Let’s face it, since Peter Sellers hung up his iconic trench coat as the infamous Inspector Clouseau bumbling his way through ridiculous murder cases, police comedy hasn’t been a laughing matter. Briefly brightened up by The Naked Gun franchise and Seventies squad sitcom Barney Miller blue has not been the colour to inspire much joy for some time now.
All that changed with the arrival of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In the course of three seasons this show has blossomed into the new star of copper sitcoms. Set in the 99th precinct of the New York Police Department in Brooklyn this show is breezy, affable American squad comedy, fun to watch for the whole family and in league with other successful, easy-going E4 US-comedy imports like The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother. And like its predecessors on E4 the show has already won acclaim by being awarded two Golden Globes (Best TV Comedy Actor and Best TV Comedy).
It comes as no surprise that behind the brilliant characters of Brooklyn Nine-Nine hide two brilliant minds, namely producer Michael Schur and writer Dan Goor who earned their stripes on Parks and Recreation. In a way Brooklyn Nine-Nine is Parks and Recreation with guns and handcuffs. Still, the show treads on safe ground in borrowing heavily from old-school squad sitcoms like Barney Miller – which explains the throwback feel – while ramping the genre up with contemporary sketch-comedy-style, throwaway jokes and slapstick action. BBC hit comedy The Office springs to mind as well as a potential source of inspiration.
The set-up of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is swiftly explained: The 99th precinct of the New York Police is thrown in at the deep end with the arrival of the new chief, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) – a stickler for officialdom if there ever was one (who is nevertheless addicted to the daft match three mobile game “Cwazy Cupcakes”). Braugher’s dead-pan humour and stony facial expressions clash nicely with Detective Jakes Peralta’s (Andy Samberg) schoolboy silliness and teenage-shtick causing general mayhem in the precinct while solving cases by the bucketful. Holt: “Do you see me as a father figure?” Jake: “No! If anything I see you as a ‘bother’ figure cause you’re always bothering me.”
The leads are surrounded by a fabulous supporting cast with Joe Lo Truglio as the well-meaning but oafish Detective Charles Boyle, who is in persistent awe of Peralta: “He’s messing with me because I’m not intimidating like Terry or dignified like Jake. Or model-handsome like Jake. Or funny like Jake.”
The team of the 99th precinct is further made up of the utterly useless and notoriously lazy Detectives Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) who spend their days hunting for the next snack (“Is Hitchcock roasting corn on the radiator again?”) as well as the female Detectives Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) and Ami Santiago (Melissa Fumero) – one a super-scary tough cookie (“If Rosa had a twin, she would have eaten her in the womb”) and the other a delightfully anxious swot, who happens to get romantically involved with Peralta – the prankster and the princess.
Last but not at all least, the two funniest characters of the show: Sergeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), built like Arnie in his better days but as capricious as a Real Housewife of New York City, and über-sardonic Civilian Administrator Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), who is a member of the dance troupe ‘Dance-y Reagan’ and shines with wise-cracking one-liners: “The English language cannot fully capture the depth and complexity of my thoughts. So I’m incorporating Emoji into my speech to better express myself. Winky face.”
It comes to no surprise that the fourth season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine has just been confirmed.
by Frank Diebel