Why Was This The Best Season Yet For ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been one of TV’s most reliably funny and happy sitcoms for its entire run, but the fourth season — which concluded tonight with yet another big cliffhanger — was the show’s best and most consistent so far. Co-creator and showrunner Dan Goor tried a few new things — a season premiere featuring only Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, a more serious episode where Terry got racially profiled by another cop, a bunch of mini arcs where the squad was in some form of peril or other — but it was mainly a matter of execution rather than a radical shift in approach.

I had a long conversation (edited and condensed slightly below) with Goor last week about the season, the cliffhanger where Jake and Rosa were successfully framed and convicted for a dirty cop’s string of bank robberies — which Goor doesn’t know the resolution to yet — the ongoing challenge of making time each week for one of TV’s deepest and funniest comedy ensembles, figuring out where the line is that allows Captain Holt to be both hilarious and in-character, and a lot more, coming up just as soon as I’m in Argentina surrounded by scorpions… or maybe not surrounded by scorpions…

Did it feel like anything was different about the season as you were making it?

I think that, one, we had a really fun start to the season in Florida. And by not having everyone in that first episode, and allowing ourselves to do the special Jake and Holt episode, I think maybe we opened ourselves up to more experimentation, and a more playful attitude. I think we did a lot of episodes of the season that had been pitched that I’d been, in the past, that I’d been to conservative to do. For instance, “Serve & Protect.” I was afraid that was really too meta, but I think maybe I relaxed a little bit and allowed us to have a little bit more fun with the writing staff, and maybe that helped. And then, I just think every year, the actors just become more and more comfortable in their characters and better at their characters. So that always helps, too.

You’ve got a high-class problem, you’ve got seven great regular actors — nine if you’re counting Dirk [Blocker] and Joel [McKinnon Miller] — whom you’re trying to squeeze into 21 and a half minutes of action every week, and it feels like sometimes, the show might be better off if you did just an A-story and didn’t worry about servicing everybody else. You finally did that this year. How did that feel, and had you been toying with doing that before in seasons past?

We’d considered doing it before in a way that would have been, I think, more along the lines of that great Parks and Rec episode from the last season, where Leslie and Ron were walking together. Interestingly, I think the converse is, sometimes we have to spend so much time on the A-story that I think it takes away from the rest of the ensemble. I guess the other way to do that would be just a big A story that has everybody in it. But I sometimes look at Modern Family and think it almost seems like they have B and C-stories only, not a big A-story. And that allows them to service their characters a lot more.

Certainly, I would not have objected if “Serve & Protect” had had another five minutes of eyebrow pumping.

Yes, I know. Trust me, I wish there were more [pumps]. We ended up playing it on a loop, it went on and on two minutes longer.

Jake will always be in that A-story, and then it’s a matter of figuring out who’s paired with him and what everybody else is doing. Is that something that’s become easier over the years?

No, that is still so difficult, I have to say. One thing that I think we also opened up this year was the first time Jake was not in an A-story. It was Terry in “Moo Moo.” And I do think that that opens us up to the possibility of doing that again, or us having an A-story that isn’t driven by Jake. Which we’ve done occasionally with Charles, where it’s Charles’s story and Jake is along for the ride. I think in season five, you’ll probably see more stories where it’s like, it’s Terry’s story with Jake, where it’s Holt’s story with Jake. I just think ultimately, we’re gonna have to do that.


Because you just run out of stories to tell for one person. Those Charles stories with Jake are some of my my favorite stories we’ve done. I’m talking about like “Fancy Brudgom,” we’ve always told them slightly from a Jake point of view, but it’s a bit of a cheat. They’re really Charles’s stories. And sometimes you need to give the other characters an A-story type of problem or drive, and it would be fun to see Jake on those stories.

You’re pretty democratic about rotating in different people to be Jake’s partner in the A-stories. Does it start out as, “It’s time to do a Jake and Rosa episode, what would be a fun story for them?” Or is it, “Here’s a story, and it would be most fun if Rosa was his partner as opposed to Terry or Boyle”?

