Netflix & E4
Before I get into the meat of this piece, let me just say, I love this show. I love the breadth of characters, I love the actors and how they play their parts, I love the one liners, I love the fact it has an overriding story and I love that I can watch it with my son. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a sitcom based around the detective team in “The 99” in Brooklyn. Each episode is half an hour, and the first two seasons are available on Netflix while E4 is just finishing it’s airing of season three. The rewatchability of each episode is great, and I have found myself very often just going back and watching random episodes for a quick fix. This is a show which is made up of its characters. Storyline is often incidental to the relationships formed and shaped through the quality of the writing. For this reason, I am going to focus on these characters. The number and range of different types of character doesn’t adversely impact the show. Each one is given due attention and is portrayed to perfection.
It is difficult to pinpoint a “main character” as each one brings something completely different to the table. For arguments sake, the most likely lead is Detective Jake Peralta. Played by Andy Samberg, Jake is immature, irresponsible, untidy and one of the best detectives in the team. He resists authority, but manages to do it in such a charming way that it is impossible to dislike this character. His one-liners are delivered perfectly, and Samberg brings a level of zaniness to the character which makes him extremely likeable. Peralta, despite his flaws, is also an exceptional detective. Like a pitbull, when he finds something, he grabs hold and will not let go. This causes friction in the department, but always ends well.
Next up is Detective Amy Santiago. She is “the sensible one”. Following rules to a fault, Amy looks up to Captain Holt like a strange mixture between a father and a messiah. Her files are impeccably organised and she knows the rule book inside out. Her goal in life is to become Captain, and she feels that the best way for her to do this is through Captain Holt. Amy is often paired with Peralta, and she is a great calming influence on him, keeping him grounded with his eyes on the prize. Alongside her other features, Amy is competitive, often violently so. She will literally climb over others if the opportunity exists for her to win. However, this streak offsets well against Jake, leading to an incredibly successful detective team.
Who to lead this crack team? Captain Raymond Holt of course. Strict, dry, driven and with a wit as sharp as a knife, Holt sits proudly at the head of the precinct, pushing his detectives forward. Holt actually has an incredibly deep history for a sitcom character. After spending years fighting institutional racism and homophobia, Holt worked his way to the top, and refuses to let anyone get in his way. He is extremely dry, and a stickler for the details, something which often comes between him and his team. However, their bond is strong, and they know that he is the right person to lead The 99.
Last, but by no means least, is Gina Linetti. As a civilian assistant in the precinct, she could easily be poorly written with little depth. However, she is, at times, the most entertaining member of the team. Confident, slick and coordinated, Gina (played by Chelsea Peretti) prides herself as the only normal person in the precinct, one of the finest dancers in the world, and the only person who knows exactly what is going on. Her character has transformed into a Yoda-like individual, showing up occasionally to offer sage words of wisdom or to give the hint which blows the case right open. All of this while managing to deliver some of the most scathing, and yet endearing insults.
I cannot summarise all of the characters in this article, and I know I have missed some amazing members of the team. Rosa the enigma and Terry the sarge are just two of the many regular and recurring characters which combine so very well to create this hilarious, entertaining and sometimes thought provoking show. With the first two seasons available on demand and the third no doubt making its way on demand soon, there really is no reason to dip your toes in and see how you feel!