‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ is Scrapping All Its Completed Season 8 Scripts, Starting Over

NBC / Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in a rough spot for years as the show has felt compelled to weigh in on social issues lest it be accused of simply being propaganda for the police department.  Now they’ve had to throw out all the scripts they’d already finished for season eight in light of the nationwide protests of the police.

Terry Crews related the news in an interview with Access, saying “They had four episodes all ready to go and they just threw them in the trash.  We have to start over. Right now we don’t know which direction it’s going to go in.”

The problem is that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has struggled with maintaining quality while wrestling with the issues the police department has in recent years. It seems as if certain plot lines are just shoved into scripts without planning or care for making them feel organic to the plot. This wasn’t always the case, though.

Let’s take a look at the season one episode Old School. Stacey Keach guest-stars as a journalist who wrote books glamorizing the police in the 70s which inspired Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta to become a cop. Keach’s character shadows Jake for an article on modern police methods and Jake gets drunk and vents about his problems with his new boss Captain Holt, which is generally minor because Jake genuinely respects him. Peralta tries to get Keach’s character not to use his comments and almost succeeds until he punches him in the face for calling Holt a “h**o.”

The episode builds a believable situation that builds over the course of the episode and makes a point about discrimination without derailing the narrative.

Flash forward to the season four episode Moo Moo where Terry Crews’ character, also called Terry, is racial profiled by another police officer. The situation that sets the incident up is pretty contrived; Jake and Amy are watching Terry’s daughter and one of the girls throws a blanket out the car window. When Terry goes to retrieve it, another cop pulls a gun on him and nearly arrests him for being a black guy in a primarily white neighborhood.

Now I realize that this is a relatively common occurrence for black men in America. But that in and of itself doesn’t make it a good story. Sure it allows the show to talk about the politics around reporting incidents of racism involving police officers, but it’s not a particularly well-written plot. It’s. It isn’t set up organically to the story and while the resolution is realistic, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has never really handled these more serious plots as well as shows like How I Met Your Mother or Scrubs.

It doesn’t seem like Brooklyn Nine-Nine is going to change to be less heavy and play to the show’s strengths. It’s going to be more topical, which I just don’t think is one of the show’s strong suits, at least not in later seasons. At the same time, I understand why just being a show about goofy but ultimately good-hearted cops wouldn’t go over well in the current climate.

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