It’s a little bit of both, but it’s primarily the former. Usually, what happens is, at the beginning of the season, there are certain episodes where we know what we’re gonna do. And those are planned out, like we might know, “Okay, Halloween is primarily a Jake-Holt story.” With “Moo Moo,” I think originally we might have thought “That’s a Terry-Jake story.” We put those up, and then after that, we started going episode by episode, and we’re not that far ahead. So there’s a lot of, “Who have we done a lot of recently?” “Oh we just did Jake-Terry, we just did Jake-Holt, Jake-Charles… We haven’t done a Jake-Amy in a while. We haven’t done a Jake-Rosa in a while.” But then there’s sometimes where we have a story broken, and we might break it into a Jake-Charles story, and then we go, “You know, we really haven’t done Jake-Terry in a while, is there any way we can preserve this story and change it around, figure out a different person to do it with?” And then there’s some where we end up with like two or three Jake-Charles stories in a row, or Jake-Holt stories in a row, and that just kind of happens.

Are there certain combinations you feel like you haven’t done enough, and would like to do more of this character and this character together?

Yes. I think we could do more Jake-Gina. The difficult thing there is always just that she’s not a cop, and primarily we put Jake on cop stories. But obviously, they have a history together, and I always think it would be fun to do more Jake-Gina stories. I’m fine that we do Jake-Rosa stories sort of happen in bursts, but I think I always feel like we do more Jake-Rosa. The other one that I really feel like we could more of is Jake and the gang. I really like those episodes, when we sit down and it’s everybody together, like “Cop-Con” this year. Especially those first acts, where everyone’s just getting involved together, I love them. And they’re just very hard to figure out. So I think we shy away from them, but I really usually like the end result. I mean, “Holt’s Party,” “Beach House,” those episodes going way back have always been some of our strongest.

You’ve done more Scully and/or Hitchcock-specific stories this year. These guys have always been funny, but how did you realize you needed to give them more to do?

That’s a little bit like Parks and Rec giving Donna and Jerry more stories as time went on. One, you have a natural curiosity about them. They’re a part of the world more and more. There’s a lot of, I think, viewer demand to see more of them. So the writers love that. I think the number of jokes that end up on the cutting room floor for them is the highest. Because when you’re looking for a joke to end a scene, even if they’re not in the scene, there’ll be times where the writers have pitched a bunch of Hitchcock and Scully jokes, and I’ll be looking at them and say, “I don’t think Hitchcock and Scully are even in the room right now.” They’re like, “Yeah, yeah, but we could get them in the room.” But they’re obviously the most fun characters to write for. The tough thing is, as with Parks and Rec, as they become more and more full-membered in the cast, there’s even more people to serve them. It becomes more difficult. But they’re great, so it’s always really fun to do stories with them. They’re just so great.

Where do you draw the line at how chummy Holt can be with the rest of the squad?

That ends up being a thing we struggle with all the time. I feel like we have the weight of history on one side — which is to say, we have very clearly moved him into a chummier and chummier relationship with them. And then we have the promise of good stories and the conflict, which suggests that he should not be as chummy with them. And those things butt up against each other. So there are times where a story gets pitched, in which Holt is really butting heads with them, and the question just becomes, is that believable? I mean, he was very good friends with them one episode ago. And then the converse of that is, how can he be such good friends with them? He’s Holt, and he’s the boss! So we feel it out, and I think we try to err towards the side of keeping him the boss as much as possible, because we need that for stories. There are some ways I think we could try to reset it a little bit, where the underlying love and chumminess is there, but some of the butting heads can be reintroduced next season. I have some ideas. Even still, there’s the odd couple aspect of him, especially with Jake. Even if they were best friends, they’re gonna bump heads.

Related to that: Where do you draw the line on Holt being ridiculous, and saying silly things and going along with some of the stuff the squad’s doing, like “the full bullpen”?

That is also a feel thing. There are times where I feel like we go too far, and then we over-correct. The problem is, they’re funny every single time. The difficult thing is that Andre is so funny as Holt, especially when Holt breaks character, so to speak. It’s very tempting to do it all the time. That said, each time is funnier if we haven’t done it recently. Again, it’s a balancing act, and we look at it on a case by case basis. That is one of the hardest things to balance. And I think there have been a few times where maybe we’ve gone too far. I wasn’t sure if the model railroad story was going too far, making him a little too childish. Because obviously, if he’s breaking character every time, then that becomes his character, and it’s no longer funny.

Do you remember a similar thing going on with Ron Swanson back in the day?

Yes, for certain that was a debate with Ron Swanson. And I think one of the most powerful things that Greg Daniels did in the beginning was say about Ron Swanson in season one, “This is his character. Everything we do has to be filtered through this character,” because we were pitching in the beginning all kinds of things. “No, he’s just lazy!” He wasn’t. We were really having trouble figuring out Ron Swanson in the beginning. That said, I also think naturally over the course of the show, these kinds of things loosen up. You have to loosen up, and you have to have a little bit of fun. Otherwise it becomes repetitive.

