By Kyra Beckish
Since 2013, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been sweeping the American sitcom universe. Though critics were unsure about a comedy covering the antics of a New York precinct, Brooklyn Nine-Nine proves to be one of the most progressive shows on television. It tackles police brutality, racism in the police force, racial profiling, and more, by balancing comedy and legitimate issues. With subtle efforts and excellent writing, Brooklyn Nine-Nine efficiently does public relations for the police force.
The Squad Itself
The characters of Brooklyn Nine-Nine are not only lovable, but their multiple personalities break cop stigmas. Young adults often relate police officers to bulky, framing men who seek to arrest, not protect. The show surpasses these standards by employing characters who are perfectionists, goofballs, fatherly, and even slightly narcissistic. Brooklyn Nine-Nine characterizes their detectives as humans with families and lives outside of work. This combats the cop standard and ensures viewers that cops are more than meets the eye.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a great representation of female empowerment. Women in the Nine-Nine are portrayed as strong, independent women who show leadership in the workforce.
Rosa, one of the female members of the cast, is consistently shown as smart, tough, mysterious and a little bit scary. She triumphantly leads a special task force and makes major strides in character development, which is more than can be said for some of her coworkers and other female cops on television.
Amy Santiago doesn’t fall far behind either. Her type A personality motivates her achievement in the precinct, eventually having her earn a sergeant position in the Nine-Nine. She constantly talks about her goal to be a captain one day and purposely attempts to shadow Captain Holt to learn and grow as a detective. Amy is a role model of goal-orientation and deserves the respect she gains as a detective and, eventually, a sergeant.
Instead of facing issues of diversity one by one, Brooklyn Nine-Nine cultivates a diverse and inclusive precinct from episode one. The show features a racially mixed group in the precinct, including Terry and Rosa. In fact, the leader in charge of them all is Captain Raymond Holt, an openly gay married man who serves as the first gay commissioner in the NYPD.
A huge turning point in the series is when Rosa comes out to as bisexual to her colleagues, who are very accepting of her. While the hardships of diversity are shown through Holt’s tough narrative of moving up in the police force and Rosa’s family refusing to accepting her news, the Nine-Nine remains an accepting environment.
Addressing Common Problems
Since most of the show is full of the precincts’ daily antics, when the writers decide to take a different direction, it’s a was a big risk. In season four, Sergeant Terry Jeffords, while carrying a child’s blanket, is stopped by a white police officer. Terry is questioned for being in his own neighborhood and is physically restrained until the officer looks him up in the system and lets him go.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes this issue head on as opposed to pretending it doesn’t exist.
The best line in that episode occurs when Terry explains how he felt that night,
“When I got stopped the other day, I wasn’t a cop. I wasn’t a guy in his neighborhood looking for his daughter’s toy. I was a black man. A dangerous black man. That’s all he could see.”
This look into the reality of racial profiling helps viewers understand just how terrifying it is. Terry ends up filing a report against the officer who stopped him, proving that some sort of justice beginning to be promoted in the police force. Brooklyn Nine-Nine provides both transparency and upcoming change.
What We Takeaway
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is beginning an improvement in television. Its’ groundbreaking diversity, characters and bravery is a model of how to do public relations for an organization constantly facing criticism. The key is to admit faults while simultaneously ensuring that change is on the horizon. Brooklyn Nine-Nine provides hope, but the fate of the police force rests in their hands.