Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season Premiere Review: “Undercover” (Season 2, Episode 1)


Welcome, everyone, to my coverage of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s second season. Some of you may remember me from my weekly updates of Modern Family‘s fifth season, where I praised and plodded through an inconsistent collection of episodes and begged the Academy not to bestow the overpraised series another Best Comedy Emmy. Alas, it did. So, since that show does not need any more endorsement, I am switching it to a sitcom that could use some support, especially after it was snubbed at the Emmys.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s first episode settles back into a groove very quickly, with a density of comedy that rivals 30 Rock, among comparable workplace sitcoms. The first six minutes bring back the “Group of Seven” (a moniker I will stick with to describe the principal ensemble) in style, catching us up with the few events of note that Jake Peralta missed in his six-month undercover stint. A highlight: Boyle and Santiago arrived to the office wearing the same outfit – and it looked better on him.

However, Jake’s duties are not over, as one of the targets in the Mafia that he tried to capture escaped from custody. A gangster named Freddy is still on the loose and Jake is ready to slick back his hair, douse his neck and torso with stinky cologne and put a burgundy tracksuit on to return back to his undercover role. As per the Captain’s orders, Boyle goes along with him. The trail leads to an apartment housing Freddy’s girlfriend, Bianca (Jenny Slate, good enough to inspire hope she will be a recurring character).

Elsewhere in the precinct, Terry has a peculiar assignment from Holt. He wears a whiteboard that has an identity written on it – “89-year-old woman,” for instance – that Diaz and Santiago must deal with. When Terry comes in as a giddy seven-year-old boy, he wonders why the Captain demands him to put on all of these performances. This subplot, goofy in the best of ways, has some excellent sight gags, such as Terry destroying a Lego tower and jumping around an inflatable bouncy castle. Brooklyn Nine-Nine creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur keep coming up with gleefully enjoyable ways to play around with Terry Crews’ linebacker stance and machismo and it’s working very well.

Meanwhile, Gina is worried that Boyle will reveal to Jake that she had a one night stand with him – you may remember that peculiar coupling from the tag to close season one. Since Boyle is accustomed to telling Jake everything, Gina knows it will not be long until he reveals this secret, which could only spawn heckling and embarrassment.