Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a TV sitcom about the fictional 99th Precinct of the NYPD, a series created by the same mind behind The Office, Parks and Recreation, and The Good Place.
It may have its flaws—like stretched believability or rushed plotline resolutions—but it's a fantastic low-maintenance show that's original and wholesome, making it great for when you're feeling down.
A lot of that comes down to its characters. Here are my picks for the best Brooklyn Nine-Nine characters and why they stand out, whether it's because they're resolute, quirky, or simply likable.
10. Gina Linetti
Many viewers like Gina Linetti, but I'm not one of them. That said, I can recognize why people like her and I can respect that she does deserve a spot on this list.
On paper, Gina is the civilian administrator at the precinct. But if you ask her, she's much more than that. She's a dancer and an influencer. Gina has a high opinion of herself, so she never works yet believes herself to be essential for her workplace. Somehow, everyone agrees.
At the same time, she can come across as very self-centered and doesn't have a problem being rude to people. If she was my colleague? I would avoid her and ponder if I should quit my job.
This annoying self-perception is what makes Gina absolutely unique—and if you don't take her too seriously, it's her ridiculousness and extravagance that makes her amusing.
She's detached from reality, lucky in every situation, but also has a good heart. Maybe that's why everyone loves her.
9. Jake Peralta
Jake Peralta is, first and foremost, a police detective. He also happens to be the main protagonist of the show.
His favorite movie is Die Hard and he's portrayed as an eternal man-child who often fails to take care of himself. He might be great at his job at times, but he's frequently troubled and impulsive.
I know the creators worked hard to make him humorous, but sometimes it can get repetitive. His jokes are almost always developed as angsty and self-demeaning monologues. How many times can we laugh at him before we start to feel sad for him?
That said, his character development is what makes him such a great character. We don't love him because he cracks jokes all the time; rather, we cherish those scarce but important moments of growth.
He starts off as a self-centered, chaotic, and disrespectful person who rebels against his new precinct leader, Captain Holt. As time passes, we see how his interactions with his colleagues don't just make him a better detective, but a better person.
8. Hitchcock and Scully
Hitchcock and Scully are two elderly detectives who are mainly there for comic relief. They're portrayed as lazy and weird, who have given up on their careers, but remain kind at heart.
Viewers love Hitchcock and Sully, and I personally find them to be extremely interesting as characters.
Why? Because they always work better when they're together. They're rarely seen on screen without the other nearby, and that's because they're best friends who can't be separated.
And it's even more interesting when you learn that they used to be respected detectives who were actually very committed to their jobs.
Hitchcock and Scully rarely do anything for the show's plotlines, but they successfully enrich the show's universe.
What's important here is that Hitchcock and Scully represent the fact that we all age—and they've embraced this about themselves, but in a way that never hinders or gives up on their fellow squad.
7. Adrian Pimento
Adrian Pimento is a police detective, but he's a secondary character who only shows up in a handful of episodes. Does he deserve a spot on this list? Yes, he does! Because he's hilarious.
Pimento isn't just a detective; he's been undercover. In fact, he was undercover for so long that he suffered irreparable trauma that has ruined him forever. (It's all played for humor, of course.)
With the amazing acting skills of Jason Mantzoukas, the unstable character of Adrian Pimento—full of irrational, quirky behaviors—is elevated from annoying to downright hysterical.
6. Amy Santiago
Amy Santiago starts as a detective, then becomes a sergeant. She's career-driven, organized, obsessive, empathetic, socially awkward, and kind-hearted. Some would also say she's quite nerdy.
She's established as Jake's love interest almost immediately, yet Brooklyn Nine-Nine smartly keeps their plotlines as subplots, giving them room to grow organically without smothering the show.
Amy deeply cares about what people think of her and is fundamentally insecure, but we get to witness her growth in overcoming that—and a lot of that is due to her strong bond with Captain Holt, who mentors her.
Amy Santiago never loses her core person, but she's also not the same at the end of Brooklyn Nine-Nine as she was at the beginning, and that's a great thing that proves how much she grows.
5. Rosa Diaz
Rosa Diaz is another detective of the squad, but she's more of a mystery than anyone else—at least at the start when she's dressed in black, private, reserved, and always at arm's distance.
Detective Diaz is an interesting character because she doesn't fall into the usual tropes of a conventionally attractive character. She lends to comic relief, to plot progression, and to real relationships with others.
She eventually comes out as bisexual, but up until that point, her character mainly contended with themes relating to her relationship with her family and her own personal interests.
When female characters develop on screen, it's always refreshing when the development centers on something other than romance. Rosa is queer, but she's almost much more that.
4. Terry Jeffords
Terry Jeffords is the lieutenant of the 99th Precinct. He's a family man who loves simple things in life: working out, suspenders, and yogurt. He's a good man with a great set of values, he loves his family dearly, and he's committed to the wellness of the 99th Precinct.
What makes Terry unique is the fact that he's the moral compass of the room. He has his flaws, of course, but he's the kind of person who's always trying to improve himself—and that spreads to others around him.
In a lot of shows, the "middle management" character would be a pain in the butt, a common source of conflict. Instead, Terry is brave, kind, generous, and more emotionally intelligent than the rest.
And despite his appearance, Terry puts a twist on traditional masculine portrayals. He goes beyond conventional macho behaviors, as we see him exhibit an acute awareness of style, pride in being in touch with his emotions, and an impressive understanding of others.
3. Kevin Cozner
Kevin Cozner is Captain Raymond Holt's husband. He's not a main character of the show, but as far as supporting characters in sitcom TV shows go, Kevin is one of the best in modern television.
Kevin is head of the Classics Department at Columbia University, and he's just as cold and robotic as his partner Raymond Holt, complete with heavy doses of sarcasm, English literature, and tweed.
Despite that, we gradually see how Kevin is supportive and loyal towards Holt, that he's actually a very decent human being beneath his sharp exterior. (Props to actor Marc Evan Jackson for pulling that off!)
I rank him this highly because Kevin packs a lot of punch for how little he actually shows up over the seasons. It's a pleasure to watch him interact with Holt, and the show would not be the same without him.
2. Charles Boyle
Charles Boyle is a detective and Jake's best friend, but he's also a father, a cuisine enthusiast, a husband, and a proud member of the Boyle clan. He's loyal, smart, and emotionally intelligent.
At the beginning of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Boyle was mainly used for comedic relief as Jake's sidekick. Then, as the show developed, Charles began to have a lot more of his own screen time.
In many other sitcoms, someone like Charles would end up being flanderized into a kind of Dwight Schrute character. After all, Charles is quirky, socially awkward, and loves the color beige.
But this wholesome show chooses to make Charles Boyle something greater. He's lovable, kind, and romantic, with great parenting skills, all capped off with a huge heart. He's brave, selfless, honest, rational, and charming. He's the Samwise Gamgee of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
1. Raymond Holt
Captain Raymond Holt is the boss in charge of the 99th Precinct, and he is the absolute best character in the show.
Holt is absurdly serious and takes everything at face value. But despite his severe lack of social intelligence, he's actually quite competent, he cares about his career, and he takes care of his employees.
He's such a contradiction. On one hand, he's surprisingly cultured enough to have landed Kevin as a life partner. On the other hand, he's unable to read people's emotions and he's almost robotic in his behavior.
But Brooklyn Nine-Nine is so endearing in how it treats that personality trait: it may cause conflict, but it never causes enmity between Holt and the rest of the characters.
In fact, Holt ends up being a career mentor to Amy Santiago, a father figure to Jake Peralta, and close friends with Terry and Rosa.
Raymond Holt was written with care and complexity. He's a textbook introvert, but he's put in a position of power—and he excels in the role! That's not something you often see in TV shows.
Oh, and did we mention that Holt is gay? It's core to his character, but never his entire character. Holt shines as an example of authentic representation that deftly evades tropey stereotypes.
When all of that comes together, we get a layered person who feels real even as he feels absurd and ridiculous. For that, Captain Raymond Holt is, by far, the best character in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.