By Sarah Hayes, A&E Editor
FOX comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, the single-camera sitcom about the scrappiest fictional police squad that could, is currently starting its third season. It is doing something a lot of TV shows would not dare to think of so early in its run: it is shaking up the entire procedure, top to bottom, sending characters scrambling to get footholds in the new 99 order. Out of the chaos, however, emerges some of the funniest moments in recent “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” history, and yet more reasons for comedy fans to keep coming back for more.
In the previous season finale, previous captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) had found himself at the mercy of his long-time police archenemy Chief Madeline Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick) and stepped down from his post to join the PR department so that the rest of his squad could stay together in Brooklyn. There is also the matter of long-time partners Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) kissing in the finale, upsetting the balance of their “will-they-or-won’t-they” friendship.
Season three of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” opens as the detectives meet their new captain. What steps off the elevator is the 99’s worst nightmare: Captain Seth Dozerman, played by “Saturday Night Live” veteran Bill Hader. Dozerman is a ruthless tyrant who forces everyone to carry around “Dozerpads” to track progress on a 50-minute basis and who promptly ends his opening speech on efficiency with a dramatic drop to the floor from an apparent heart attack. He is possibly the greatest red herring this show has ever pulled off, since what follows in Dozerman’s footsteps at the end of the season premiere has everyone screaming in horror.
The first two episodes of the third season of the award-winning “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” show that this show is not afraid of change, whether it is the Jake/Amy “light and breezy” romance, Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) and his sudden burst of reckless behavior, culminating in picking up a woman at a funeral for a “casual sex carnival”, Captain Holt’s placement in PR alongside assistant Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), or the revolving door status of the 99 captain’s chair which seems to have shut—for now—on the show’s favorite antagonist, Warren Pembroke a.k.a. The Vulture, played by the always on point Dean Winters, whose filmography shows he is no stranger to the police procedural and thus the perfect person to skew all of its conventions.
Despite all of the changes, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” remains a tightly run comedic delight and the best example that, in the right hands, the most ridiculous scenarios can become gold. One major plot point in the season opener, “The Captain,” revolves around Ray Holt having to choose the name of the NYPD’s new mascot pigeon, but a humorously heartfelt speech by Linetti to Holt in a school bathroom turns it into the crux of his character arc. Holt takes several blows to his pride over the course of two episodes, but Braugher’s performance signals that we have not seen the downfall of 99’s ex-captain just yet. In fact, as Holt squares off against Captain Pembroke in the Vulture’s new office in “The Funeral,” it is possible that Holt will end up in a showdown against his replacement to regain his leadership role and outsmart Wuntch.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” started off its first season strong, and some critics worried that it would not be able to continue the trend. However, now that the 99 is in season three, all signs point to that trend of strong writing and stronger performances continuing throughout 2015 and onward. As long as the focus stays on the dynamics of its ensemble cast and the talents of its writers’ room, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” will keep being the must-watch show of FOX’s comedy line-up, no matter which captain is at the helm.