A police procedural, but with more puns!
Streaming on Hulu | 2013–present | TV-14 | 6 seasons, 20 min. episodes
reviewed by Liz
Genre: Police procedural, workplace comedy
Why We Watched: Liz, here 👋. Die-hard police procedural fan. Have I seen every single episode of Law & Order: SVU? Yes! (And I am aware that that equals 19 days worth of television). The Wire? Once you in it, you in it. The X-Files? The truth is out there, how could I not watch it! Not to mention Criminal Minds, CSI, Veronica Mars (yes, that counts, you naysayers)... Anyway, I was obviously predisposed to like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a brilliant twist on a favorite genre!
You Might Also Like: If you want a more standard procedural, I've given you my short list above! But still haven't watched Superstore (on Hulu)? You should! Set in a very different but equally funny work environment, the show follows the employees of a big box store. Produced by Scrubs- and Office-alum Jason Spitzer, the show offers up a ridiculous ensemble-driven story each episode.
So what exactly is a police procedural, you may ask? It's a delightful subgenre of television that emphasizes a different investigation each episode. Instead of a "whodunnit" these are more of "how-to-catch-ems." We're along for the ride as different officers track down the perps responsible for any number of (ok, often outlandish) crimes. What I love most about these shows is that you can dip in and out, or skip around, and still basically be able to figure out what's going on. And for the most part, each episode is a closed loop: At the end of the day, the criminal is in jail and we're on our way to the next case! (The obvious exception to this rule is The Wire, which blah blah revolutionized the genre blah blah, paving the way for later shows like True Detective.)
Because the genre is so well developed, the time is ripe for someone to spoof the formula. This is where Brooklyn Nine-Nine comes in! The series is about a ridiculous but endearing fictional police precinct. The show relies on an ensemble cast, helmed by SNL alum Andy Samberg who plays Detective Jake Peralta, your basic man-child cop who loves shenanigans but is all about solving crimes. Jake is the yin to Captain Raymond Holt's yang (played by the so serious he's hilarious Andre Braugher of Homicide: Life on the Streets). Holt is an openly gay, corgi-owning precinct responsible for Peralta and the rest of the squad. There's Jake's groupie/partner Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), yogurt-obsessed Sergent Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), type-A go-getter Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), interpretive dancer + secretary Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), and endearing tough lady Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz).
Trust me on this: This show is comedy gold! Like show creator Dan Goor's Parks and Recreation, the characters are somehow both over-the-top and down-to-earth at the same time. And it's that combo that leads to a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Despite the excellent cast and stellar writing, Goor got the call last May that Fox had canceled our beloved cop comedy. But WAIT! Within 24-hours, Goor got another call that NBC had picked it up. So what changed? Sure, a few behind-the-scenes deals led to the switch. But also, a surprising cohort of celebs came to the Nine-Nine's defense, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sean Astin, Mark Hamill, and, wait for it, Guillermo del Toro! (Side note, Miranda and Astin have cameos this season! Side side note, remember when US Olympian Red Gerard almost missed his race because he was binging the series?)
So why am I recommending you watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine now? After all, the season seven finale aired a few weeks ago, and it's not like it's a new show. Well, friends, I picked the series for the newsletter because it's finally summer and, for me at least, that means I'm ready for a break! Keeping track of a hard-hitting narrative drama is just not on my own to-do list this weekend. All I want right now is something I can watch when I have time, miss for a few weeks while I'm traveling, and then pop right back into.
And Brooklyn Nine-Nine fits that bill and then some! Lots of laughs, heists, and bandits, plus a corgi named Cheddar? Literally, nothing could be better. Case closed. This is the series of summer!