twist on crime show tropes, making it an enjoyable watch and easily one of the best new series of the season.
Andy Samberg stars as Jake Peralta, the 99th precinct’s best detective who “likes putting away bad guys and... solving puzzles.” According to Sergeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), the only puzzle that Peralta has yet to solve is how to grow up. But his juvenile antics will no longer be tolerated by the precinct’s new by-the-book captain, Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), who makes it his mission to teach Peralta to respect the badge.
What initially seems like a rehash of the classic superior officer versus the younger, fun-loving detective turns out to be a fresh take on the police genre when it is revealed that Captain Ray Holt is gay.
For years, Captain Holt was barred from assuming a leadership position because of his sexuality. Now that he has finally been awarded his own command, he is determined to make the 99th precinct one of NYPD’s best. His strict dress code and high expectations, therefore, are not mere consequences of his age, but are rather his desire to prove those who held him back wrong. This, in turn, makes Holt far more sympathetic and likeable, and his interactions with Detective Peralta are all the more enjoyable.
Executive producers Michael Schur and Dan Goor have learned from the mistakes they made in the first season of “Parks and Recreation.” One of the problems with early “Parks” episodes was that Amy Poehler’s Lesley Knope was too silly and befuddled to be taken seriously. In “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” the producers have reined in Samberg’s tendency toward the ridiculous and have reached a nice balance between Detective Peralta’s sophomoric and serious moments.
Much of the series’ strength in the first two episodes comes from the strength of the ensemble cast. Although the rapport between Detective Peralta and Captain Holt is at the center of this workplace comedy, it does not have to bear the full weight of the series. The supporting characters have subplots that complement—rather than detract from—the main plot line, which leads to some breakout characters. Precinct administrator Gina Linetti (the hilarious Chelsea Peretti) has some great character moments that lead to some of the episodes’ biggest laughs.
Based on the first two episodes, it’s clear that “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has a clear idea of what it wants its tone to be from week to week. This puts it in a better position than Fox’s “The Mindy Project,” which debuted last year and took most of its first season figuring out what kind of show it wanted to be. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” confident opening is a good sign of things to come later in the season.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on FOX.