A few short weeks ago, Brooklyn Nine-Nine concluded its freshman season. Most new comedies need a growing period and don’t hit their stride, if they ever do, until somewhere in the second half of the first season, or in most cases, not until season two. As first seasons go, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s was phenomenal. So much so in the eyes of some that it garnered the show two Golden Globes, including Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, after a mere 12 episodes. Those accolades may not have been fully deserved, but there is no denying that in its first 22 episodes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine quickly became one of TV’s must-see comedies.
The first season was packed with jokes, guest stars, and, yes, a lot of great moments.
But before we allow Brooklyn Nine-Nine its summer fade from consciousness, a deserved rest prior to season 2, here is Paste’s top 10 moments from Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s first season:
(Episode 2: “The Tagger”)
Sometimes, the best comedies don’t have to be funny at all. The first season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is loaded with jokes, but it has also shown an incredible handle over the quiet moments, moments where the top priority isn’t to get a laugh. One of the best comes early on, in the series’ second episode. After Peralta does his job perfectly, to Captain Holt’s request, he discovers that the “tagger” that has been vandalizing police cars is Commissioner Podolski’s son. Naturally, this puts Peralta in an uneasy situation. Jake eventually decides he will arrest the little punk, much to the chagrin of the Commissioner, who threatens to ruin both Holt and Peralta. Giving us this gem of a line from the Captain: “You’re gonna have to try a little harder if you want to scare me. I’ve been an openly gay cop since 1987, so you’re not the first superior officer to threaten me. You know how I’m still standing here? ’Cause I do my job. And I do it right.”
In the words of Det. Jake Peralta: Daaaaaaamn, son!
(Episode 3: “The Slump”)
One of Terry Crews’ best attributes is undoubtedly his physique. It has led him to be typecast, sure, but it also allows for some brilliant juxtapositions that would make even the most stoic police Captain chuckle. (I’m looking at you Holt.) In “The Slump,” we get one of those brilliant juxtapositions, as Sgt. Terry Jeffords faces off against a dollhouse he’s building for his girls. The moment also gives us the question of the year: What kind of dollhouse has wheels?
(Episode 10: “Thanksgiving”)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine did a superb job of growing Capt. Ray Holt throughout season one. At first, he seemed like a one-dimensional character, whose stoic demeanor did little more than offer an over-the-top straight man to the rest of the Nine-Nine’s curious cast. But, as the episodes wore on, it became clear that there was much more to Capt. Holt that initially thought, and his unemotional disposition led to great comedic moments, working as a long set-up to rare scenes in which the Captain cracks. Arguably the best came in “Thanksgiving” when Holt is forced to go along with one of Peralta’s batty role-playing situations, giving us the glorious appearance of Gerald Gimes. (“I’m going double G here for symmetry.”) Gimes is a tragic figure, a man who solved every crime but the murder of his wife, having only one clue: the murderer wore a yellow sweater. Holt fights it at first, making it all the sweeter when he finally let’s it fly.
(Episode 11: “Christmas”)
Ahh, Young Ray Holt. You Samuel L. Jackson-circa-Pulp Fiction-lookin’ badass. When he first appears in a flashback in “Christmas,” it’s really quite shocking. Through 11 episodes, we’ve come to know Capt. Holt as a straight-laced, clean-shaven, by-the-book cop. But, what we get here is a rough and edgy cop who looks like he should have been chasing Frank Lucas around in the ’70s. And is it ever delightful. The better part? He comes back, again and again. Here’s hoping we get to see and learn even more about Young Ray Holt in season two.
(Episode 13: “The Bet”)
One of the brightest parts of season one has been Joe Lo Truglio’s lovable buffoon, Det. Charles Boyle. He’s incredibly sweet, often naive, occasionally incompetent, but also a really good cop. Like a highly evolved Jerry Gergich. Boyle quickly became one of the show’s best characters, making it no surprise that his screen-time continued to increase as the weeks rolled on. After laying his life on the line to save Det. Diaz, Boyle receives the Medal of Valor from the NYPD for “exceptional acts of heroism or voluntary risk of personal safety,” or as Jake puts it, “getting shot in the butt.”
But, in classic Boyle fashion, he’s not the lone recipient of the medal. Joining him is Sergeant Peanut Butter, everyone’s favorite heroic horse. At least they announced Boyle’s name first. Though, it was because Sgt. Peanut Butter outranks him…
(Episode 13: “The Bet”)
In the same episode, we have another wonderful Boyle moment. Actually, a string of them. Thanks to Boyle’s medication, he’s lost his common sense and mental filter, allowing him to spew “truth bombs” all over the bar. What it culminates in, though, is an incredibly sweet and delicate moment in which Boyle admits he didn’t save Rosa’s life because he loves her, but because he’s a great cop and that once she does go out with, and she will, he says, it will be because he can do things only Charles Boyle can. If you weren’t sold on him up to this moment, you surely are now.
(Episode 15: “Operation: Broken Feather”)
Season one had numerous guest stars and cameos, from the great Fred Armisen as creepy New York citizen Melipnos, Patton Oswalt as Fire Marshall Boone, Craig Robinson as a serial carjacker, to even Kid Cudi as a jewel thief. The best among them, though, may have come in “Operation: Broken Feather.” I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll just tell you that it’s great. And that Lawrence Taylor is loosely connected.
(Episode 17: “Full Boyle”)
We’re back to Boyle. Episode 17 gives us another Boyle-centric episode, this time focusing on the detective’s propensity to dive too deep into a relationship too soon. Peralta offers to help him through his case of “Full Boyle,” which gets the two into just as many shenanigans as you’d imagine. It all concludes with the two pepper-spraying each other. It is very silly, but who doesn’t love silly?
(Episode 22: “Charges and Specs”)
The season finale has so many great moments that it could have filled this entire list. In the hopes of being representative, I’ve cut it down to just two. The first starts the episode off on a strong note, as we see Boyle, depressed for reasons (I will refrain from explaining) that force him into the darkness. He becomes Neo, leather trenchcoat, sunglasses and all.
(Episode 22: “Charges and Specs”)
The second great moment from the finale, and the final for this list, comes once again from the vast well of comedy that is Capt. Ray Holt. As Holt, Peralta and Santiago are working a case the Commissioner told them to drop, they find themselves in a bind thanks to Peralta’s gumption. Because of his over enthusiasm, Jake faces discipline from the NYPD and has to appear in court. In an attempt to speed up the process, Holt and Peralta attempt to smooth-talk the judge, which goes horribly wrong until the Captain steps in.
What about you, Paste readers? What moment from Brooklyn Nine-Nine stands out for you?