Are there times where you and the other writers are just trying to come up with things that you want to hear come out of Andre Braugher’s mouth?

Yes. There are times where I’m in the editing room and I’m like, “That wasn’t a joke. It just was funny that Holt said that.” They’re just words, but I think they still make me laugh and we put them in. I really liked the bologna/baloney joke. But there was a debate in the editing room as to whether or not that worked. Then somebody just tweeted at me that that was his favorite Holt moment, and I felt such vindication. Somebody will say something, and it’s just funny. An example of that that is not Holt is the Dianne Wiest Infection. That whole cold open was based on how funny it was to have just Charles saying that line.

That’s definitely my favorite cold open you guys did this season. And it’s unlike any other cold open I think you had done to that point.

Yeah. I love it. It was a huge risk. We were like, “This is either going to be amazing or it’s going to just not work at all.” Then obviously it’s, “Oh, this is amazing.” But we shot it a bunch of different ways with way different lengths of time on the pause just in case.

You’re several years into Jake and Amy being a couple. What have you figured out about how often you need to service that relationship? Or if it even really needs servicing at this point as opposed to it just being a fact of life on a show with a lot of funny people in it?

One, we like the pairing of Jake and Amy. Independent of them being a couple on the show, I think that they are two funny actors together and we can do a lot with their characters. They are one of the pairings we do the most. That said, we don’t always do their relationship stuff. I think the thing we figured out is, we can pair them without making their relationship the primary focus of the story. It underlies the story: They love each other and they act like they love each other and they have problems and conflicts occasionally that relate to that. But we don’t have to start a story between them with the premise, “There relationship is in trouble,” or, “Jake has done something he doesn’t know how to tell Amy.”

We start it often the same way we would start a story between two other characters: What situation would be funny to put the two of these characters in? Then oftentimes it morphs into something more emotional, like the bet between them in “The Fugitive Pt. 1.” We missed the competitive Jake Amy that we had in season one and two, so we reinserted it, but then we also felt like, “Well, they’re dating and they love each other.” That’s why it ended with Jake giving up and telling her he loved her and stuff. So it informed a story that we were already doing.

Every year, you do a cliffhanger that throws a grenade into whatever the status quo is at the time. This is one of the bigger ones with Jake and Rosa being framed and convicted. How did you come up with that idea? And has there been a year where you thought, “Can we just end the season and pick up a new story next year?”

I worry a little bit that people are going to say, “You’re doing the same thing over and over again.” This is a hole that I don’t know how we’ll get ourselves out of. Writers room starts on Monday, and it’s what we’re going to spend a lot of time figuring out. Last year we knew exactly what we were going to do. We ended with the crane shot, and we knew that they were in Florida and what was going to happen. This was a year, definitely, where we thought about just ending it. But I think we would’ve needed to figure something out. I think there’s a world where, if Jake were to become captain, that would impossible at this point, but that would be an interesting grenade. I’d say, “Oh! Next season he’s captain!” That’s interesting. But really we come at this from the Mike Schur/Greg Daniels school of throwing a grenade because it’s interesting and then figuring it out next season.

Parks had a bunch of different instances of, “This could be the series finale if NBC doesn’t bring us back.” Not just at the end of seasons, but sometimes at the 13-episode mark. You’ve never really done that here; you’ve just proceeded as if the show is going to keep going.

Yeah. Parks was, unfortunately and unfairly, a bubble show from the very beginning. Until we were off the schedule for four months or whatever and then came back, we were sort of a solid show. I wouldn’t say we were a ratings hit, but I didn’t feel like our continuing existence was as uncertain. If I could do this season again knowing what I know, I might have changed the cliffhanger. By the end of the season, our ratings were lower because we’d been taken off the air for a while and I think it took time for people to find us again. Our DVR ratings are great and our Hulu ratings are great and everything else, but our live ratings weren’t, such that I was a little bit worried, “What if this is the series ender?” Clearly this would have been a horrible series ender! People would have been, rightly, very upset. Hopefully not with us, but with the idea that that’s how it ended. And it would have been such an atypically cynical view of the world for the show.

Did you know going into the cliffhanger with Gina getting hit by the bus that this would lead into a long hiatus?

