The story of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is now part of eternal television lore. The whip-smart and big-hearted cop comedy was canceled by FOX and picked up by NBC in May 2017, and now it’s poised to present its sixth season with a lot of new attention.
But before all that, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was – since its very first episode – a truly excellent show. It busted open the stale and serious genre of cop procedurals and fit seamlessly into the extended universe of Michael Schur comedies about coworkers who become family.
That family was the reason fans returned season after season for modest but not insignificant ratings, that juggernauts like Mark Hamill and Lin-Manuel Miranda count themselves among the show’s diehards. Jake, Amy, Captain Holt, Charles, Gina, Terry, Rosa – even Hitchcock and Scully – became symbols of the chivalry, righteousness, and empathy absent from most of the TV landscape.
Season 6 kicks off with the gang separated, as they have been for the past few openers (Jake and Holt in witness protection, Jake in prison). Jake and Amy set off on their honeymoon, where they’re met with the unexpected (and somewhat unwelcome) sight of Holt. In the Captain’s absence, Terry questions his interim leadership ability with Rosa’s support, while Charles, in peak Boyle form, investigates his and Gina’s parents’ crumbling marriage.
It’s not new for Brooklyn Nine-Nine to focus on family, but the motif resonates differently after everything the cast, crew, and fans went through in May. New viewers drawn in by the FOX/NBC madness will find something steadfast in the Nine-Nine and in seeing these characters support each other in every permutation and combination.
Episode 2 provides Hitchcock/Scully backstory we had all but given up on by now, and which is welcome nonetheless for shedding light on two characters whose own peers regard them as dead weight. It seems like a silly standalone but it’s a sneaky introduction to the Nine-Nine dynamic and proficiency in solving local crime.
In a testament to Schur’s growth as a force of television comedy, the characters on Brooklyn Nine-Nine have always been three-dimensional and uniquely weird – a quality that endears us to fan favorites on The Office and Parks and Recreation as well. But on those shows, the characters had to grow into their personas. Here, we start with the gold standard. The pilot doesn’t feel like a different show to highlight how far it has come, but like a deliberate introduction to this world and its inhabitants.
The new season is in no way revelatory, but more of the same – it’s just that the same was already so damn good. The standard here is inclusivity and warmth. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, like its Schur-verse predecessors, is more than a show – it’s a home. It has been a kind, funny sanctuary for its viewers since 2013 and welcomes new blood on a new network. We’re just happy to be back.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.