Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of the best shows on TV at the moment. The characters on this show are all just so well-written, hilarious, relatable, and likable. The tough-as-nails Detective Rosa Diaz is scary, smart, secretive, and almost impossible to read. Most members of the precinct are terrified of her and no one really knows much about her, not even her closest friend Jake.
While she's considered the resident "tough guy" and "badass", Rosa does have a soft side, which occasionally comes out. But today, we're here to talk about Rosa's best badass moments. Before we begin, here are a few honorable mentions: the false pregnancy scare, breaking up and dealing with emotions, the ice-cream theft incident, and so on.
10 THE THREE WORDS
To say that Rosa isn’t one to openly show affection would be a gross understatement. In the season two episode “Boyle-Linetti Wedding”, Rosa admitted to Charles that she’s not bringing her boyfriend Marcus to the wedding because she’s scared he might get emotional and say “I love you”.
When Boyle suggests she should just say it back, Rosa reveals that she’s only ever said “I love you” to three people – her mom, her dad, and her dying grandpa – and that she regrets one of those. Turns out grandpa beat cancer, which in Rosa’s book means that she now looks like an idiot.
9 ROSA'S TOUGH LOVE
In the season one episode “Fancy Brudgom”, patrol officer Deetmore helps Rosa with her crime scene and makes the mistake of mislabeling the weapon. Naturally, Rosa isn’t one to forgive such a rookie mistake, so she brings Deetmore a gift: children’s My First Police Kit, to teach him to never make the same mistake again.
After Deetomore submits an official complaint against her, Captain Holt tells Rosa that if she apologizes the whole thing will go away. The first draft of her so-called apology was so horrifying that Holt had to destroy the whole pad, and the first time she actually tried to apologize she ended up insulting Deetmore even more. Rosa later explained that tough love is how she was trained, so she was just giving Deetmore the same treatment. In the end, Captain Holt convinces Rosa to apologize sincerely and actually teach Deetmore how to fix his mistake. Sadly, we never learn what kind of monstrosity she drew in the elevator when she was still angry.
8 ROSA VS. THE PRINTER
In the season one episode “Sal’s Pizza”, Captain Holt tasks Gina and Terry with recruiting a new IT specialist. However, after conducting a number of interviews, Gina is certain that none of the applicants could cope with everything that goes on at the Nine-Nine. She dismisses one guy because he's scared of everything and reminds Holt and Terry of Rosa’s reaction last time the printer jammed.
True to form, Rosa used a battering ram to release some pent-up anger on the broken printer and once she was done she threw some money on it, saying “I’ll pay for that”. After all, she's a badass, not an anarchist.
7 ROSA’S BRUTAL HONESTY
When Gina brought her “psychic” friend Carlene to the precinct, the woman managed to get inside Charles’s head, but Rosa and Amy didn’t fall for her charade. Carlene had a "vision" about the drug case they were working on and offered vague clues like the colors blue and yellow, as well as a series of letters which Amy remarked would be everyone’s first eight guesses in hangman.
Rosa, on the other hand, took a different approach by flashing a forced smile at Carlene, thanking her and then adding: “your entire life is garbage”. Rosa not compromising her badass status in favor of fake politeness is awesome. Plus, with what this charlatan did to Boyle, she had it coming.
6 ROSA VS. SEXISM
In the season two episode “The Jimmy Jab Games”, with Holt and Terry out of the precinct, the Nine-Nine decides to hold their annual Jimmy Jab Games. One of the tasks was to come up with an undercover identity and talk to as many police officers as they can before getting recognized.
Rosa dressed up in a flower dress, put on a blond wig and giant sunglasses, and approached one of the officers. When Officer Hank addressed her with sweetheart, Rosa broke character in order to give Hank a piece of her mind, thus eliminating herself from the competition. Because, let's face it, slashing sexism comes before winning dumb competitions.
5 ROSA'S SPIRIT CAN OVERCOME ANYTHING
In the season six episode “Return of the King”, Rosa walks into the office with both her hands bandaged, explaining she is suffering from a poison ivy rash. Naturally, she refuses anyone’s help and insists that she can complete all of her work by herself even though she can barely use her hands at all.
In her stubbornness she gets herself stuck in the supply closet and spends four hours unsuccessfully attempting to open the door before finally calling Amy for help. In a surprising twist, Amy refuses to help Rosa and instead gives an inspiring speech about Rosa being a badass who can do anything, which gives Rosa the motivation and strength to open the door with her chin. This ridiculous plotline makes a joke out of learning a weekly lesson and celebrates Rosa’s badassery.
4 WHEN ROSA'S IMMUNE SYSTEM FAILED HER
In the season two episode “The Road Trip”, Rosa shows up to work clearly sick but refuses to admit it because she's got an important case and because Diazes don't get sick. Despite Gina and Terry’s efforts to get her to go home, Rosa insists she's fine and gets hopped up on cold medicine to fight off the cold symptoms that her healthy body is exhibiting. Eventually, Gina locks her up in a storage room where Rosa spends the night, talking in her sleep about ripping off her grandma’s head.
In the morning when Gina and Terry go to get her out, Rosa scares the living hell out of them when she breaks the glass on the door with her hand. At first, she’s angry at them, but when Gina gives her a care package, she thanks them and smiles. Rosa is a badass – there’s no doubt about it, but she does eventually accept that sometimes it’s ok to need a little help, which makes her the best kind of badass.
3 WHAT KIND OF WOMAN DOESN’T HAVE AN AXE?
When Gina’s apartment gets broken into and a number of items get stolen, Captain Holt puts Rosa Diaz and Amy Santiago on the case. Unfortunately, Diaz and Santiago don’t find any leads, prompting Gina to file a complaint against them. When Captain Holt summons the detectives to his office to explain that Gina is scared, he asks them to put themselves in Gina’s shoes.
Rosa’s decides to play out Holt’s hypothetical question, which takes a strange turn when she starts listing all the weapons she has hidden in her apartment. Eventually, Rosa concedes, but still gets in this hilarious one-liner “what kind of woman doesn’t have an ax?” The lesson is, just because you’re not a cop, doesn’t mean you can’t be a badass and protect yourself. Go get yourself an ax.
2 ROSA TAKES THE STAND
In the season one episode “Old School”, Rosa is supposed to testify in an important case and Terry is worried her abrasive presence will once again pose an issue. When Rosa took the stand in previous cases she threatened the stenographer, referred to the jury as dum-dumbs, and asked the defense attorney to make his client stop crying.
After failing to change Rosa’s demeanor, Charles tells her to envision her “happy place” so she feels more relaxed. What she ends up picturing is actually what we should have expected from a badass such as Rosa. When asked what her happy place was, Rosa said this: “I’m in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Inside it’s just me and that stupid slimy defense attorney and I’m beating the hell out of him.” She then gave a very graphic description of the beating, prompting Terry to schedule her for a psych eval.
1 COMING OUT
Major character development for Detective Rosa Diaz came in the season five episode “99” when she came out to Charles Boyle as bisexual. In the following episode, titled “Game Night”, Rosa came out to the Nine-Nine during the daily briefing, which did not come easy for her since she is, as she said it herself, a pretty private person.
Harder still was breaking the news to her parents, who ended up being not as supportive as one would hope. But, to quote Captain Holt, “Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place”. The writing, as well as Stephanie Beatriz's performance, were outstanding and Rosa was allowed to be vulnerable while still preserving that Rosa Diaz grit we all know and love.