“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” just wrapped up its strong second season with its best episode of the year, dealing with Jake and Amy's awkward attraction for each other, Captain Holt trying to avoid being promoted out of the Nine-Nine by Chief Wuntch, and Boyle helping Diaz on her birthday. Rather than do a review, I reached out to “Brooklyn” co-creator and showrunner Dan Goor with some emailed questions about both the events of the finale and season 2 as a whole, coming up just as soon as I Don Johnson it…
Did you know when you made the finale who the new captain would be? If not, do you know now, whether the specific performer or at least the type of character it is? And what are you comfortable saying?
Season 1 ended with Jake leaving the squad, but for an assignment that we knew would probably lead him back to the Nine-Nine. Now you've reassigned Holt, and while I assume you're not looking to part ways with Andre Braugher, this is presented as something that will be harder to undo. Why did you want to go in this direction at the end?
Did you have any storytelling goals going into season 2 beyond being as funny as you could? Were there certain story ideas or character combinations that were inspired by the first season that you tried to incorporate?
The season begins with Jake and Amy dealing with the awkwardness of his feelings for her, and it ends with them making out for real, but in between, you only touched on that stuff intermittently. Having done a bunch of romances on Parks that burned at different rates, how do you decide how quickly you wanted this to happen, and how often you needed to stoke that fire in the interim?
Related to that, one of the things that feels unique about the Jake and Amy tension is how open they've been with each other about it. There's been very little Jim & Pam-style secret pining on this show, and even outside love interests like Sophia and Teddy never stuck around too long. Do you think some comedies overdo it in erecting obstacles between potential lovers, or was there something specific about this pair of characters that allowed you to have them frequently talk and joke about how at least one has feelings for the other?
Also in the romance department: is Boyle's crush on Rosa gone for good? There were several times throughout the season, where I wondered if his feelings for her were going to resurface, but he seemed happy to help her with Marcus instead. If you're done with that aspect of their relationship completely, why?
A few times this season, you had stories building to Jake having a brief psychological epiphany about his abandonment issues, or a bunch of deaths he feels responsible for. He tends to be a very light-hearted character; do you feel he needs more shading than you had previously given him? And should we expect more of that in the future?
Where did the idea for Madeline Wuntch come from? And beyond her skills as an actress, how much of a bonus did you think it was to have The Closer taking on Frank Pembleton?
Is there a whiteboard in the writers room where you guys keep track of all the things that Terry likes? Or is it safe to assume that he likes most things by now?
You're juggling a big cast (counting Joel and Dirk), and the show also incorporated a lot of guest stars this year like Garret Dillahunt, Ed Helms, Eva Longoria and the return of Craig Robinson, among others. How tough is it to find material for everyone in a given episode, and especially in ones with prominent guests? Are you ever tempted to give one of the regulars a super-light week – say, Gina is on her phone the whole time but occasionally glances up long enough to insult Boyle – or would that feel like waste of a natural resource?
In “Sabotage,” we see that Scully and Hitchcock can actually be good detectives when they feel properly motivated. We've talked before about finding the sweet spot between making the characters seem plausible as cops and letting them be funny; did you feel it was necessary to tell the audience that these two weren't total clowns, or was it just an unexpected story you could tell? And should we look forward to future bursts of competence, or was that a one-time thing?
You did sequels to both “Halloween” and “Pontiac Bandit.” Should we expect both – and perhaps “Jimmy Jab Games” as well – to become annual features, like the Tammy episodes on “Parks” or the Bar Wars episodes on “Cheers,” or did both of those just happen on their own?
Dan Goor: I think that as long as we keep having good ideas for “Halloween” and the “Pontiac Bandit,” we will continue making them annual features. They are really tough to break, but really fun to watch. I don't think we'll add any more sequel-y episodes, because if we do too many, it begins to feel like the whole season is just a repeat of the season before. When we were breaking season 2, we originally had a few other “pt.2″'s on the board, but we felt like we risked annoying the audience.
Two months later, people are still arguing about the solution to Captain Holt's brain teaser. Does this please you, or do you wish you had chosen one that was less ambiguously phrased?
“HOT DAMN!” Discuss. And, more broadly, where do you draw the line for jokes about Holt acting out of character so that these non-robot moments don't start to feel routine?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org