by Julian Spivey
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” ended its eight season, two network (Fox and NBC) run on Thursday, Sept. 16 with “The Last Day,” a finale that truly had something for every fan of network television’s best sitcom of the last decade.
The final season of the show was a bit hit or miss, though with more hits and the biggest miss being that it only ended up being nine episodes, but there was nothing to really complain about with “The Last Day.”
The episode begins with the Nine-Nine’s final heist – where all our favorite characters compete in one final epic game to determine the best heister of the precinct. The show’s heist episodes, which they did on almost a yearly-basis, often proved to be among the show’s highlights.
We find out early in the episode that this final heist is really just an elaborate way for Det. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) to say goodbye to the precinct, as he’s made the decision to become a stay at home dad, as wife and co-worker Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) takes an important promotion within the NYPD.
There were some things I feel like all fans of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” wanted from the finale – to be heist related, to see Capt. Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) get one more sick Madelyn Wunch burn in and the return of Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), Holt’s ex-assistant who left the series in its sixth season.
There were also as couple of nice, heartfelt cameos in the finale that I didn’t even realize until after the viewing: the precinct’s janitor Dan is portrayed by series co-creator Dan Goor and the random Berlin Philharmonic cellist Holt includes in the heist game is played by Samberg’s real-life wife and multi-instrumentalist Joanna Newsom.
I don’t want to get too into what happens within the heist just in case some reading haven’t gotten around to watching the episode yet, but it’s fulfilling.
The most touching moment of the finale for me as a longtime fan of the series is the final heart-to-heart moment between Capt. Holt and Jake, a duo that’s always played well off each other despite the immense differences between the characters. These two were peanut butter and caviar (I’m sure you can guess which is which), but it always just made for the perfect laugh.
Braugher’s performance as Holt was my absolute favorite on any long-running TV comedy over the last decade. Braugher was always known for dramatic rolls, especially his Emmy-winning turn on NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Streets” in the ‘90s and it surprised many to see him among the cast of a broad comedy. But his dry reading of Holt and the writing staff’s completely owning of the character from day one made the character an all-time great. Braugher has been nominated four times for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance and will be eligible for a fifth in 2022 for the final season, but if he finishes his run without an Emmy win (which is highly likely) it’ll be one of the greatest performances ever to never win.
The entire cast of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was incredible and importantly it was maybe the most diverse cast on television. I know some are going to roll their eyes at that sentence but seeing all sorts of folks together as one on TV is not just hopeful, but honestly realistic.
I was never really going to be ready to let “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” go, as I still felt it was even in its eighth season one of the best comedies on television. But the show went out as well as it possibly could, and it did so by remaining true to itself and not going for some sort of television altering creative finale (which it pokes fun at in a scene where Jake is tricked into thinking he’s been in a coma for seven years). Well done “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” I salute you.