The drama surrounding FOX’s decision to cancel Brooklyn Nine-Nine at the end of season 5, and the series being subsequently (and quickly) snapped up by NBC for a 13-episode season 6 next year was perhaps the most exciting thing to happen during the annual culling of network TV shows. Well-liked shows come to an end — premature or otherwise — this time of year, and it’s become increasingly common to see fans take to social media with an outpouring of support for their favorite, soon-to-be canceled show.
And why wouldn’t they? After the resurrection of Timeless at NBC last year following the network’s decision to cancel the daffy time travel series, fans are certain to feel emboldened that their collective voices can turn back time (sorry) and perhaps reverse decisions made from a purely (and understandably) economic standpoint. This year has already seen supporters line up for Lucifer and The Expanse, with pleas for those series to find a new lease on life on another network or, as is more often the hope, streaming platform. But as fervent as both those shows’ supporters are, the cancelation of Brooklyn Nine-Nine went beyond fan outrage and soon included the likes Mark of Hamill and Guillermo del Toro, who were vocal about not only the show’s cancelation but also their sincere desire to see it given another chance elsewhere.
The series’ pickup by NBC makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Brooklyn Nine-Nine would make for a great one-two punch from Mike Schur (who co-created the series with Dan Goor) alongside his current hit on the Peacock Network, The Good Place. In addition to, or because of, Schur’s influence, the afterlife and cop comedies have a lot in common. They’re both good, and not just good in the sense that both are well written, well acted, and consistently funny, but good in the sense there is an innate thoughtfulness in the shows and their characters. That much is made evident in the Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 5 (and nearly series) finale, ‘Jake & Amy.’
For what it’s worth, ending the series with the nuptials of Det. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Sgt. Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) would have made for a satisfying conclusion to the series. There’s a sense of finality throughout the entire episode, as characters work their way through the final stages of preparing for the wedding and, for the most part, their respective futures. Some, like Charles (Joe Lo Truglio), Terry (Terry Crews), and Gina (Chelsea Peretti) do wind up getting short shrift, mostly because their storylines involve helping facilitate the event at the heart of the finale, but there’s also something very fitting in seeing them pull together to help bring their friends’ wedding to fruition.
In true sitcom fashion, there can never be a wedding that goes off without a hitch. This television season alone brought nearly bungled ceremonies with The Big Bang Theory and the series finale of New Girl. For its part, ’Jake & Amy’ has more in common with its unlikely partner in inexplicable television crossover crime, as not only are the nuptials threatened by unforeseen circumstances, and the return of a former boyfriend (Dermot Mulroney’s Russell in New Girl and Kyle Bornheimer’s Teddy here) who confesses his undying love for the bride-to-be, but the actual ceremony is pulled together last minute and made all the more memorable due in part to the event essentially being assembled with spit and baling wire — or in this instance some unused cop cars and a bomb disposal robot.
But as much of the episode rightly centers on the build up to the wedding and Jake and Amy’s next steps as a married couple, Brooklyn Nine-Nine also makes an effort to take a big step forward with regard to Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher) and his campaign to become commissioner. Like the wedding, Holt’s ascendency up the ranks of the NYPD has been the partial focus of the entire season, facilitating a welcome guest spot by Allison Tollman as Holt’s chief competitor, Olivia Crawford. Always with an eye on strong comedic pairings, Brooklyn Nine-Nine found a new one by pitting Braugher against Tollman in what eventually turned into a race to be the first non-old white guy commissioner of the NYPD. Tollman is characteristically great as Crawford, so it wouldn’t be much of surprise if she had snagged the position, giving Nine-Nine a chance to make use of the former Fargo star's talents again, not unlike how the series made use of Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson a few seasons ago.
It’s no surprise that the show finds a suitable solution to the dilemma of Holt and Crawford, one that, again, points to the goodness of the characters, and that reveals a similar goodness in the captain’s chief rival. With Crawford out of the running, Holt’s potential rise to the position of commissioner becomes the second most important aspect of the finale, one that the show cheekily refuses to pay off, first by Raymond's reluctance to open the email, and again with abrupt cut the episode ends on. Had the series not been renewed elsewhere, this would have been the likely gone down as one of the greatest (and by greatest, I mean most frustrating) unanswered questions in the last few years of television.
Throw in a guest appearance by Gina Rodriguez as a potential love interest for Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) and you have the makings of a charming, memorable finale for the Nine-Nine, one that hints at the show and its characters taking some necessary (and uncharacteristic, by sitcom standards) steps forward. Of those steps, it will be interesting to see how the show handles Jake and Amy now that they are officially a married couple who work together (for the most part). One of the more remarkable things the show has done in recent seasons is demonstrate how paying off of a long-standing will they or won’t they situation doesn’t have to signal a show’s creative decline. The same holds true for Holt’s potential job change. If he does (and he should) become commissioner, the new position should offer plenty of new storytelling directions for the series to take, including bringing on a possible new captain of the eponymous precinct.
Ultimately, though the finale’s title puts the focus on two of the show’s characters, ‘Jake & Amy’ is a sweet, charming example of just how great an ensemble Brooklyn Nine-Nine really has. And although their wedding would have been a satisfying enough ending to the series, the season 5 finale does a better job of demonstrating why the show deserved to be saved from cancelation.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine moves to NBC for season 6 in 2019.