Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ – ‘Old School’

Senior Television Writer
11.12.13 28 Comments

A quick review of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as I choke a hippie to death with his own ponytail…

The wild, violent, at times astonishingly corrupt NYPD of the late 1960s and early 1970s – as famously chronicled in movies like “Serpico” and “The French Connection” – casts a shadow over many pop cultural depictions of the NYPD in more recent decades. The cops on “Barney Miller” didn’t long for the good ol’ days, because they had just made it through them alive, but it’s not hard to imagine a young 21st century cop like Jake Peralta – one who we know is obsessed with movies about cops (including another “Die Hard” reference here) – becoming obsessed with that period, which provides all the premise that “Old School” needs to work.

A few of you noted that last week’s “48 Hours” was actually one of the very first episodes produced, which assuages some of my concerns about it being yet another tale of Jake Peralta, 12-year-old detective. More recently-produced episodes like “M.E. Time,” “Halloween” and now “Old School” have done much better by our hero, allowing him to bring comic misfortune down on himself without making him seem like Doogie Howser, P.D. Stacy Keach – who played an LA analogue of these kinds of ramshackle ’70s cops in “The New Centurions” – made an appropriate and funny ambassador from that era (I especially liked his ability to nap instantly), and the story’s resolution broke the already-tired pattern of Jake screwing up because he won’t listen to Holt’s advice, only to pay attention at the last possible moment. Here, Jake causes trouble solely because he’s standing up for the captain, and doesn’t even bother telling Holt what he did. A nice character story for Jake, Santiago and Holt all together.

Couple that with a B-story about Terry and Charles coaching Rosa about her courtroom demeanor that used all three characters well (and continued the Schur/Goor trend from “Parks and Rec” of funny montages of people trying on strange outfits) and didn’t overstay its welcome, and you’ve got another promising outing for the rookie comedy.

What did everybody else think?

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