Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been one of the funniest shows in the last decade and definitely belongs within the ranks of iconic law enforcement comedies along with Police Squad and Night Court. With the eighth and final season, the bar wasn't even that high for me to close the chapter of the Nine-Nine. Unfortunately, it spent most of that time trying to apologize for what it is at its very core. Sure, as a police-themed series, there's always going to be an element of glorifying the institution, but at the same time, we tune in to be entertained to escape and laugh.
Before the George Floyd muder, the series already addressed a major issue with the police in profiling in an earlier season episode, "Moo Moo," where Sgt Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), who's not in uniform, gets profiled by a white beat cop in Terry's own neighborhood. Terry attempts to go up the chain before Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) told him to carefully pick his battles more to change from within as he gets promoted citing his own struggles as a gay black officer while rising up the ranks. What do we get for a follow up to address police corruption?
Det. Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) resigns her position from within the NYPD citing the Floyd case and decided to become a private investigator in the season eight premiere. It's a story that is "spelled out" by another officer in the chain of command on why it's hard to get problematic cops off the streets. It's a significant life-changing moment that never really gets explored again in the remaining episodes other than when it called for an "outsider" to excuse lazy writing. Hell, they could have just brought in Adrian Pimento (Jason Mantzoukas) since he was already a PI for that. While it was nice to see him in the finale, it was just another lost opportunity to see him more in season eight. The point is if the ultimate goal for Rosa to leave the force, then we should have spent the season going through that with her instead of an abrupt explanation in the premiere within that lone episode.
Another major arc introduced the deteriorating relationship of Holt and spouse Kevin Cozner (Marc Evan Jackson), which provided its own tease of Holt wanting to leave the NYPD since he's convinced his work is driving them apart. The showrunners thought for whatever reason felt the need to redefine Jake's "two dads" to a more traditional romantic relationship, which was very specifically defined in previous seasons as no public displays of affection while having a normal sex life. Raymond and Kevin never needed to be a rom-com, but season eight turned into one that felt like the series ran out of things to talk about than fulfill a need.
While we had one Craig Robinson Doug Judy-centric episode, the only other major guest star was a new antagonist Frank O'Sullivan, played by John C. McGinley. It felt like a waste of his talents with what he's shown on Scrubs just to be regulated to such a role that could easily be fulfilled by Dean Winters' The Vulture or even Phil Reeves' John Kelly. If it weren't for the fact that the series decided to kill Kyra Sedgewick's Madeline Wuntch, she could have easily filled this role too.
You know what could have helped the final Boyle-family episode? How about Charles' lover in Holt's former assistant Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti)? In the very least, Peretti's more than held her own as a driving force in the series. She was easily a highlight of every heist episode including the finale. It's not just past cast members, the series could have took advantage of. The fact that Dirk Blocker's Hitchcock wasn't given squat to do the entire final season outside of a cheap punchline from a tablet not to mention his only physical appearance with the rest of the cast in the finale was a travesty.
The way the quality or lack thereof came out of the final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it's no wonder why NBC decided to burn off all the episodes two at a time. I find it ironic that the series' YouTube channel is still pumping out best of compilation supercuts, because it's a sad reminder of how funny the show once was until its final season. At least the finale was satisfying.