Brooklyn 99 is a television show based in in New York City that follows the 99th precinct of the NYPD. Brooklyn 99 is different from many current television shows that are airing because it is not afraid to tackle a wide variety of representations through their characters and the problems they would face in the real world. The show’s main cast contains nine main characters, many of whom are minorities. This is surprising because this does not often happen in television. It is especially surprising because the captain of the precinct is a gay black man and one of the sargents is a hispanic women. As a whole Brooklyn 99 attempts to resist dominant stereotypes, however the show also chooses to display common examples of discrimination towards minority groups in attempt to shed light on the subject.
For example in one episode, Sergeant Terry Jeffords (who is a large black male), gets stopped by a white cop standing outside in his own neighborhood. Terry does not have his badge or ID on him, and when he tells the officer that he is a detective the officer does not believe him. The officer assumes that since Terry is black he does not belong in such a nice neighborhood late at night. This episode dives into the topic of how black people are more often stopped by police officers than white people. This scenario displays a common example of discrimination towards black people particularly by police officers, in attempt to show to the world the injustices that occur everyday in America. The episode continues with Terry approaching his captain and telling him that he wants to file a complaint against the white officer who stopped him. Captain Holt then explains to Terry that this would not be a good idea. He says this because he says that if a black officer puts in a complaint against an officer who is white that it does not reflect well on the black officer. This bothers Terry and infuriates him that he is treated as less of an officer due to his skin color. The episode ends with Captain Holt apologizing to Terry and telling him that he was wrong to discourage him from sending in the complaint. The show navigates an important political issue, specifically racial profiling by police officers, in a way that is genuine and without making it feel like it was forced into the show.
Another representation that the show sheds light on is sexual orientation in a main character. One of the main characters, Rosa Diaz, come out as bisexual to her parents and to all of the precinct. The show revealed this in a realistic way as Rosa sat her parents down to come out to them. At first, everyone did not agree with her choice, did not understand it, called it a “phase,” and told her she was still going to end up marrying a man. This made her extremely mad and she told her parents that she felt it was not a phase and that this was something that was not going to change. Her revelation caused a lot of drama between her and her parents for some time where they stopped having their family game nights and very rarely spoke to each other. Later in the season, Rosa has another conversation with her father where he explained that this was a very new idea to him and that he was getting used to it and that he accepted her. Her mother did have more trouble accepting her daughter’s sexuality, but her father explained that it was going to take her mother a little longer than him to come around to it and she would eventually accept it. This also seemed very real feeling without straying away from the personality of the show. Rosa, who was typically a very tough women, felt nervous and insecure about herself in the face of her parents.The episode where this took place depicts Rosa struggling with not being accepted by her parents, yet she did not speak much about it to her coworkers since it is not like her character to share her feelings.
This show is an inclusive show that is very different from current television shows as a it takes on controversial topics that many other shows often try to avoid because they do not want to get backlash. Brooklyn 99 is one of my favorite shows because it dives into issues like this in an approachable way that actually makes viewers want to engage with the topics more openly.