As I rewatched the light-hearted humour and low-key jabs at current political and cultural issues that we grapple with, I made note of some of the best moments the series has to offer. Here are the top nine Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes.
Also, there will be spoilers. You have been alerted.
Moo Moo – Season Four Episode 16
Easily the most serious episode of the series, Moo Moo sheds light on the issue of racial profiling and bias in policing. After completing his shift, Terry is stopped within his own neighbourhood without cause or reason; simply for being a man of colour.
The episode was right on the nose in its explanation and portrayal of an issue that plagues policing. Often, comedies try to tackle real life issues and overdo the laughable moments. This episode of Nine-Nine did a fantastic job of committing to the gritty tone and interspersing jokes to lighten some of the load.
Terry’s one-on-one’s with Holt, where the two debated the best courses of action, were the best parts of the episode. It showed that no matter who you are or what rank you hold, doing the right thing should always be paramount.
Pontiac Bandit – Season One Episode 12
We all have that one thing that continues to elude us, whether it is those perfect grades or fitness goals. For Peralta, it is Doug Judy the Pontiac Bandit.
Not only was this episode such a blast to watch, it spawned an entire Pontiac Bandit sub-plot that continues to span the series. Further episodes see the Bandit continually outsmart Peralta, including while on a holiday cruise with Santiago in season three and a staged hostage situation during season five.
While the premise for the episode of Peralta screwing up as he failed to listen to clear and sound advice is not original, the chemistry between Andy Samburg and Craig Robinson works perfectly. The duo form the best reoccurring guest star and main cast pairing in the whole Nine-Nine series.
The Vulture – Season One Episode 5
Nine-Nine‘s episodes are never subtle about the themes or issues they tackle. The Vulture is a prime example of this.
Peralta decides to investigate a murder case alone despite offers of help from some of his coworkers. Peralta’s progress falters causing the case to be snatched up by Major Crimes. The episode emphasizes the critical factor that team work plays in resolving conflicts. The ensemble working together to solve the case before Major Crimes does makes for a memorable episode. It also neatly sets up a hilarious reoccurring problem of Major Crimes swooping in to take credit for something they do not do.
Jake and Amy – Season Five Episode 22
It seems like every single TV show in history has tried to include a wedding episode into it. Nine-Nine takes this in a different way. Santiago and Peralta’s wedding takes a turn for the worst when a bomb threat materializes.
The version of the wedding that does end up taking place is completely stripped down. It is short and sweet. This would have been the perfect series finale, if it had to have been. Of all the TV vows, Santiago’s take the cake.
Halloween, Part III – Season Three Episode 5
These type of wacky shenanigan filled episodes really heavily on characterization. Nine-Nine nails it every time. A sign of the shows greatness is in how it recognizes not how different the characters are, but in how similar they are. Holt and Peralta are not just competitive, they think the same way despite their polar personality types.
The third heist was a pleasant surprise as neither of the two previous contenders were even in the running. Further, this episode set the stage for the fourth instalment in the ongoing heist series where it was a free for all and not a competition limited between Holt and Peralta.
Stakeout – Season Two Episode 11
Peralta and Boyle are tasked with overseeing an eight-day stakeout to sniff out information on a Ukrainian mob. The two refuse to have a relief team relieve them and spend all eight days cooped up together. The disaster that ensues is perfect.
Everyone has those quirks about a friend that they cannot stand. The two decide to codify those on the wall of their stakeout room in a “no-no” list. I will never forget how bad an idea the no-no list was as it escalated more and more.
Mr. Santiago – Season Four Episode 7
The worst fear of a dating couple is meeting their significant other’s parents. Nine-Nine tackles this in a way it only could, with Mr. Santiago and Peralta solving a case together. Peralta’s decision to go full Santiago by preparing a binder of information describing Mr. Santiago’s life and preferences plays out in a fantastic way.
Despite only being the ‘mandatory’ thanksgiving episode for the season, Mr. Santiago proves to be an enjoyable offering to the Nine-Nine series.
The Box – Season Five Episode 14
“The Box” has a very simple, yet captivating, premise. Peralta has 48 hours to crack a suspect through interrogation otherwise the case the detective has against him will fall through. I would argue this is the best written episode of Nine-Nine so far.
Automatically, audiences believe that Peralta is right to assume the suspect’s guilt because they believe that the Nine-Nine squad are always in the right. As the episode plays out, cracks emerge. Further, this episode is integral when it comes to the Holt and Peralta relationship. It clearly codified the father and son relationship that the two share.
The rest of the cast are noticeably absent during the episode. However, this does not detract from the overall experience. In fact, it only goes to highlight the complexity and depth to both Holt and Peralta as characters.
The Party – Season One Episode 16
I always wonder what my co-workers are like out of the workplace. This episode satisfied that pondering of how the Nine-Nine’s characters would react at a fancy house party.
It’s Holt’s birthday and Kevin invites the precinct over to celebrate. This episode demonstrated that Nine-Nine can function without a plot and rely solely on characterization to drive an episode forward. It was chock-full of laughs. To this day I will never forget Peralta trying to talk his way through a conversation about an article in The New Yorker he “read.”