“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” review: “Charges and Specs”

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Every character in the great Brooklyn Nine-Nine ensemble had their strengths highlighted in this first season finale. It was such a great showcase for a cast that grew from the early, rough stages at the beginning of the season to the more fully realized, complex characters they’ve become. Plus, things were set up nicely for next season with the Peralta and Amy relationship, Peralta’s undercover operation, Gina and Boyle in bed together (ugh), a depressed Boyle dealing with his broken engagement to Vivian, etc. I questioned whether or not this show deserved it’s Golden Globe wins (mainly because that award’s a joke). No more doubt. This show has become one of the better, more consistently funny shows on TV right now. Shame there are no more new episodes until the fall.

The episode begins in the present with Peralta in a bar lamenting to anyone listening that he was fired! Oh no! Jake Peralta fired from the 99? What happened? Well, before he got “fired,” Peralta was investigating a respected but corrupt community leader named Lucas Wint (Ian Roberts) against the direct orders of the police commissioner (who’s already angry at Peralta for arresting his son in the past) and an initially reluctant Holt. Undeterred, Peralta continues to pursue the case, even getting Amy, Holt and the rest of the squad involved. Holt trusting Peralta’s pursuit of the case simply doesn’t happen earlier in the season. That’s a level of trust that grew over the course of their friendship, and it felt totally earned.

There’s something to be said for Peralta’s need to try and solve any case he’s obsessed with, as well as his maturity since the series premiere. Movies and TV shows are currently littered with grown men acting like irresponsible children, and it looked like Peralta would be one of them. It goes without saying how affirming it is to see some of the rough edges smoothed over, and we see there’s more layers to this detective and his unmatched skill for solving cases.

Peralta’s refusal to give up the case leads to him being brought up on “charges and specs” (episode title!) by the commissioner, and he’s put on administrative leave with a possible suspension, but Peralta can’t stop! He, Amy and Holt find a drug pusher who’s been delivering money to Wint’s community center each week, money being concealed as a charity donation. The three crash a charity ballroom competition at the center and get the account books detailing the cash deliveries before Peralta’s reinstatement hearing, but Holt surprisingly stops him. He asks Peralta to keep quiet about the evidence and to get himself fired on purpose! Apparently, the FBI is investigating Wint for bigger, mob-related activity and they want him to go undercover with the agents to help! How’s that for setting things up for season two?

All this happens around Peralta finally acknowledging his feelings for Amy, but not being able to act upon them due to her being with Teddy and him going undercover. What will she do? Will she and her boyfriend Teddy still be dating next season? Was that dopey Gina and Boyle sleeping together thing just an illusion? So many things hanging and to look forward to for next fall.