Since 2013, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has brought consistent laughs to the small screen. It has been a rocky road over the years, but the show has still managed to capture the hearts of millions of viewers as it merges comedy with heartfelt, emotional stories. Now, at the end of the journey, New York’s 99th precinct goes out in the only way it can, which is with one final heist.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has not always had the easiest time in it’s run. What started off as a quickly popular sitcom faced several hurdles on the way to its conclusion. Perhaps the biggest was in 2018, when the show was surprisingly cancelled by Fox. It seemed like it was doomed, but after a massive swell of support for the show from fans on social media, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was picked back up by NBC. Around the same time, series regular, Chelsea Peretti, left the show and with her went her fan favorite drama queen character, Gina. As if this wasn’t enough, the show’s 8th and final season was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not to mention, four episodes were scrapped as the creators opted to alter the direction of the show in the wake of national protests against police violence. Now, even after all these obstacles, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has put together a satisfying conclusion to this beloved cast of characters.
The story of the two-part finale follows the precinct doing one final annual heist, where the team works to get in possession of a specific object by the end of the day to earn the title “Ultimate Human/Genius.” This event began as a regular Halloween heist in each of the show’s first few seasons before adapting to correspond to other holidays and events in later seasons. Each heist has gotten more and more complicated and this finale is no exception. This time, Jake (Andy Samberg) uses the heist to make a big announcement: that he is retiring from the police force to focus on being a dad. As everyone else is moving onto bigger and better things, this heist represents one last ride for the squad.
After an 8th season that has been a bit of a hit-or-miss, this finale absolutely delivers. It’s the most complex heist yet, with a bunch of twists and turns that give every character a moment to shine. The craziness of the heist balances perfectly with heartfelt goodbyes between its main characters, including a particularly touching one between Jake and Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) that made Jake’s series-long relationship with fatherhood come full circle. The episode was also a treat for long-time fans since it featured heaps of cameos from the run of the entire show. From wildcard Adrian Pimento (Jason Mantzoukas) to weird neighbor Melipnos (Fred Armisen) to heist regular Bill (Winston Story), the finale had a little piece of “Nine-nine” history for everyone. The episode was overall a sweet sendoff for the series.
The good news is that while the characters are going their separate ways in this finale, it still ends hopefully. In the show, the NYPD is actually enacting the changes that people in the real world are fighting for in their communities. Amy (Melissa Fumero) has gotten her pilot program for police reform off the ground and now Holt and her are leaving to run the reform effort. This part of the story is part of what has made the final season struggle some. The entire season focuses on the characters reckoning with the changes called for in the police. Many of the episodes have followed this story over the season to mixed results. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a not stranger to tactfully presenting progressive ideas on the show, such as when Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) came out as bisexual to her family and when Terry (Terry Crews) was racial profileed. This time, the balance wasn’t quite there. The big focus often felt obligatory for the show and not like they really believed it and led to a worst of both worlds situation: the heavy story beats undercut the comedy and the comedy made the story feel too surface level to make any meaningful discussion. While this did improve some over the season (with the absolute joke of a police union leader played by John C. McGinley being a highlight), there were enough moments that didn’t quite work for it to be disappointing.
In the finale, however, these issues were avoided. The seriousness was addressed well, and comedy was strong to match. Through a winding, inconsentant final season, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” comes together to deliver a thoroughly fulfilling conclusion.
All episodes of “Brooklyn 99” are available to stream on Hulu and Peacock.
By Ben Lindner