The pilot explores Peralta’s initial reactions to Holt as the precinct works together on a strange murder-robbery that leads back to an intimidating Russian butcher. Scenes in which Peralta attempts to canvas for potential witnesses or deduce information from evidence made me laugh out loud with startling consistency.
Refreshingly for cop shows, however, the case takes a marked backseat to the character relationships, and we get a ton of them. The jittery office punching bag, devoted Detective Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), has a hopeless crush on his acerbic, legitimately threatening partner (Stephanie Beatriz), which makes for some hilariously awkward encounters. Sgt. Jeffords (Terry Crews, perfectly cast) is a former bad-ass and veteran of the department with two daughters at home (named Cagney and Lacey, no less). And the rivalry between Peralta and his tough-as-nails partner Santiago (Melissa Fumero) has enough of a mix of mutual hatred and will-they-won’t-they chemistry to make its age-old set-up somehow new and unexpectedly fresh.
The format of Brookyln Nine-Nine is also a subject worth noting – though it opens with a quick nod to mockumentary-style comedies and deftly toes the boundary separating the show’s universe from us watching at home, the show is mostly communicated as a single-camera sitcom, adroitly following a day in the life of Peralta. Even as the pilot wrapped, I still wasn’t quite sure whether the show was aiming more to satirize cop procedurals, act out a workplace sitcom involving the police force or simply provide an environment for Samberg to cut loose. I make that remark with a smile on my face, because Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s excellent execution has given it the opportunity to pursue any one of those routes – or all of them at once. I hope it’s the latter, simply because this pilot gives me confidence that the show can pull it off.
Though whether it can sustain its zany blend of procedural-skewing dialogue, larger-than-life characters and nutty cases remains to be seen, for now at least, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the most promising comedy pilot of the fall season.
Did you watch the show? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!