Screen Slayers 5.0

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a police procedural comedy TV series created by Michael Schur and Dan Goor. It aired in 2013 on Fox and ran for five seasons until 2018 when Fox decided to cancel it. After a series of campaigns from fans and celebrities supporting the show, NBC saved Brooklyn Nine-Nine and picked it up. It aired for three more seasons and was concluded in 2021. The cast included the actresses Stephanie Beatriz (Rosa Diaz), Melissa Fumero (Amy Santiago), and Chelsea Peretti (Gina Linetti). And, although we only talk about actresses on Screen Slayer,  Adam Samberg, who plays the lead role of Jake Peralta, deserves an honourable mention among these ladies, as he delivered some of the most brilliant feminist moments on the show, as you will see below.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has long been known for its progressive and inclusive portrayal of its characters and storylines. The show has had several powerful feminist moments that deserve to be recognised. These scenes and episodes conveyed ideas that promote feminist ideals by displaying strong female characters defying stereotypes and including storylines tackling issues like sexual harassment and the wage gap. This Screen Slayer article will highlight the top ten feminist moments and recurring events from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and how they relate to our mission of empowering women.

Continue reading to find out about these moments and which Brooklyn Nine-Nine character was a Metalhead. There is a spoiler warning by the season in which the episode(s) or scene(s) occurred. So, unless you’ve already seen the season or don’t mind spoilers, do not read the marked sections.

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Seasons 2 and 4

10. Jake Peralta and his many feminist quotes

Detective Jake Peralta is undeniably a feminist, and he demonstrates this through his actions, as you will see later, as well as his words. Here are some of his best feminist quotes.

Jake and Terry Jeffords are investigating a stabbing case in “Chocolate Milk,” Season 2 Episode 2. While being questioned, the prime suspect states that he was out with friends near a Pilates studio, commenting on the “view” from the studio in a derogatory manner to women. Jake then sarcastically responds, “I guess that’s not as bad as stabbing someone?” emphasising how serious this kind of harassment is.

In Episode 11 of the same season, Amy tells Jake to “man up”. Jake responds: “Man up? Sexist. I don’t see gender, sir.” Of course, Jake is teasing Amy, but he also emphasises how certain phrases can reinforce harmful stereotypes about masculinity and femininity.

One final example is a brilliant feminist quote that Jake says to Amy when she is unsure about taking the sergeant exam and is concerned about how her higher rank will affect her relationship with him. Jake reassures her with his response, saying: “Ames, I’ve always known you were gonna be my boss.” This statement is not only empowering for Amy but also shows how his character, unlike many men, has no problem with their partner being of a higher rank or position.

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 3

09. Amy wins the Halloween Heist

The Halloween Heist in B99 is a recurring event in which the characters attempt to steal and keep a specific item. It was won by different characters across the different seasons. Amy’s win in season 3 however, delivers a great message. When Jake and Captain Holt are picking their teams for the third version of the “Heist”, they both leave Amy Santiago out, each believing she will betray him to help her boyfriend or her superior officer and role model. This proves to be the wrong decision, as Amy ends up beating both to win the Heist and be crowned the “Queen of the 99”. What she says while explaining how her plan worked is a powerful empowering message for women. She says: “You (to Jake) thought I was just Holt’s lackey. And you (to Holt) thought I was just Jake’s girlfriend. Well, I’m my own person, capable of making my own decisions, and I decided to humiliate you both.”

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 8

08. Rosa’s final prank on Amy

Rosa pulls one last prank on Amy in the eighth season’s final Halloween Heist. Rosa tells Amy, after seeing her ex-fiance, Adrian Pimento, in the final episode, she still thinks she’ll end up with him. As he was on his way to the airport to leave the country, Amy encourages Rosa to follow him and tell I’m how she feels, which Rosa pretends to do. However, this is later revealed to be a prank from Rosa in order for her to fool the other players into thinking she is no longer involved in the Heist. She says while revealing her plan: “You were so eager to think I’d drop everything and chase after Adrian… you all believed it because you all think for someone to be happy their story has to end with marriage and kids”. This is a powerful dig at the stereotypical view of women’s role in society as “breeders”. Rosa’s story doesn’t need to end in marriage for it to be a “happy ending”. Rosa made her story wonderful by just being herself. And “being herself” is so important it deserves its own rank, as you will see later on.

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 4

07. Amy’s Decision

In “Mr. Santiago,” Jake meets Amy’s father for the first time. Jake works hard to gain Mr Santiago’s approval, but the latter is not impressed by Jake’s infamous shenanigans and says that Jake isn’t good enough for his daughter. Amy is enraged at both her father and her boyfriend. She says: “What is this? 1950? You act like this is your decision to make… “, emphasising that the decision about who she dates and spends her life with is hers and hers alone.

