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How Did Brooklyn Nine-Nine End? Twisty, Heist-Filled Series Finale Explained
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, co-created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur and streaming now on Peacock, follows the detectives of the Nine-Nine, a fictional NYPD precinct. Our first day in the Nine-Nine is also the first day for the precinct’s new captain, Raymond Holt (Andrew Braugher).
Right away, detective Jake Peralta’s (SNL alum Andy Samberg) wacky antics are at odds with Holt’s more restrained no nonsense attitude. As the series progresses, each of them rubs off on the other and they’re both the better for it. The series ran for eight seasons, detailing the working and personal lives of Captain Holt, Jake, his partner Charles (Joe Lo Truglio), Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), Hitchcock and Scully (Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller), and Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti).
The series’ two-part finale, appropriately titled “The Last Day” effectively closes the book on the Nine-Nine while calling back to some of our favorite bits and running gags.
Setting the Stage, the Beginning of the End of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
By Season 8 some of the original players had already left the stage. Gina, the precinct’s civilian… receptionist? Secretary? Executive assistant? It’s not totally clear what Gina’s job was, but it doesn’t matter. She was an important part of the Nine-Nine’s vibe and whatever work she was doing, it was important… Gina left the precinct back in Season 6 to pursue her true calling of being a rich and famous internet celebrity.
After decades as a fixture of the Nine-Nine, Hitchcock has also left, ostensibly to enjoy his retirement in Brazil. He still calls Scully over FaceTime and offers his unique insights, whether anyone wants them or not. Perhaps most importantly, it is Captain Holt and Amy’s last day. Earlier in the season, the two of them proposed a police reform program which is being enacted and they’re both being promoted to run it.
To mark the occasion, Jake has planned one final heist, a heist to end all heists. Jake announces to the precinct that this heist will nullify every one that came before it and the winner will be crowned The Grand Champion of the Nine-Nine. It’s a celebration of the last eight years, but it’s also a way for Jake to announce that he too is leaving the squad. With Amy leaving for a new, demanding job and their young son Mac at home, Jake plans to retire and be the kind of father he never had.
The Final Heist and the Perfect Goodbye
The first leg of the heist is a scavenger hunt based on memorable moments from the last eight years. The clues lead them first to the vending machine, then to the prison, then to the grave of Holt’s arch-nemesis Madeline Wuntch, where we learn that Holt visits every week to install a fresh balloon arch, in celebration of her death. It isn’t healthy, but it is pretty funny.
Because no one knows how to have an epiphany in secret, the whole squad ends up in the same elevator at the same time, heading for the prize. With no other choice, Holt pulls out the big guns, revealing a lower back tattoo of his husband Kevin’s head on his dog Cheddar’s body. What no one expects is for Gina to show up unannounced (despite Jake’s many calls inviting her to participate in the heist), steals the tube, and throws it into an armored truck. That’s when everything flies off the rails. A chaotic race for the tube breaks out but what no one knows is that Jake and Amy are secretly working in the background to pull off the perfect goodbye. By the end of the night, everyone will think they have the canister but they will actually have duplicates housing personalized gifts.
Heists on Heists on Heists
Everything is going perfectly until Charles finds Jake’s letter of resignation and storms out. Jake finds him at the place where they both said they were best friends and they reconcile, they head to pick up the fireworks for Jake’s grand finale. Before they can do anything, the fireworks arm themselves, begin a 20 second countdown, and everything goes to black.
Jake wakes up in a hospital room at the tail end of a 7-year coma. Charles survived the explosion but blamed himself for what happened, left New York, and became the sheriff/school principal of a very small town in Arizona. It’s sort of a shame that didn’t actually happen because we would watch the hell out of Arizona Boyle-ing. Amy got back together with her ex-boyfriend Teddy so that Mac would have a father figure. In all of the commotion, Amy asks Jake where he hid the canister anyway, and he tells her. Which is when the walls fall down, literally. Amy chloroformed Jake and Charles, then threw together a makeshift hospital room inside the station just to get information out of Jake so she can pull off the secret perfect goodbye she’s been planning all along. If that isn’t love, we don’t know what is.
While Jake and Amy are fighting over which perfect goodbye is the most perfect, the gang ends up at the place where they worked their first case with Holt all those years ago. See, Holt was also planning his own perfect goodbye. And it might have been perfect too, if only the tube canister hadn’t been stolen one more time and they’re locked inside the storage facility. It’s the perfect opportunity for Terry to finally do something everyone has always wanted to see him do. Terry smashes through a wall like the Kool-Aid man and sets them all free.
Back at the Nine-Nine, they find Hitchcock holding the canister at midnight. He never actually retired or moved to Brazil. We don’t really know what he’s been doing, but the guy who stole the canister offered to sell it to him for $40. Thus, Hitchcock was grudgingly crowned The Grand Champion of the Nine-Nine.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Perfect Goodbye
Jake doesn’t get his perfect goodbye and has to settle for saying goodbye the old fashioned way, face on, with earnestness. Holt reminisces about his first day at the Nine-Nine and the conversations he had with Terry before he started. Of Jake, Jeffords said he was a good detective but couldn’t figure out how to grow up.
“I think you finally figured it out,” Holt says. “Over the years, you have sometimes referred to me as something of a father figure. But I want you to know, if I had a son and, uh, he had turned out like you, I would be very proud of him.”
Then Holt, allegedly emotionless and humorless, makes not one but two jokes and they are perfect. That final exchange perfectly captures the unique feelings that come with endings and with new beginnings; that ache in your gut at the thought of leaving mixed with hope for the future blooming in your chest. Then they all rise, walk to the elevator, and the doors close for the final time.
We return to the Nine-Nine one more time about a year later. It’s nearly Halloween, we can tell from the decorations scattered around the room. Terry is the captain now and Charles has a new partner. Things have changed and the Nine-Nine that was will never be again. Or will it? Jake suddenly appears, to Terry’s shock and Charles’ utter delight, followed quickly by Holt, Amy, Rosa, and Gina. It’s time for another Halloween heist, the first one of the rest of their lives.
Catch all eight seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine streaming right now on Peacock.