First Aired: 16th January 2014
Adam Sandberg – Detective Jake Peralta
Melissa Fuminero – Detective Amy Santiago
Stephanie Beatrix – Detective Rosa Diaz
Joe Lo Truglio – Detective Charles Boyle
Terry Crews – Sergeant Terry Jeffers
Chelsea Peretti – Gina Linetti
Andre Braugher – Captain Ray Holt
Plot: A tech store in Brooklyn is robbed. Two detectives (the all business Amy Santiago and the irreverant Jake Peralta) solve the crime with ease and the next morning compare note with fellow detectives Rosa Diaz, Charles Boyle and their sergeant Terry Jeffers before their new captain Raymond Holt, a finally promoted openly gay man, arrives and immediately starts clashing with Peralta over his disrespectful attitude and less than professional manner.
Later, the team investigate a homicide with the Captain horning in on the investigation, commenting on Peralta’s not wearing a tie. Peralta and Boyle chase a lead relating to expensive food that was stolen from the victim. The lead ends up going badly and the prime suspect gets away, leading to Peralta being reassigned to records. There he finds an address for the missing suspect and tells Captain Holt, who gets the team together to see Jake wearing a tie, but no trousers. Holt doesn’t give Peralta time to change before briefing the team and after everyone else has had a giggle at Peralta’s technicolour underpants they leave to stake the place out. They catch the guy and Peralta works out that the tie thing is a call for unity from Captain Holt after being put into command after such a long wait and wanting the whole department to look and feel like a team.
There’s a subplot with Boyle trying and failing to take Diaz to a movie festival, but that’s about it.
Notes: Many sitcoms, workplace and not, start to make the characters more bizarre and exaggerated as the series progresses, but Brooklyn 99 is not one of those. This is a cornucopia of strange and bizarre characters from episode 1. This is an all star cast of comedy actors with some new finds mixed in there to make things more interesting. Adam Sandberg does his best to steal every scene he’s in with an Adam Sandler-esque manic energy, but unlike Sandler, Sandberg is likable. His chemistry with Fumero, Beatriz and Truglio feels comedic, yet relaxed and you have no doubt that they have been colleagues for years. Andre Baughier is not someone I would immediately think of in regards to comedy, but he nails a restrained and deadpan performance that is exactly the counterpoint to the rest of the cast, he is funnier by not acting funny at all. He’d be at home in any other cop show, but belongs exactly where he is. His friction with Sandberg is at the heart of this episode and the pair hit more times than miss with jokes and reactions.
This show lands straight away with every actor nailing the comedic beats, either broad character stuff, or in the case of Joe Lo Truglio’s scenes with Stephanie Beatriz, dripping with awkwardness, but never quite heading into the cringe-inducing scenes that often take me out of the story. Holding the middle ground is Terry Crewes as Sgt Jeffers. Crewes is a huge man that could intimidate anyone in his company, but the thing that really comes accross is that he is hilariously funny. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and has fantastic comic timing. He is often the funniest person in the scene, but never once steals that scene. The heart and backbone of the precinct and the show, he is one of my favourite things about it. The department store scene makes me laugh every single time and his dialogue moves from action movie serious to sheepish and self effacing effortlessly.
Dealing with theft, murder and all manner of crimes may not be where you look for the best laughs, but honestly this program had me chuckling all the way through.
Does it work? Yes it does, it’s funny and yet completely accessible.
Does much need fixing? Not at all, the cast are all doing excellent work and nothing looks out of place.
Does it stand up? As either a pilot or a single episode, it does.
Do I want to watch the next one? I did but to be honest, I can’t start watching every single one of these again, it’s getting ridiculous as it is.
Did I enjoy it? Oh certainly I did, was glad that this was available to watch so soon.
Overall: 5 out of 5 Not a perfect show, but very few comedies are this complete by the end of their first episode.