Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back with a vengeance. Fox tried to cancel it and, within 24 hours, NBC had picked it up for another season. Now, we’ll get to see the stories of Jake, Amy, Terry, Captain Holt, and everyone else continue for the foreseeable future.
We all know and love the show’s main characters: the goofy, yet competent detective Jake; the dorky, straight-laced Amy; the yogurt-loving family man Terry; the fierce badass Rosa; the weird, food-obsessed Charles; the incorrect duo of Hitchcock and Scully; the strict, deadpan Captain Holt; and his sarcastic, social media savvy assistant Gina. But the show’s cast of characters goes much deeper and wider than that. There are other cops, some of whom even work different shifts in the same precinct, and the main cast’s family and friends from their lives outside work, and love interests, and one-off guest roles. The list is endless. As with any TV show, some of these character additions have worked and become just as beloved as the main cast, but more often than not, the characters have fallen flat and had to be written out.
We’ve been introduced to dozens of new characters across more than 100 episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. So, without further ado, here are 10 Character Additions That Hurt The Show (And 10 That Saved It).
20 Hurt – Darlene Linetti
Sandra Bernhard’s turn as Gina’s mother Darlene Linetti left a lot to be desired. She’s selfish, annoying, and she wasn’t kind to Boyle’s lovely dad. It was like the writers took all the worst qualities of Gina and left out the redeeming factors.
As hard as it may be to believe, Gina is actually one of the show’s least popular characters. She gets a lot of love on social media, because she is an accurate reflection of the social media users who are writing those posts. But other viewers have posted on Reddit that Gina is their least favorite character because of her arrogance. The difference between Gina and Darlene, however, is that Gina is a good person at heart. Darlene isn’t.
19 Saved – Teddy Wells
Teddy is not a likable character, but his infatuation with Amy never fails to get a laugh. He’s been used just the right amount – he’s always funny and it never feels old. Teddy began as the wedge between Jake and Amy, but now that they’re happily together, he’s just the weirdo on the sidelines who still thinks there’s a love triangle despite the fact that one of them has clearly won Amy’s heart.
Whether it’s proposing to her in front of Jake or hurting her professionally to get a date out of her, his obsession with Amy paired with her determination not to lead him on in any way make Teddy a welcome addition to the show.
18 Hurt – Victor Santiago
While Jimmy Smits does a good job of playing Amy’s father as a strong influence on her, with the same care for organization and police work as her, he’s not a comedy guy. He’s engaging when he plays dramatic roles in shows like L.A. Law, The West Wing, and Dexter, but he’s not funny. His character isn’t even written as funny.
The father who disapproves of his daughter’s life choices is a character that has been written into every sitcom for decades. There’s nothing original about the father whose child always fails to impress him, and so there’s nothing fresh or interesting about this character in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
17 Saved – Lynn Boyle
Stephen Root is great in everything, so of course he makes the list. He’s done both comedy (Office Space, Dodgeball, The Men Who Stare at Goats) and drama (No Country for Old Men, Get Out) brilliantly. Also, he plays Boyle’s father so well as an even more exaggerated version of Boyle himself.
Much like John Lithgow did when he played Will Ferrell’s dad in Daddy’s Home 2, Root takes all of the traits that the actor imbues into his character’s son – in this case, the feminine behavior and vocal inflections of Joe Lo Truglio – and exaggerates them so the audience can see where the son got them from. It’s quite masterful, and always very funny.
16 Hurt – Jack Danger
It was a great idea to have a character with the name Jack Danger be the lamest, blandest, most boring character ever created. Plus, Ed Helms is usually great – especially in The Office, one of Michael Schur’s other TV comedies. But the Jack Danger joke wore thin very quickly and, while he began the episode as boring in a funny way, he had just become genuinely boring by the end.
The episode “USPIS” in which the character appears is not a weak episode of the series, but the guest character that it revolves around is weak. Andy Samberg manages to carry the scenes with Jack Danger in them, but it’s just a shame. Helms deserves better.
15 Saved – Cagney and Lacey Jeffords
It’s important that Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s least masculine character (except maybe Charles) is played by Terry Crews. It says a lot about gender roles. Terry loves yogurt and he’s the most scared one in the precinct when Jake brings in a tarantula – but most importantly, he is a loving father. By bringing Cagney and Lacey into the show and having Terry commit as a parent, the show gave audiences a truly positive male role model.
