Friends, we are gathered here today not to mourn the cancellation of a beloved show but to celebrate its joyous run. Yet another adored show has fallen victim to Network and Ratings and these are truly dark times. To Brooklyn Nine-Nine raise your glasses.
Before I start the eulogy I will concede that I am a relatively new initiate into the wonderful precinct and TV show that is Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I only recently binged the first four seasons just in time to watch the current and final season of the show. I didn’t expect to fall in love with a workplace comedy about a police station in New York, but I grew to love the cast and their antics and this cancellation spurs me to speak. Or as Captain Raymond Holt would say:
Andre Braugher, Ray’s actor, is actually the reason I started watching the show. I recognized him for his brief stints on House, and, more pertinently, Law & Order: SVU. Law & Order: SVU (which as it happens was recently renewed for its 20th season) is an important show in this discussion because like Brooklyn Nine-Nine it depicts an alternative reality where cops are generally good people with sensitivity training, empathy, and other desirable traits. They depict a world where the wicked get their comeuppance and the righteous, though they may falter, persevere in difficult conditions. In SVU Braugher played Bayard Ellis, a defense attorney that sat across from the officers and DAs on the show. Braugher brought both a levity and gravitas to the character. I did not realize how funny the man was until I saw him dead pan bars like a boss.
And while I have a fondness for the Black, gay, literally minded, no-nonsense, archetypal police captain, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an ensemble workplace comedy and the show is better for the diverse cast. Canonically queer characters (Captain Holt is one. The other is a spoiler and I will presume at least one of you is new to the series), two strong Latinas at the forefront of the A- and B-plots…
Black men in roles of authority (the other being Sergeant Terry Jeffords, as portrayed by Terry Crews)…
And white cops who I actually think I could trust in real life, Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) and Jake Peralta (Adam Samburg of The Lonely Island).
The beauty of Brookyln Nine-Nine is that it never had to be good. We didn’t deserve a show that started out with the typical new captain, new world premise and then rapidly evolved around the family at the 99th Precinct. We didn’t deserve a show that constantly broke every single stereotype you could ever imagine over and over again. We didn’t deserve the frank talks about workplace discrimination, the prison industrial complex, racial profiling, and how public trust in the police has faded due to the abuse of authority.
But we got it. In between odd ball jokes and pitch perfect deliveries. Brooklyn Nine-Nine took time to show its heart and the hearts of each of its characters. Like all great comedies, it showed a slightly brighter side of a cruel world.
Rest in Syndication, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. May you find a second life on a streaming service sooner rather than later.
Cover image: ™ and © 2018 FOX and its related entities.