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 5

06. Wedding Dress Chase

Amy is hesitant to be seen looking at wedding dresses as her wedding approaches, fearing that as a newly promoted sergeant will be taken less seriously by her officers if she is seen doing feminine things. When Rosa convinces Amy to try on wedding gowns, Amy finds herself in a foot chase with a perp while wearing a dress she was trying out, during which she uses the sash of her gown to overpower and eventually arrest the perp.

Rosa points out that Amy does not need to avoid “feminine” things in order to gain the respect of her team, as the event demonstrates that she is very capable of doing her police work in any circumstance.

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 6

05. The Invisible Officer

The season 6 episode “He Said, She Said” is very important for feminism and will be highlighted in three ranks in this article, the first of which is this one.

In the episode, Amy and Jake are investigating a case in which a businesswoman named Keri (Briga Heelan) breaks her boss’s penis after he sexually assaults her. Amy encourages Keri to pursue her case, even if it means jeopardising her future.

While working the case, Amy explains to Jake how the misogynist culture affects her as a police officer. She recalls several incidents of harassment on the street during that week. In one of the incidents, a man approaches Amy, who is dressed entirely in a police uniform, and asks if she can direct him to a police officer. The man dismisses Amy’s attempts to indicate she is a cop and quickly recognises Jake, who’s dressed in plain clothes, as an officer. Jake admits he did not fully understand how difficult it is for women to deal with a sexist society. When Amy tells him she is used to it, he says: “That’s even sadder,” delivering another great Jake feminist moment. This part of the episode shows how sexism is at the roots of society and that even some decent men can’t feel what women go through unless it is pointed out. You can see the conversation between Jake and Amy in the video under (4).

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 6

04. Jake Does Not Mansplain

In the same episode “He Said, She Said”, Amy and Rosa are discussing a whether it is the right decision to pursue the case of whether she should have let Keri take some “hush” money she was offered. Jake is sitting in the middle and appears to be murmuring words to himself, feeling a bit awkward, while remaining silent. Prior to this scene, Jake is shown several times as someone who is well-aware of and well-educated on feminist issues. However, he refrains from interfering in a discussion between two women about what a woman should do in such a situation, which is something that many men, even decent ones, fail to do. Not expressing his opinion demonstrated once again Jake’s true respect for women and feminism, this time by his actions.

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 7

03. Rosa Dias being Rosa Dias

Rosa Dias’ character played a significant role in empowering women throughout the sitcom. Rosa is an independent woman with great power and influence, who is respected by her coworkers and feared by criminals. Rosa Dias is the needle that punctures every female stereotype. She always appears to be fully equipped to handle any situation she’s put into, and always has her girl friends’ backs when faced the sexist society.

And, to add to her wonderful personality, she is also a metalhead. In Season 7, after breaking up with her girlfriend, she copes by listening to Death Metal music “in silence” at the bar. She even tries to drag Captain Holt into listening, as any good Metalhead would do.

Raise your horns in honour of Rosa Dias!

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 8

02. Jake Peralta goes full-time dad

Jake enjoys and excels at his job as a detective. Throughout the course of the show, he captures several criminals, solves numerous difficult cases, even cold ones, and tricks suspects into confessing to their crimes. However, when Amy is promoted to captain in the final season and tasked with an important police reform project, Jake realises that she will be unable to do her job properly unless he makes the difficult decision to leave the force to become a full-time father and care for his and Amy’s newborn.

As Jake explains, he knew Amy’s dream of becoming a captain from the beginning, and he never even considered asking Amy to give up her dream so she could play the traditional role of a mother while he remained a detective. He actually gave up his own dream without hesitation in order to allow his wife to play a vital role in the police force. This is, in my opinion, one of the most significant feminist moments in television history.

Spoiler Alert: Contains details from Season 6

01. “He said, She said”

The episode “He said, She said” has previously been mentioned for its significance in feminist issues. Amy and Jake eventually uncover evidence that leads to Keri’s boss being charged with sexual assault. Keri is happy she did the right thing even though she ends up quitting her job, reflecting the difficulties innocent sexual assault victims face in the community.

When Amy questions whether she actually helped Keri, Rosa points out that Keri winning the case encouraged another coworker who is a sexual assault victim to come forwards with her story.

This episode’s message is quite powerful. People will unfairly perceive you differently if you are a victim of sexual assault, but this is not your fault. Furthermore, it is important to talk about it, not only to bring the perpetrator to justice but also to encourage other women who have been victims of sexual assault to come forward and speak out. Society will attempt to silence you. But there will always be an Amy and a Jake to assist you.

These were my top 10 feminist moments on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I would like to know your favourite moment. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Vanessa K

I love writing random thoughts and making people think and laugh.