We did know that we were going to be taken off the air at that point. The things we didn’t know was we were going to be double pumping all these episodes. It bums me out. I think people watch the two episodes together and feel like we planned to put them together, and we didn’t plan to put any of these two episodes together. What I really didn’t know was what the effect would have on being off the air for that long and not really having much advertising about our return. So the thinking behind the Gina thing, was from the start this year we really wanted to give Chelsea more to do. So we pitched a tremendous number of ideas for her, and among them were “Gina gets hit by a bus” and also “Gina wears a medical halo,” and obviously those two go very well together. We had broken “The Fugitive” and “The Fugitive Pt. 2” because we knew they wanted us to do a big two part episode to go after football on New Year’s Day. Then they said, “Oh, can you add a cliffhanger of some sort?” I was like, “Ah, this is the perfect time to use this.” So it was a little bit constructed out of network demands, but it ended up really cracking me up. When I was in the edit by I was a little surprised by how violently she was thrown over. It was shocking.

People were freaking out about that. I watched it and I laughed, but I had a lot of people asking, “Oh, my God, they didn’t kill Gina, did they?”

I have a friends who runs Criminal Minds, and she texted me, “Did you just kill Gina?” But it’s kind of perfect. If I could do it again, I would do it that way, or even have the bus go faster. It’s such a funny way of doing it.

You’ve dealt with pregnant actresses before on shows and you’ve not made the characters pregnant, like Santiago last year. You decided to make Gina pregnant. Why?

At the risk of patting myself on the back, I think one of the best things I’ve ever done in this business is come up with the idea that Amy was undercover as a pregnant lady to justify her [looking] pregnant. I love that pitch, and it’s like a wink and a nod at the audience, but at the same time it works. So I felt like there was nothing we could do that was going to top it in terms of hiding the pregnancy. But also, we had talked a lot amongst ourselves about whether or not Amy should be pregnant before we decided to hide it with the undercover thing. We decided that we didn’t want Amy and Jake to have a kid yet, and that as a cop who is going out in danger, it was going to change the way we told those stories, maybe. So we decided we weren’t ready for that, and, therefore, we had to hide it. With Gina, Gina can be pregnant without being put in danger.

Let’s talk about the Boyle cousins.

I love every single Boyle cousin. They’re so good. Tina Boyle is the greatest actor. How many people weirdly look like Joe [Lo Truglio] but not exactly like Joe?

Where do these pitches come from for the Boyles?

There are certain joke areas that resonate with the writer’s room, and the Boyle cousins is definitely, definitely one of them. Every interaction between Charles and his family is funny to us, so I think by introducing the cousins it allowed us to open that up to even more. But his dad is great, and Sandra Bernhard is great as her mom. I’d love to see the parents again in season five.

Boyle became a dad this year, and not to a baby. Where did the idea for Nikolaj come from?

The original idea behind it was that it would mix up a bunch of relationships. One, Charles loving something more than he loved Jake was a question that we were interested in. Also, it just seemed really funny to us that Charles would instantly be a condescending know-it-all parent towards Terry, who has way more experience. That said, we tried to play that story, that conflict, a bunch of times, and it just became a bummer. So we almost always edited it out. You can see a vestige of it in the third episode of the season, where they bust Jake out. You see Terry and Charles are bickering about their kids. But you want them to root for each other. It’s this problem that we have where all of our characters like each other and are good to each other.

But I think it gave us nice motivation for Charles and a bunch of other stories, like Christmas, and it was nice to have some competition for his affection with Jake. In the Christmas episode, there were a lot of different versions of it. We were trying to get at that real feeling that people without kids have about their friends with kids when their friends with kids first get it. How it’s not easy to do all that, and that is also a little bit icky. But we wrote around that a little bit. We had Jake be a little — not jealous, but annoyed that Charles has a kid. Which we felt was realistic even if not fully likable. There was a version of it that was way less likable, I will say.

Well, a hallmark of both this show and Parks is that you’ve got a lot of likable characters who, for the most part, really get along with one another. How much more difficult does that make writing comedy?

What it really makes more difficult is telling stories, I think, because it makes it so that there’s a lot less conflict. At this point I feel like the characters are so well-defined and our writers have gotten so good at writing jokes for them, that they can write decent jokes often without a tremendous amount of conflict. But the stories become super boring. It’s like, “Why do I care about this? It’s two people who are getting along on a case.” If all the conflict just comes from the case, then the cases have to become incredibly interesting and complicated and detailed, I think. It makes life a lot harder. But it’s also a thing that people really like about the show and that we really like about the show. It also feels believable. These characters feel like they like each other. Whether or not that had to be the way it went, that is the way it’s gone. And any attempts to pull that back begin to feel artificial.

