8 Times Brooklyn Nine-Nine Tackled Serious Issues

During eight seasons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine followed the lives of Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct’s members. The show used a comedic tone to tell the stories of the many lovable detectives working side by side as they also shared their civilian lives and went through several milestones together.

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Unarguably one of the funniest sitcoms of the decade, Brooklyn Nine-Nine wasn’t all fun and laughs. Many times, the show addressed serious topics such as race, gender, and sexuality. While the general tone of the show was always rooted in humor, Brooklyn Nine-Nine also managed to make the viewers reflect on their own society.

8 Jake’s Father Disappoints Him One Too Many Times

Brooklyn Nine-Nine — Roger Peralta

It’s very obvious that Jake has father issues. Not only is he easily dazzled by male authority figures, but he also brags about his own father being a pilot often, even though he abandoned Jake when he was a kid. The audience doesn’t get to meet Roger Peralta until the second season after he visits Jake during “Captain Peralta.” While Jake is very excited to see him, Roger is a true disappointment.

It turns out the only reason Roger is visiting Jake in the first place is to get his help with a legal issue, not to bond with his son. Throughout the episode, it becomes more obvious for Jake that his father isn’t a good person. By the end, he confronts Roger about his selfishness. This lack of a father figure torments him until the last seasons. It’s the same reason he doesn’t want to have kids with Amy in the first place.

7 Hitchcock & Scully Let An Undocumented Witness Go Without Gathering Their Info

hitchcock and scully sitting in a desk

In “Admiral Peralta,” the 10th episode of the seventh season, Amy and Rosa try to solve a case only to realize Hitchcock and Scully let a key witness go without gathering their contact information. When Amy reprimands them, Hitchcock and Scully explain to their two colleagues that they did this purposely because the witness was an undocumented person who was afraid of getting in legal trouble.

Rosa and Amy understand the situation. Given that Hitchcock and Scully are the most useless detectives of the 99th Precinct, this is a very powerful moment. Even being completely inept, these two detectives understand the importance of helping and protecting immigrants in the US.

6 Rosa Comes Out To Her Parents As Bisexual

Television Brooklyn Nine-Nine Rosa Diaz

The 10th episode of the fifth season, “Game Night,” follows Rosa as she comes out of the closet to her parents, Julia and Oscar Díaz, during a family dinner. Unfortunately, the Díaz refuses to accept Rosa’s sexuality, so their relationship with their daughter takes a hit.

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This very sad moment prompts the rest of the squad to show Rosa their support. By the end of the episode, they all arrive at her apartment, ready for a game night of their own. Here, Captain Holt tells Rosa that “every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place,” a beautiful reminder for the detective and the LGBTQ+ fans out there.

5 Amy Explains Jake About Sexism

Amy Santiago & Jake Peralta working together

During “He Said, She Said,” the eighth episode of the sixth season of the show, Jake and Amy investigates a case of sexual assault inside a company. After Keri, the victim, accepts a deal instead of pursuing legal action, it becomes obvious that the case is personal to Amy, which Jake doesn’t understand. This leads to a heart to heart between Peraltiago where Amy explains to Jake that things are inherently more difficult for women because they’re constantly underestimated and objectified by men.

After Amy convinces the victim to file charges, the audience gets to see the other side of the discussion. Rosa doesn’t believe Keri should file charges, because, being realistic, society itself will always be partial to men. Things escalate for Amy to the point where Amy confesses to Jake that her first captain sexually harassed her many years ago. Jake doesn’t try to fix anything, he just listens. All in all, this episode treats the topic of systemic gender violence carefully and graciously.

4 Rosa Is Involved In An Active Shooting

Rosa Diaz talking with her colleagues in the bullpen Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Against the laughable nature of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “Show Me Going” explores one of the most serious topics in the US right now, gun violence. After Rosa responds to an active shooter with multiple consequences, the 99th Precinct waits anxiously for updates on the situation, feeling powerless over the situation.

This event forces certain members of the squad to confront their personal issues and the extent of their abilities. While Terry frantically tries to update his insurance, concerned about his family in the case of his death, Amy gets obsessed with fixing a toilet for Rosa alongside Gina. Jake deals by trying to find a way to assist Rosa without success. Although the show is about cops, few episodes deal with the harsh realities of the job as well as this one.

3 Terry Is The Victim Of Racial Profiling

Sergeant Terry Jeffords at his desk in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

In “Moo Moo,” the sixteenth episode of the fourth season, Terry walks around his neighborhood looking for one of his daughter’s favorite toys when a police officer stops him and escalates the situation, believing Terry is dangerous only due to his race. The cop refuses to admit it was a racial issue, which angers Terry. In order to make this right, the Sarge decides to file an official complaint against this officer.

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In the beginning, Captain Holt isn’t convinced, fully aware that he will have a bad impact on the Sergeant Sergeant’s career. However, he understands it’s necessary and supports Terry. By the end of the episode, both men decide to submit the complaint, which actually causes Terry to lose a promotion. In addition to pointing out the racial profiling issue in the US, this episode sheds some light on the corruption inside the Police Force itself.

2 Captain Holt Suffered From Racism & Homophobia His Whole Career

Captain Raymond Holt Brooklyn Nine-Nine The Set Up

Throughout the series, Holt references many times when his race and his sexuality were obstacles to his career. For example, in “Beach House,” he explains he was never invited to social gatherings. Another example of the way other cops treated Holt before happens during “Old School,” when Jimmy Brogan, the detective/writer who inspired Jake to become a cop, calls Holt by derogatory and homophobic names, which prompts Jake to punch Brogan in the face .

This is only one of many moments when the squad shows Holt their support. While Captain Holt is no stranger to racism and homophobia, in the 99th Precinct he clearly found a caring and protective bunch. Regardless, his character is living proof of the ethical issues inside the NYPD.

1 Jake & Rosa Deal With Power Abuse In The Force

The eighth and last season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine starts addressing police brutality. After Rosa quits the Force after George Floyd’s murder, she becomes a Private Investigator. Rosa and Jakewho still believes cops can be redeemedwork together to help a woman who was assaulted by two police officers.

By the end of the episode, Jake realizes the systemic corruption inside the NYPD and finally understands it isn’t as simple as he thought it was. This experience plants the seed for him to eventually leave the Force too by the series finale, a very powerful statement from Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s creators.

NEXT: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: 5 Actors Who Nailed Their Roles (& 5 Who Fell Short)

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo