On August 12, Brooklyn ni-ni returned to NBC for his eighth and final season with two episodes, “The Good Ones,” “The Lake House.” Comedy has always been some political and balanced social issue with liars in the workplace, but the eighth season takes it to a new level.
With its final season, Brooklyn ni-ni trying to explore the systemic issues of American law enforcement while still being the easy-going escapism fans that fans know and love. Does it work? The answer falls between “something” and “for the most part, yes.”
[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for season 8 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.]
Rosa quits her job at the season 8 premiere of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’
For all fans hoping the eighth season would open with the beloved team jointly flipping their badges or somehow magically working somewhere that is not a police area, this is not the case. Instead, “The Good” begins with Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) announcing her decision to quit the force.
After the murder of George Floyd, she becomes a private investigator dedicated to helping victims of police brutality. Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) respects her decision, while Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) takes it personally. In his eyes, he assumes that Rosa thinks less of him in order to remain the strength.
Meanwhile, Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) goes beyond being anti-racist, listening obsessively to podcasts and providing replacements where he can, which annoys Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) to no end.
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Outside of Rosa, we do not see any of the main characters’ questions becoming an officer. By the end of the episode, Jake realizes that he may be “part of the problem,” and Holt acknowledges how difficult it has been to be a black man and police officer over the past year.
However, it feels like a missed opportunity not to get more characters to question their careers, and if what they are doing is the best way to help people. Maybe that will change over the course of the season, but it does not happen in the first five episodes that were made available to critics.
‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ tries to balance politics with humor
Before the eighth season, Brooklyn ni-ni had already addressed racial profiling, discrimination, LGBTQ rights and sexual assault. Season 8 of Brooklyn ni-ni sometimes leans more heavily into politics, but it does not completely abandon its premise as a comedy.
The downside of this is that the show can not fully explore the nuances of the topics it introduces, while some of its comedy bits that worked seasons before no longer feel right.
When faced with corruption in the NYPD in “The Good Ones,” Jake finally understands why Rosa left, but he still decides to stay, even though it doesn’t seem like a happy decision.
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Although the episode challenges the “I’m one of the good cops” mentality, it still ends with the attitude that Jake, Holt, Charles, Terry, Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller), Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker ), and formally Rosa constitutes a utopia of “good officers”, while every other officer is corrupt.
By holding somewhere in the middle, Brooklyn ni-ni does itself a disservice. It can introduce thoughtful questions, but it cannot bring itself to answer them.
The characters help the show retain its charm
Although this review may sound overly negative, season 8 of Brooklyn ni-ni is still fun to watch, mainly because of the characters. Despite its shortcomings, the show manages to find a balance, and up the middle is the show that holds most of what made fans fall in love with it in the first place.
After eight seasons, all the actors know their characters inside and out. Because of this, there is an ease to Brooklyn ni-ni which few shows get to experience. The characters evolve but remain true to themselves, giving viewers a sense of security as they watch.
Overall, it would be naive to expect a sitcom to solve the country’s police problems in 10 episodes. Instead season 8 of Brooklyn ni-ni acknowledges what’s wrong on the way out while still giving fans the humor they’ve come to expect.
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