Brooklyn Nine-Nine creator breaks down season 5's wedding finale, what's next
WARNING: This post contains plot details from Sunday’s season 5 finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, titled “Jake & Amy.”
The final-ever episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine brought viewers a wild wedding to remember: the nuptials of Jake and Amy. It was, of course, bittersweet to watch these two cops declare their eternal love for each other, knowing that this would be the very last time that we would — what’s that, you say? It’s not the final-ever episode? Brooklyn was canceled by Fox and then renewed for a sixth season the next day? Apparently I’ve been living under a freakin’ rock trapped in a cave with very poor cell reception?
Let’s try that opening sentence again: The final episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s fifth season brought viewers a wild wedding to remember. Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) were eagerly awaiting their very toit nups, but then came along Amy’s ex, Teddy. Well, first came the bomb threat, and then Teddy (Kyle Bornheimer) showed up, explaining that he was running the bomb squad and trying one more time to win her back. (In most cultures, it’s considered poor form to hit on the bride on her wedding day, especially when she has previously and summarily rejected you.) Jake and Amy had little time to tsk-tsk Teddy, though; they reverted to detective mode, aiming to solve the case, while the Nine-Nine tried to put out some other fires. Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) and Terry (Terry Crews) fixed Amy’s veil and saw it ruined it again, but on the bright side, I’m-not-open-to-a-relationship-right-now Rosa found herself vibing with their ride-share driver, Alicia (guest star Gina Rodriguez). Holt (Andre Braugher) and Gina (Chelsea Peretti) trained Cheddar to fill in as ring bearer, but the little dog lost his way and took down the Nakatomi Plaza wedding cake of which Jake had always dreamed.
Ultimately, Jake and Amy learned that there was indeed a bomb on the premises (which resulted in the cancellation of the ceremony), and, working with Charles (Joe Lo Truglio), they discovered that it was planted by an obsessed criminal (Kyle Gass) from her past, not his, and that Charles had accidentally helped this arch nemesis locate the wedding by excitedly posting the news about their nups. But in the darkest hour, despair turned into repair: Instead of letting Jake and Amy exchange vows at City Hall the following day, those ever-resourceful Nine-Nine detectives staged a lit ceremony at the precinct, with Holt doing the officiating and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) tapping the weirdo from the show’s first episode, Mlepnos (Fred Armisen, who made his first appearance in the pilot), to provide angelic violin music.
While true love and teamwork did prevail in the end, uncertainty would hang in the air later that night at Shaw’s: Holt decided to read aloud the email that contained the verdict about the commissioner’s job that he’s been jockeying for all season. “Well, from the look on my face,” he said with dispassion and resignation, “I’m sure you can guess what it says.” Damn you, Stone Monster!!!
Did Holt indeed land his dream job? Will Rodriguez return to romance Rosa? Will we see what happens on Jake and Amy’s honeymoon? And what was it like for the Brooklyn squad to be canceled on Thursday and then rescued on Friday? Fans of the dearly beloved cop comedy, let us walk down the aisle of intel and see what Brooklyn Nine-Nine creator Dan Goor has to say.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: And so we end the three-season courtship with the satisfaction of vows, albeit after a bomb threat. How were you feeling about “Jake and Amy” having to serve as the series finale, if need be? Would you call it “not optimal but could do the trick”?
DAN GOOR: Yes, I would say slightly better than that. I think the only thing that’s not optimal about it is that the Jake/Amy aspect of the show is a major aspect but not the central aspect of the show, and I would love for the series finale to end on a more squad-oriented, Jake/Holt-oriented, or police-oriented note.
A Nine-Nine note.
A Nine-Nine note. That said, I was very happy with the episode, and I felt like there were a lot of Nine-Nine moments in it.
What was the biggest challenge in writing a wedding finale episode? What was interesting about the process?
The most challenging thing was that the two of them love each other and want to get married. So that meant that it was difficult to create a story that had internal conflict, which is why we created a story that had external conflict. … We had a debate as to whether or not it should be a case or a different police element there. There was talk of it being a massive blackout — like a brownout in the city — and that no one could come to the wedding, and they ended up having to direct traffic in their wedding outfits, and every one of the Nine-Nine coming to the aid of the community and then coming back, and the wedding was canceled. And then it would have ended in the same way. But this seemed more exciting. And we also had done the episode with Amy stopping a perp in her wedding dress.
Holt delivered a simple but powerful statement to the couple, “I’m proud of you, and I love you both,” which they then asked permission to say it back to him. How did you settle on those words?
I know that it was very difficult to write because we had done one other wedding in which Holt gave the oatmeal speech about how love is like oatmeal, and it was such a perfect Holt-ian thing. So we really struggled with how to make an equally Holt-ian speech. But Luke [Del Tredici] and I wrote that script together, and Luke may have written that part of the vows. I don’t remember, but that didn’t change much throughout the whole process.
I loved that it was warm and touching and loving, but at the same time felt completely in Holt’s character. And I loved the simple joke at the end. It just felt very Holt-ian. In terms of it being a potential series finale or season finale, it was nice for Holt to say to them the words they’ve always wanted to hear.
Given Jake’s Die Hard dream wedding with the Nakatomi Plaza cake — and the fact that you got Reginald VelJohnson to pop up at the bachelor party — was there any attempt to get Bruce Willis for this episode? Or do you save that ask for the series finale?
Yeah, I think that we’d save that ask for the series finale. Or for some special time. We would love to have Bruce Willis on the show. Whenever we can get him, we’ll have him on the show. It would be an unbelievable get, obviously, in our world.
Jake and Amy have some pretty high-profile parents, played by Jimmy Smits, Bradley Whitford, and Katey Sagal. Why weren’t they part of this episode?
Not only is it hard to schedule such prominent, wonderful, amazing actors and get them all there, we really wanted the finale and the wedding to feel like it was about our squad. Especially with such great actors, you end up feeling like, “We have to give them all something,” and then all of the sudden, it dilutes it. And so we were really happy to figure out a way to do it with just them.
I know you can’t reveal the outcome of the cliffhanger, but I assume the answer would be that Holt would get the job if the show were canceled? That doesn’t mean the show won’t do that now — and you’ve done it before, where Holt left the precinct, when he took the PR job.
I cannot answer that. Have you ever read that short story “The Lady, or the Tiger?” That guy never said whether or not it was the lady or the tiger. People tried for years. So I feel like there’s a weird way in which saying it would’ve been one thing and then maybe making it something else is like a narrative dissonance, where it’s almost like a Schrödinger’s cat thing. The world should be consistent.
Okay, but any hints about that cliffhanger? Is the answer already there? Should we study that like the Zapruder film?
The answer is there. If you truly know Holt, you’ll know.
The show continues to take more chances in form, whether offering up an all-interrogation episode or in tackling socially conscious topics, such as Rosa’s coming-out story or the active-shooter episode. How will the show build on that next season? Does this embolden you to take even more risks?
Yes. I’m not exactly sure that that means at this point, but we’re very committed to continuing with those experiments. It’s really fun for the actors. It’s fun for the writers. And I think the viewers enjoy it too. But at the same time, we also know that people like — and we like — writing about the squad hanging out in the precinct and solving cases. So I think that it will continue to be a mix of those sorts of episodes: standard Brooklyn Nine-Nine and formally or tonally interesting departures.
How far along have you plotted an arc for Gina Rodriguez, who’s tight with Stephanie and Melissa? What can you hint about her return?
Just because it’s between seasons and nobody knows what anyone’s schedule is, I can’t make any promises. But what I can say is she had a great time, and we love her. So I’m very hopeful that we will see more of her, and that we as writers are looking forward to writing a relationship between the two of them. But just with the one caveat that no one’s been booked and it’s difficult to make these things happen. But all the parties are hopeful that this will happen.
How does Jake and Amy story change for you, if it all, now that they’re married?
That’s a great question. Our general approach remains the same, which is to say that we try to treat them as two people who love each other and are normal, non-insane human beings. So therefore I don’t think we’ll be forcing weird marital spats or conflicts that don’t feel natural to them. I think that it’s an opportunity for us because there are just different stories that happen for young married couples that are different from couples that are even living together. They are now combining their finances, and there’s more pressure on their in-law relationships, and other aspects of married life that I think could provide conflict and story. And then in general, as we’ve done before, our plan is to do stories we’ve done that are about their relationship. And to do stories with them that are not about their relationship but still involve the two of them, where they’re just two cops who happen to be married, or they work in the same building but they’re married.
Will we see their honeymoon? It’s good for them if we don’t do a honeymoon episode, as it means it wasn’t stressful. But then again, they could solve a case on their honeymoon …
I would love to see their honeymoon, but I could also see not doing their honeymoon. I could see them as people who don’t do their honeymoon immediately after they get married, but do it a couple of weeks later. It seems funny to see them, in some capacity, on their honeymoon, whether that’s an episode, a flashback, or a cold open. It feels like some version of them on their honeymoon is something you want to see. I want to see.