The arrival of Terry’s daughters is what made him lose his nerve. He couldn’t go out in the field as a fearless cop anymore, because he couldn’t stand the thought of not getting to see his daughters grow up. It’s so heartfelt and sweet and relatable. It makes Terry even more lovable – if that was even possible.
14 Hurt – Roger Peralta
Jake’s father who abandoned him probably should’ve remained unseen like Howard Wolowitz’s similarly absent father in The Big Bang Theory. He has a bunch of secret families all over the country. Although Bradley Whitford is a fantastic actor, it’s impossible to like Roger Peralta after what he’s done.
Roger has achieved some sort of redemption in recent seasons as he and Karen have gotten back together and she insists he’s changed. The one example of how he’s “changed” is that he brought Karen soup when she was sick. But that’s not enough to undo all the secret double lives and abandoned children and repeated infidelities.
13 Saved – Keith Pembroke (the Vulture)
Okay, the Vulture is a total jerk – but that’s what makes him so great. He’s only great in small doses, which is why the story arc in which he captained the precinct irritated so many fans. But on the whole, he works as a character, because Dean Winters is great at playing the guy you love to hate – he did the same thing with his 30 Rock character.
Part of the longevity of the Vulture character is that he has been around since the fifth episode of the show. So, he was a big part of our introduction into the world of the show – that’s what the first ten or so episodes of a series are for.
12 Hurt – Kate Peralta
In Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s fifth season, Andy Samberg’s SNL cohort Nasim Pedrad guest-starred as Jake’s half-sister Kate. Her erratic and sometimes criminal behavior made her stay with Jake and Amy somewhat entertaining, but she wasn’t a very good character. The strength of the episode came from Jake and Amy’s reactions to the chaos Kate brought into their apartment, but Kate herself was not a strong character.
Pedrad has always been a hilarious comic talent, even as a guest star in other shows. Her guest role in Curb Your Enthusiasm’s most recent season as yet another victim of Larry David’s crusade was hysterical. And it’s a nice touch that she plays Andy Samberg’s sister like she did in a famous SNL sketch. But the character was too insane for the tone of the show.
11 Saved – Genevieve Mirren-Carter
Mary Lynn Rajskub is always brilliant – whether she’s playing the sarcastic, tech-savvy Chloe in 24 or Gail the Snail in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – and she was the perfect casting for the part of Genevieve Mirren-Carter in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Genevieve is the ideal match for Charles Boyle, and she’s just as funny as him, too.
As weird as Boyle is, we always wanted him to be happy, and the only way for him to be happy would be to find a woman who was as unusual and obsessed with food as he is – and in Genevieve, that’s exactly what he got. Now, they have a son, Nicolaj, and a happy life together.
10 Hurt – Captain Seth Dozerman
As hilarious as Bill Hader usually is, his Brooklyn Nine-Nine character was a big disappointment. He was introduced in the third season premiere as Captain Holt’s even stricter replacement, he didn’t have any funny lines, and then he was eliminated. He was the DeAngelo Vickers of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The writers should’ve just started off with the Vulture as Holt’s replacement, since that was the main story arc. It was almost like they had to start the season twice – once with Seth Dozerman and then again with the Vulture. The character was annoying, unfunny, and even worse, unnecessary. He didn’t live up to Hader’s talent, which is a problem that a lot of guest characters in Brooklyn Nine-Nine have.
9 Saved – Fire Marshal Boone
Any excuse to get Patton Oswalt into a sitcom is going to be the right move. He’s one of the best comics working today and he always makes an impact when he appears in a comedy series, no matter how small the role is. This one was sweetened by the connection Boone made with Jake over their fathers abandoning them, breaking down the wall of their rivalry.
Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of Fire Marshal Boone in the future, because he’s a lot of fun. Maybe he and Peralta can team up on an arson case. With his standup performances and starring roles in other shows like A.P. Bio and Happy!, Oswalt might not have the time – but if he could squeeze it in, it would be great.
8 Hurt – Adrian Pimento
Jason Mantzoukas is comedically quite talented, as shown by his roles in The League and The Dictator, but his Brooklyn Nine-Nine character was too intense and insane to ever be endearing. His line delivery, and even the lines themselves, were way too over-the-top to be funny. He would be passable as a one-off guest character, but he had a multi-episode story arc and a romantic relationship with one of the main characters.
