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The Times
Columnist and author Melissa Crawley writes about what's hot on TV.
Funny cops on ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’
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About this blog
Melissa Crawley has a PhD in media studies from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her book: Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television's \x34The West Wing\x34 was published in 2006. She has also published work online ...
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TV Reviews
Melissa Crawley has a PhD in media studies from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her book: Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television's \x34The West Wing\x34 was published in 2006. She has also published work online at PopMatters and Flow as well as chapters in the edited collections: The American President in Popular Culture and The Great American Makeover. Her weekly syndicated television column, Stay Tuned, is part of GateHouse News Service. Follow her on Twitter @melissacrawley
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By smal3082
Sept. 9, 2013 6:12 a.m.



A hard-nosed boss and his talented but undisciplined employee, partners who are polar opposites, the nerdy guy who pines for a woman out of his league, the sarcastic assistant, the tough girl who is secretly nice—all these characters should be familiar to you because versions of them show up in countless TV comedies. It’s not that writers are unoriginal. Rather, these characters are a sort of shorthand in storytelling, a way to immediately communicate a recognizable idea. A comedy loses its way when these characters are so exaggerated that they turn into cliches and become distractions. I’m happy to report that despite having all of the above characters in one form or another, Fox’s new cop comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” avoids this pitfall, making it one of the most promising shows on the Fall schedule.

Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) plays Detective Jake Peralta, an easy-going member of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct whose talent at solving crime has allowed him to get away with playing the class clown at work. When the 99th gets a new boss in the form of no-nonsense Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), Jake has to try and curb his fun-loving approach to police work. This is good news for Jake’s partner, Detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero). Jake and Amy’s relationship is the buddy cop part of the show and like all buddy cop characters, they are polar opposites of one another—in this case ambitious versus care free. Amy is also the straight (wo)man to Jake’s funny man. But “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is not only a buddy cop show. It’s also a workplace comedy which gives the talented ensemble cast a chance to step out of Samberg’s shadow.

Joe Lo Truglio plays the clumsy but hardworking Detective Charles Boyle whose romantic interest in the tough but secretly sensitive Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) is sweet and funny. Chelsea Peretti is civilian administrator Gina Linetti whose deadpan delivery breathes new life into the “sassy assistant” character while Terry Crews’ Sergeant Terry Jeffords is the emotionally fragile strong man who longs for a desk job since becoming a father to twin girls named “Cagney and Lacey.” (Also watch out for Fred Armisen’s brilliant cameo in the Pilot).

But it’s Andre Braugher as Captain Holt who brings the cast together. While his character is the traditional figure of authority, the writers develop it with an interesting twist. They also give him some funny lines that allow his gravitas-filled vocal delivery to have a playful edge.

“Brooklyn Nine Nine” is from the people behind “Parks and Recreation” and if you watch that show you will notice a similar sensibility. But if you don’t or you’re not a fan, I would suggest you check it out anyway. Cop comedies are hard to do and this one is making it look easy.

“Brooklyn Nine Nine” premieres on Fox on Tuesday, September 17 at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

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