Sometimes the things we love must come to an end, not because they are finished but because their time has passed.
Brooklyn 99 is one of those rare TV shows that have never had a significant drop in quality despite having survived a network change and recently finishing their seventh season. While there were only thirteen episodes in their latest season, it’s fair to say every one of them delivered. Truly, for die-hard viewers of Brooklyn 99, this season really took that limited timeline and made sure to hit all the fan favorites, including all the actual Die Hard references Jake could fit in.
For one thing, we got a new episode of the Jimmy Jab Games, which we have not seen since season two, and we saw Doug Judy finally turn into one of the good guys, for now at least. Not to mention, we got an even more dramatic even more elaborate Halloween Heist that included not one, but three holidays. Although I, for one, think it’s ridiculous it took this long for Rosa to outsmart everyone and win, but at least she won at last. Revisiting these trademark Brooklyn 99 storylines gave fans the throwback they craved while also showcasing how much these lovable quirky characters have grown throughout the years – and how they’ve chosen to stay the same. Jake may be ready to buy a reasonably priced sedan with Amy, but he is equally as ready to bet it on the Jimmy Jabs Games, and we love him for that. Holt may always despise Madeleine Wunch, especially after she demoted him to a beat cop at the start of the season, but at her funeral, he realizes that their rivalry has kept him motivated and that he’ll actually miss her. Though season seven is basically just a rehash of all the Brooklyn 99 tropes we know and love, it’s done in a way that feels fresh and heartfelt.
Yet, what’s even better, they still made time to throw some new storylines our way. The ultimate fan favorite of which is obviously that Jake and Amy finally have a child together. Since their flirting way back in episode one, we’ve seen them deny their feelings for each other, wait for the other to be single, struggle with balancing their jobs and their romance, survive conspiracies together, and finally, get married despite the worst possible circumstances. This show has been waiting for the arrival of their child from the beginning and baby Mac, also known as McClane as in John McClane from Die Hard obviously, cements the foundational idea behind Brooklyn 99 that these misfit cops are at their core a family.
Really, as a television show, Brooklyn 99 has achieved some truly joyful and fulfilling moments but given that this latest season has satisfied our most pressing concerns over these characters and has hit all our beloved classic storylines, maybe it’s time for Brooklyn 99 to retire once and for all.
Hear me out.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that there are currently protests all over the world happening as a result of George Floyd’s cold-blooded, completely unnecessary murder at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Rightly enraged, protesters will not be sedated by accepting the so-called reforms that were promised six years ago with the wave of protests that occurred after the shooting of Michael Brown. Really, nothing has changed, the police are as violent and militarized as ever, with as much immunity as ever, which is why this new wave of protests are calling for the defunding and abolishment of police.
This is a complicated subject that can’t be fully explained in a Brooklyn 99 review, but let me sum it up as best I can: we don’t need a show about good cops right now, or possibly ever again. Granted, this extends beyond Brooklyn 99. Cop shows are a time-honored classic, including Criminal Minds, Law & Order, Cops, Miami Vice, Rookie Blue, and countless others. Besides their lackluster subject matter, all these shows are complicit in creating the unjustified narrative that the cops are always the good guys, just trying to keep their community safe which keeps many people from acknowledging, let alone challenging, the incredible amount of violence and injustice the police are responsible for. In this way, the undeniably loveable nature of Brooklyn 99 makes it a double-edged sword. It’s hard to denounce cops when you think of them as being as funny as Jake, as hard-working as Amy, as deserving as Holt, and that’s the problem.
Now, to be fair, Brooklyn 99 has continually addressed the controversial subjects concerning police forces. One of their most heralded and memorable episodes is when Terry is stopped by another officer for being black. Besides that one, they have also touched on gender discrimination, sexual harassment, corruption, collusion, homophobia, and dirty cops on the force. Yet, every time these issues are addressed we see very little if any change happens. Instead, we are just encouraged to believe that there are cops like those at the Brooklyn 99 division who are the actual good guys trying to stand up to the system and make it better but in reality that is not the case. While Brooklyn 99 may have started out as a tool to call out these issues and address them in a public way, it has morphed into a narrative these corrupt police forces can hide behind. This idea that there are “good cops” who are dedicated, lovable goofballs on television and the ones who murdered George Floyd just happen to be bad apples.
Whether or not good cops can even exist is a whole separate discussion, but what is clear is that in real life there are too many police officers targeting and eliminating black lives, and until there is some overhaul of the system that stops that I don’t feel right watching a comedy about them. Despite how well-made the show is, how genuinely funny and emotional, and how much I love these characters, the fact is I don’t want to root for cops. I don’t want to be on their side, even in a fictional sense because to do so would play into the idea that we need the police, that police officers aren’t that bad. And, since we know the police are regularly targeting and killing black people with little to no consequences, that is an idea that I do not find entertaining in the least.
Though season eight is already in development, it’s really not even needed. Season seven already delivered on everything the fans could want. And given the way we know policing is going, by the time the eighth season airs is there going to be anyone left who really wants to watch it?