What do you get a competitive, comedic cop couple for their wedding? Oh, just a bomb threat. And a determined ex-lover. Also, a threat to a veil. (Veiled threat?) Perhaps a canine ring bearer. And definitely a Nakatomi Plaza-shaped cake.
Season 5 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine — and with yesterday’s cancellation news, the entire series unless it finds another home — will come to a close with the noice nuptials of juvenile jester Jake (Andy Samberg) and assiduous type-A Amy (Melissa Fumero), two detectives (the latter just promoted to sergeant) who forged their bond by betting on who could solve more crimes, strengthened it when Jake threw out his gross mattress, and cemented it with his surprise proposal on the show’s holiest of holidays: Halloween. Perhaps it’s fitting then that Peraltiago will get a good scare on the day that they attempt to officially bond their love. (We’ll get to that bomb threat in a minute.)
How has this off-beat, on-the-beat romance transformed into one of prime time’s most endearing and entertaining relationships? “The basis of their comedy game is that on the surface, they’re opposites attract, but the truth is, they’re really similar,” says Samberg (who, like Fumero and co-creator Dan Goor, spoke with EW before the cancellation news). “They’re both super nerdy, agro into their jobs, and they’re both slightly savant brilliant at their jobs. And then, all of the surface stuff is very different, which makes for good comedy. He’s slobby and a child, and eats gummy worms, and she has it all together and [has] binders. But the reason I thought it was especially fun to play is the same reason it’s fun to love someone in your own family or marriage: despite our differences, there’s this thing underneath it that is completely connected. It excuses everything else — and is the thing that makes you feel at home.”
Their connection was strong enough that the writers couldn’t bear to see them apart, even for a little while. “We played very early on in season 3 with the idea of turning them into a Sam and Diane — should we have them break up and get back together and break up?” says Goor. “We tried to [write] an episode where that happened, and it just didn’t feel true to their characters. They went through a courtship phase, but then once they started kissing each other — or even before then, they were very communicative with one another — it made writing stories very difficult because they were eager to make their subtext text. They didn’t have secrets, but it also meant that certain kinds of stories were out of bounds. Like, them breaking up for no good reason. And then we thought we would just play them very naturally, and it began to feel halfway through season 4 like they’re going to get married. When Jake went to jail [at the beginning of season 5], we talked about if this was a natural time to break them up and then I’m very happy we didn’t. People really liked that episode where she said, ‘I would wait for you no matter how long you were in jail.'”
And it sounds like a certain cast member may have been waiting just as eagerly as the fans have to see exactly how this union might be certified. “I remember refreshing my email constantly the day that the script was coming out,” shares Fumero. “I couldn’t wait to read what they wrote. And once I started to read it, it was just page after page of being like, ‘Yes… Yes… Oh my God, yes! Oh, that’s great! Yes!’”
That’s not to say there weren’t a few wedding jitters, as Samberg & co. aimed to ensure that their police comedy didn’t sacrifice laughs for love. “Any time we attempt anything outside of pure straight-down-the-middle silliness, I’m always concerned it’ll feel like another show,” says Samberg. “But it has been really exciting — and it almost feels like we’ve kicked into this new gear on the show — to thread the needle of a new tone while keeping the core of comedy that launched us.”
The core of Jake and Amy’s special day is jeopardized when a mysterious bomb threat threatens to silence those wedding bells, propelling the duo into detective mode. “It’s so Brooklyn Nine-Nine that we can’t just have a few mishaps,” notes Fumero. “It can’t be a little thing, it has to literally blow up in a big way.” But don’t worry, there are little things aplenty. “That bomb threat was just the cherry on top of a day already filled with trouble,” notes Goor, who also reveals that Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) and Terry (Terry Crews) embark on a mission to repair Amy’s veil after it is damaged; and after the ring bearer falls ill, Holt (Andre Braugher) and Gina (Chelsea Peretti) train Cheddar the dog to do the honors.
Another complication arrives in the form of Amy’s ex, Teddy (Kyle Bornheimer), who runs the bomb squad and still hasn’t snuffed out his torch for Amy. “I really enjoy the kind of pleasant sociopath that he’s turned into,” says Samberg. Adds Fumero: “Of all people, he was the worst person to show up on that day. Teddy showing up is actually a little worse than the bomb threat.”
Rosa is rattled by someone unexpected, too, though in a more romantic way. Cue: a rideshare driver named Alicia. “[Rosa] tells Terry she’s given up on dating for a bit,” says Goor, “but that’s put to the test when their driver is the unbelievably beautiful Gina Rodriguez.” Turns out Rodriguez’s name has been on the Brooklyn guest-list wish list for a long time. “We wanted Gina on the show forever,” says Fumero, who notes that the Jane the Virgin star introduced Beatriz to her when they were cast on the show in 2013. “She’s a dear friend of ours. And so to have her there for the finale was this awesome full circle.” And it seems like Rodriguez might play a role on the show beyond the finale. “It’s very intriguing,” adds Fumero. “I feel like it feels like a set-up, like there’s more story to tell there.”
In other parts of the story, Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) tries to save the day while learning that he has some connection to the bomb, and “Hitchcock and Scully may pull off the greatest surprise of all,” says Goor, hinting at the return of a familiar (and eccentric) figure from season 1. Meanwhile, “Holt says something to Amy and Jake that they’ve been waiting five years for him to say,” teases Fumero. “It’s a quick moment, but it’s definitely something Jake and Amy talk about when they get home that night. Like, for a long time.”
Much like “HalloVeen,” the episode packs a stealth emotional punch, hitting you when your guard might be down. “The jokes and the heart kind of sneak up on you,” warns Fumero. Furthers Samberg: “When I first watched it, I was surprised at how much it made me feel — and I knew the story, and I acted the whole episode,” he reports. “But when it was all put together, there’s definitely a sense of, ‘Oh, I’ve actually been on a journey with these characters. And I’m now just realizing I actually know a lot about them, and care about them, and am invested.’ For me, watching it the first time, it felt very much like a reward.”
And save for a stakeout with Bruce Willis, there may be no bigger reward for his character than a Die Hard-themed wedding cake. “When it comes to the movie-reference part of Jake’s personality, there is no difference between he and I,” quips Samberg. “It was a thrill and a privilege to see it.” Here’s hoping that fans feel the same way on finale night.
“Jake & Amy” airs May 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Want to sneak a peek at Jake and Amy’s wedding day? Check out these first-look photos.