When Rosa suspected Pimento of sneaking around behind her back, many fans were rejoicing, because he’d finally be gone from the show. There was a brief terror when he was revealed to have been faithful that he might stick around, but thankfully, Rosa stuck to her guns and dumped him anyway. Good riddance.
7 Saved – Madeline Wuntch
Kyra Sedgwick’s turn as Captain Holt’s cold-hearted rival opened his character up to some of his funniest moments, like when he realized her name rhymed with “lunch” and reacted as though he’d saved the world. She works well as a villain, as she puts all kinds of obstacles in front of Holt’s dreams, so she’s good for story.
Wuntch is not a lovable character like Terry or Boyle, but she is fun to hate, which is what makes a number of minor characters in Brooklyn Nine-Nine work: the Vulture, Teddy etc. Her standoffs and confrontations with Holt are always hilarious, because they each put just as much panache into their line delivery: zero.
6 Hurt – Marcus
Captain Holt’s nephew Marcus was a likable character and a good romantic partner for Rosa, but he just wasn’t funny. He’s one of those characters who audiences don’t actively dislike, but who never makes his mark with any strong jokes or character-driven gags. He was played by Nick Cannon, who is a talented actor, but the problem was in the character’s writing.
He was a good guy who always treated Rosa right and didn’t exhibit any negative stereotypes in his characterization, which is pretty important. But at the end of the day, this is a comedy series, and if a character doesn’t make viewers laugh, then they’re going to turn on them pretty quickly.
5 Saved – Karen Peralta
Katey Sagal can play anyone’s mother – Penny’s, Kelly and Bud Bundy’s, the Hennessy clan’s, even Jax Teller’s – and make them a beloved TV character. She does the same with the role of Jake Peralta’s mother, Karen, in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. All of her line deliveries are pitch perfect and, as always, she’s incredibly watchable.
Karen is characterized perfectly as a classic mom character, too. She loves Diane Keaton, Jane Seymour, red wine, Jimmy Carter, and trying to catch up on society’s norms. Plus, the fact that she left Jake’s dad Roger shows she’s a strong person who won’t take any guff from anyone.
4 Hurt – C.J.
Ken Marino’s comedic persona only works if the balance between brash confidence and inept insecurity is just right. David Wain knows how to strike this balance, which is why Marino’s roles in movies like Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models, and Wanderlust work so well. However, the balance was off in Brooklyn Nine-Nine when he played C.J., the idiotic captain who tried to hide his idiocy from his superiors.
One thing the writers of Brooklyn Nine-Nine are usually great at doing is creating supporting characters you love to hate to populate the world around the characters you love to love (Jake, Amy, Holt, Terry etc.). C.J. was clearly intended as one of these characters, but it didn’t work.
3 Saved – Doug Judy (the Pontiac Bandit)
The way the relationship between Jake and the Pontiac Bandit has developed over the years has been really interesting. He began as a one-off villain, but he’s since come back a few times over the years – and his character becomes more defined and developed with each appearance. Plus, Craig Robinson is hilarious in anything he’s in.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine marked the second time Craig Robinson worked with the show’s executive producer Michael Schur, since the two previously worked together on The Office, which Schur was a writer for. It’s possible that if it wasn’t for their established working relationship, Doug Judy wouldn’t make so many appearances in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, so we have The Office to thank for this character.
2 Hurt – Jess Day
The crossover between Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl was a bad idea from the get-go. Shoehorning Jess Day into an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine where she just happens to help Jake Peralta solve a case is the kind of tacky, forced, gimmicky TV event that we thought we’d grown out of in the golden age of television.
Plus, a lot of people can’t stand Zooey Deschanel’s “adorkable” on-screen persona, so you can’t just force it on unsuspecting viewers. If they like Deschanel, they’ll watch New Girl. If they don’t, they’ll watch something else, like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, so it’s unfair to have her just show up in a completely different series. Even people who do like Deschanel and her show thought this crossover was gratuitous.
1 Saved – Kevin Cozner
Captain Holt’s husband Kevin Cozner may have begun his life on the show as a wordplay gag, but he has blossomed into one of the show’s most important characters. Marc Evan Jackson plays Kevin with such humility and dignity – much like how Andre Braugher plays Holt himself – that he has become a forerunner for positive representation of their community in the media.
The character has always had a believable, engaging relationship with Holt, but in recent seasons, he’s also been developing a great rapport with Jake. The story arc in which the two of them had to live in a safe house together with nothing but Jake’s collection of Nicolas Cage movies was a highlight.