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[This story contains spoilers for the series finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.]
Brooklyn Nine-Nine ended its eight-season run on Fox and NBC with a fitting closer: The detectives of the 99th precinct put together one last heist.
Thursday’s hourlong finale, “The Last Day,” took one of the show’s most beloved recurring bits and transferred it from Halloween to Jake’s (Andy Samberg) last day at the precinct. With Amy (Melissa Fumero) on the verge of starting a new job heading the police reform effort with Holt, Jake decides to leave the NYPD to be a full-time dad to their son. “[Being a detective] is all I wanted,” he tells Amy, “until now.”
Jake’s decision follows through on a theme the show has been exploring throughout its abbreviated final season. With a sea change in the way many people perceive law enforcement since the show’s seventh season concluded in April 2020, Jake has started to doubt whether being on the force was really the best way he could help others.
Rather than ignore the real-world changes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine tried to lean into them this season. The show scrapped several scripts last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin and instead played out a season in which Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) quit the force to work as a private investigator with a focus on victims of corrupt cops. Holt (Andre Braugher) and Amy pushed a reform proposal that met with great resistance from the head of patrolman’s union (John C. McGinley in a recurring role).
For his last day, however, Jake (of course) devises a ridiculously elaborate plan that will bring everyone to the Brooklyn Bridge for a “perfect goodbye.”
It being a Nine-Nine heist, though, there are double and triple crosses galore, with both Amy and Holt planning their own perfect goodbyes. The heist brought back a couple of familiar faces in former precinct employee Gina (Chelsea Peretti, who left the show during its sixth season), wild-man detective Adrian Pimento (Jason Mantzoukas) and Amy’s wet-blanket ex Teddy (Kyle Bornheimer), as well as Boyle’s (Joe Lo Truglio) look-alike Bill (Winston Story), a recurring figure in heist episodes over the show’s run.
With everyone working at cross purposes to win the heist, no one’s goodbye works out according to plan, and — to everyone’s horror — the not really retired Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) ends up as grand champion. “Goodbyes are inherently sad,” Jake says near the end of the episode. “This one is especially sad because we had something so great. But we’ll always have the memories of our time together, even though Hitchcock won the heist, which makes me so mad I want to swallow my own tongue and die.”
Despite the anticlimax of Hitchcock winning, the Nine-Nine detectives each get grace notes as they say their goodbyes at the precinct, with, most notably, Holt telling Jake how proud he is and getting in the final “title of your sex tape” joke of the series. (The very formal Holt, of course, phrases it “title of your sex movie.”)
After Jake flicks the lights off in the squad room — leaving a janitor (played by co-creator Dan Goor) and gets reprimanded by new captain Terry (Terry Crews) that he can’t do that in a working police precinct — the crew rides down the elevator one last time.…
Until a year later, when Terry is leading a briefing and Jake bursts in to announce a new heist: “This is happening every year,” he announces. “We’re in each other’s lives whether you like it or not.” Holt, Amy, Rosa and Gina also reveal themselves, and the series ends with a final “Nine-Nine!” cheer from the squad.
Goor and the show’s cast talked about the finale and the show’s eight-season run on Late Night With Seth Meyers Thursday. Watch it below.
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