TV Review: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 2, Episode 1 “Undercover” (USA, 2014)


When we left the Nine-Nine precinct at the end of Season 1, Det. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) was asked to go undercover for the FBI, his unrequited feelings for fellow detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) were still, well, unrequited, Terry Crews was still a large mass of comedic dynamite and Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) had hooked up with a grieving Det. Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), who had lost his foodie fiancée to Canada.

And so begins season 2 of Golden Globe winning Brooklyn Nine Nine (in 2014 it won for Best Comedy Television Series and crowned Andy Samberg Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy).  Season 1 was a breathe of fresh air in sitcom land, mostly for its SNL brand of comedy and its diverse cast.  We’ve seen kooky workplace settings done in comedy before, but none with the likes of Andre Braugher as stern but fair Captain Holt and the precinct’s resident double whammy of incompetence, Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker).  And that’s what sets this programme apart from the others.

If you feel the same way, then you would’ve also had some pretty high hopes for the first episode of the new season.  If you were expecting line after line and scene after scene of bright comedic gems (i.e. learning Holt’s husband’s name is Kevin Cozner, watching Boyle go “full Boyle” or hearing Scully talk about his foot by describing it as “all wart”), then you’ll be sorely disappointed, but that’s because it would take a whole season to deliver all these great moments.

Season 2 starts with Jake finally returning to the precinct after his stint undercover.  All goes well, except for one mafia member who has escaped.  Jake needs to go back undercover for a short period to catch the man, and takes Boyle along for backup.  The bromance between Jake and Charles is great to see in Truglio and Samberg’s scenes together, and if there are more scenes and storylines involving the two of them, this season will be pretty good.  Charles acts like a cross between an excitable puppy and a lovesick schoolgirl around Jake, while Jake on his part loves his best bud’s undying attention and adoration.  Charles’ admiration of Jake is so strong, he overcompensates by acting too tough around the mafia ring they’re working and roughs Jake up a bit too much – best line in that scene is Truglio’s, “I got a real wet mouth”, delivered perfectly.  Guest star Jenny Slate of SNL fame (she does great Kim Kardashian impersonations, if you’re wondering) makes an appearance as mob boss’s girlfriend.

Back at the precinct Sergeant Terry Jeffords (Crews) has the rest of the squad running weird drills, much to the dismay of Amy and resident sourpuss, Det. Rosa Diaz (played wonderfully by Stephanie Beatriz).  Armed with a stopwatch and a whiteboard tied around his neck, Terry acts as certain members of the community (or, in one flashback scene, as an “unattended backpack”, where he sat on the ground in the corner of a meeting room chanting “tick, tick, tick”) while he times his team on the efficiency of their response.  Nobody knows why he’s doing this, and this frustrates Amy, Rosa and Terry.  When this is discussed with Capt. Holt, Terry learns that the precinct will have to work with a new commissioner, and this causes Holt some deal of stress (though you’d never know it, Braugher deadpans Holt’s lines so well).  Terry assures his boss that all will be OK, and that he also needs to know the motivation behind team activities.  Best line in this scene is Holt, deadpan to perfection, saying, “Look at that.  You’ve helped me find my smile”.

Brooklyn Nine Nine was described earlier as a breathe of fresh air, however the “will they, won’t they” relationship between Jake and Amy needs to be developed more if we’ve ever to believe the two may get together at any stage during the season.  There was very little reference to Jake telling Amy he had feelings for her, and Amy’s recovery of such momentous information was a little too casual.  By the end of the episode you won’t be alone in thinking the two could be brother and sister, for all the sexual tension they don’t have.

But it’s the OMG factor of Gina and Boyle’s hook-up at the end of season 1 that might be the next romance in Season 2.  Boyle also made no mention of ever being desperately in love with Rosa for half of Season 1, and Rosa doesn’t mention it either.  Gina and Boyle have two scenes where they address their accidental hook-up, and it’s hilarious both times.  Gina tells Boyle they have to keep their illicit one night stand a secret, because she’s trying to maintain her rep of sleeping with men who are “bike messengers or better”.  She’s so disgusted in herself that she wears a naked mole rat sweater as self-punishment.

While it’s too early to tell if Season 2 will be as good or better that Season 1, it seems to be starting off slow, and will hopefully pick up in later episodes.  If the last scene is anything to go by, then it definitely should.


Season 2 of Brooklyn Nine Nine is currently screening on SBS 2 in Australia. Select episodes are also available on SBS On Demand and now on Netflix!


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