Amy’s still in the building in her new role as sergeant. How much will you lean into that next season yet keep her involved in the workplace stories?
I’m not 100 percent sure what we’re going to do there, just because we don’t have a [writers’] room [yet]. I feel like we’ve done a bunch of stories about her starting her job and being unsure of her job, and I’d like to see her as more of a master of her job. I feel like there’s more to explore in that world. But I am also conscious of the fact that you want her with the squad, and so we want to always feel natural that she’s with the squad.
Let’s talk about the wildest day and a half of your life. How did you find out the show was canceled? Did they give you a reason? Did you hear from a network executive?
I did hear from Fox, especially those who worked on that show with us. Their blood, sweat, and tears is in the show too. And it’s never easy for anyone. It was a sad moment because I love doing the show, and I love the people with whom I do the show, and I love doing it with them. But it was undercut a little bit by the fact that the studio was confident that maybe there was a second home for it. So that took a little bit of the sting off, although it’s never a fun thing to hear.
I didn’t see the sausage being made. All I know is Pearlena Igbokwe [president of Universal Television, the studio that produces Brooklyn Nine-Nine] was amazing and really helped make sure that this thing got done, and then Tracey Pakosta [co-president of scripted programming, NBC Entertainment] and Bob [Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment] were heroes, and in almost no time were able to transfer the show from one network to another, which is a very difficult thing to do. And they all were committed to doing it, and it happened.
Walk us through the moment that you found out that the show was revived.
Well, the funny thing is, it was close to when we tweeted it out. It was around 8 o’clock, and really about 15 minutes before, I had gotten a call saying, “I think that it’s kind of late on the East Coast and probably nothing’s going to happen tonight.” And then I got a text. Or a call. I found out around 8 o’clock or 8:15, and was just like drop-jawed and so excited and couldn’t stop smiling. And then obviously instantly called Andy and then contacted the cast and then NBC. Then they asked us, the cast and producers, to put it out online, and it was great to see people react to that. It was just like such a wonderful cherry on top of a — more than a cherry. It’s the whole sundae. It was a wonderful ending to that crazy period of time.
How surprising was the reaction on Twitter — the outcry at the cancellation, and the outpouring of love?
I really was just blown away by the reaction. Surprised, gratified, so ecstatic. I mean, which is a weird thing to say because I was also sad because we’d been canceled, but it meant so much to see that the show meant something to people. We have great fans, and we have great fans who tweet about the show regularly. But then to have the whole world tweet about it was really great. I don’t want to sound like I’m exaggerating, but it felt like the whole world to me. It was really humbling. Almost. I’m not humble, so don’t worry.
Some celebrity superfans really came on strong on social media. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Hamill, Sean Astin, Patton Oswalt. Besides Patton — who’s already part of the show — do you envision these people popping up in guest spots?
Depending on schedule, scheduling and availability, we would love to make it happen. We’re huge fans of all of those actors. And we’d love to try to figure out ways to put them on our world. I think they’d love to be on the show too, I hope. I just don’t want to make a promise and then not be able to fulfill it. If we can do it, we’d love to do it.
Which cast member took it the hardest when it was canceled, and who had the best reaction when it was renewed?
You have to ask them. Terry has a story about finding out [about the renewal]. Terry had gone to sleep early and then he woke up in the middle of the night to take a pee, and he checked his phone and saw that I had texted him to check his email, and I emailed him that we had gotten picked up. And he apparently did a dance in the middle of the night and then started tweeting about it.
The network-to-network move is about as high-profile move as you can make. Does it come with a little more pressure, as opposed to a streaming service or cable network, where it might have a chance to grow with less expectation?
I think the greatest pressure I feel is the pressure from the fans after that outpouring of support. I just don’t want to let anyone down. I feel like NBC is already being super-supportive.
The show’s move to NBC opens up the potential for a crossover with Brooklyn co-creator Mike Schur’s other shows, The Good Place and Abby’s. Is there any possibility of this?
The Schur-verse. First of all, that’s hilarious. … Nothing has been talked about. We’re still just trying to figure out the next season. We are huge fans of all of their shows, but nothing’s been talked about.
What’s one season 6 teaser that you can leave fans to ponder over the long hiatus?
In season 6, we will finally learn if “Kelly” was Scully’s wife or his dog.