How long had you been wanting to do an episode like “Moo Moo,” and how much pause did you have about doing something relatively serious in a show that, for the most part, is really goofy, silly, and light-hearted?

We had wanted to do an episode like this since season one, and very seriously since season two. In seasons three and four, it became more and more a thing where we felt like if we weren’t doing it, it almost felt like we were sticking our head in the sand. That said, we wanted to make sure if we were to do it, we did it right. That’s a hard thing to do with 21 minutes and 35 seconds. It gave us a lot of pause to think about doing a serious episode. One of the complicating factors in building this story and deciding to do it was, we wanted to make sure it still felt like an episode of Brooklyn. We didn’t want it to feel like a completely different, special episode. We allowed ourselves that there would be some scenes which were a little more serious, but in general it should still be funny and still feel like our show.

I really think we pulled it off. There was only one scene that had no jokes in it, because we edited the jokes out. They really didn’t work. That was the scene where Terry and the officer are having dinner together. We had written a running gag in it where the table next to them, there was a proposal going on. And we decided to cut it. It just felt like a distraction and it felt wrong. We didn’t need to undercut that moment.

But we were very uncomfortable about doing something that was either not funny, or had a message we didn’t intend, or oversimplified everything. There were many different iterations of this idea. There were versions where Terry was pulled over for driving while black, there were versions where Terry and Holt went undercover at a black barbershop and the people in the black barbershop were talking about how they disliked the cops, and Terry and Holt had to pretend, because they were undercover, like they also disliked the cops. Then their covers were blown because they had to help with an arrest. In a later scene, Holt said, “I’m gonna go back and get my hair cut there,” and Terry said, “What are you talking about? They know you’re a cop. They hate cops.” Holt’s like, “Yes, but they give a great haircut,” and I’m sure he was basically like, “Any honorable barber will keep his political opinions to himself.” Then it was going to slam cut to him walking back in with a Mohawk. He’s was like, “Apparently he did not keep his opinions to himself.”

But the stories always kind of broke down for one reason or another. We talked to a bunch of cops, a bunch of black police officers, and eventually we came up with this story. But our problem, which goes back to your earlier question, was that all of our characters get along, and all of our characters are fairly woke. So the question became, where’s the tension? We don’t want it to just be all of them sitting around talking about what a jerk the white police officer is, and it feels gross to have one of them be the Poindexter, or whatever the expression is, and just go like, “D-d-d-did he really make a big mistake?” That didn’t feel right.

I invited Andre up to my office and I pitched him the story as we had it. I got to the part where Terry asks Holt to endorse his complaint. I said, “Of course Holt does that, and then I’m not exactly sure what happens. Maybe there’s blowback, and blah, blah, blah.” He said [Andre Braugher impression], “I don’t think Captain Holt would do that. I think Captain Holt would tell him, ‘Don’t file a complaint.'” I was like, “What?” It was this great moment. What he said is basically what we put in the episode. It felt to me really like a Ron Swanson moment where Ron Swanson said a thing that seemed wrong but was consistent with their character and had a rationale behind it.

So we wrote the whole thing, and there was a version of it at the table that was basically exactly the same story except it ended much more clearly on an up note. Terry had done the right thing, no question. That also felt disingenuous. So that’s why we ended it with Terry doesn’t get the promotion, and it’s probably because of what he did. Also, he doesn’t know if it’s right. It just ends with the two of them saying, “It’s tough.” It was another sort of Parks and Rec-y moment to just have Captain Holt and Terry end the episode having a glass of whiskey and talking about what happened. That felt like a Leslie-Ron moment.

Phil Jackson wrote the script, and it was one of the scripts for which we’ve done the least rewriting. He handed in such a great first draft. But I love the end where Terry says, “It’s tough,” and Holt goes, “Yeah, it’s tough.” We’re not saying there’s an easy answer. But, yeah, that was a really challenging episode. We spent a lot of time on it. We shot it with a lot of different levels. In the scenes where Officer Maldack stops him, we made sure that we had that more aggressive, less aggressive, etc. And the conversation between Terry and Holt, we got at all different levels, because, really, it was uncharted territory for us and we really wanted to make sure we got it right.

Now having done that, do you want to do another serious episode? Or do you feel like this was something you had to do, but it maybe isn’t something you should keep doing?

I think we will do more of them, as long as we continue to do them in the way that we did them. In other words, I don’t think we would ever force it, but I think that if we can do a Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode that touches on something more serious but still feels like the show, I think we will. There are a few issues that feel like they’d be interesting and natural. We haven’t done much with the fact that we have two Latina cops, especially in an era where sanctuary cities are a big deal. I could see us trying to figure out an episode about the sanctuary cities. Maybe a witness who won’t come forward because of their immigration status, or something. And we haven’t done a tremendous amount with female cops in a very male-dominated organization like the NYPD. But, again, we won’t force anything. We will only do these episodes if we crack them. I will say it was really fun to do. It was interesting and it required a different part of the brain, so I want to do it again because I think we all really enjoyed doing it.

At this point, which is harder to crack: a Halloween episode or a Pontiac Bandit episode?

This year was the easiest Halloween we ever cracked. I don’t know why. I knew from the start that I wanted it to be Gina, and that Gina’s teeth were going to get knocked out. So somehow those two facts made it very easy to break. Pontiac Bandit is always really difficult. The thing we did this year that made it slightly easier is, we just said, “He doesn’t have to escape.” With the Halloween, people always say they saw it coming, but regardless, the twists and turns and flashbacks are part and parcel with the episode. With Pontiac Bandit it felt like the real strength of the episode is the chemistry between Jake and the Pontiac Bandit, and that we didn’t need to spend as much time dealing with his machinations.

That said, we have a really good Halloween idea for season five. Mike [Schur] pitched it; giving him full credit. It’s the best pitch for an episode, I think we’ve had, ever on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I think it’s good. Well, I’m putting way too much pressure on it.

Craig Robinson’s doing a new show, but it’s a show on Fox. I know it’s really early, but do you have any idea if he’s even going to be available to do another episode for you?

I don’t know if he’s going to be available, and I don’t know if it will be weird. They’re on a different night. I really hope so. He’s the best. I love him; I think he’s so great. I think his chemistry with Andy is fantastic. So I’m really hopeful that we get to do another Pontiac Bandit this year.

Rosa telling Holt he and Kevin just need to bone, and Holt’s extended meltdown over that — what was the origin of that?

I had a desire to tell a story about Holt and Kevin that you would tell for a straight couple. That was the impetus. In the backstory we knew that we wanted Holt and Kevin to be having trouble because they hadn’t seen each other because Holt had gone away undercover. That is one of those stories where it was built around the idea that it seemed funny to have Holt say, “Boned?” And to have Rosa say to Holt, “You just need to bone. You two just need to bone.” Also, it felt kind of cool and transgressive, in a way. I don’t think you hear gay characters talk about boning on TV the way you might with a straight character. So we liked that about it, too. We had those moments all along, and the toughest thing to crack about it was the rest of it. After the table read, we came up with the Monty Hall problem idea, which felt of a piece with the other math logic problem we’d given Holt, which I really enjoyed.

Andre has a lot of great moments in this season, but him standing in the doorway shaking up and down and screaming, “BOOOOOOONE!” is probably my favorite.

I know. I wish they had done one more take so we could have cut in one more “BOOOOONE.” That and the eyebrows I could’ve watched go on for a full minute.

Yep. And he helped you break the “Moo Moo” story. Is there anything Andre Braugher can’t do?

Apparently not. I wish I could come up with something funny he couldn’t do. I give him a lot of credit for that. And Terry was also instrumental because he had told us about a number of instances where he was profiled in some way, so that was an impetus as well. I thought Terry really held his own. That’s not an easy thing to do, and I thought he did a great job.

Finally, you went through three or four status quo grenades just over the course of this season. You start off, they’re in Florida, then you come back, they’re demoted to the night shift, then the Nine-Nine is going to close. Why were there so many of them in this year?

I think that somewhat goes back to your question of is it more difficult to write a show where everyone gets along? Part of it is that you end up needing external stakes. We provided a lot of external stakes by doing those things. That’s one aspect of it. Another aspect is, they all seemed like interesting arcs that provided multiple story lines. We grabbed at them as they came up.

You not only don’t know yet how you’re going to wrap up the cliffhanger, but you’ve now done four different things this year that could’ve been a whole season arc. Are you worried at all about what material that you’re going to come up with for next year?

Yeah. Always. We’ll come up with something.

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@uproxx.com