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Series: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a single-camera sitcom airing on Fox starting in fall, 2013. The series follows a diverse group of police detectives in New York City's 99th precinct (hence the title), and their reactions to hardass new captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher, previously known as homicide detective Frank Pembleton on Homicide: Life on the Street). Facing an especially difficult adjustment is Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), a smart but rebellious cop in constant competition with his more strait-laced partner Amy Santiago (played by Melissa Fumero).


Tropes used in this series include:

  • Action Girl: Both Santiago and Diaz easily drop perps who are bigger than them.
  • Adorkable: Amy Santiago can become this, particularly when her eagerness to please Holt leads her to act goofy and klutzy.
  • The Alleged Car: Jake admits he has a terrible car, but he loves it because he associates it with the first arrest he made after graduating from the academy. The sentimental value is (partly) why he takes his bet with Santiago so seriously.
  • Amusing Injuries: Boyle getting shot in the butt.
  • Analogy Backfire: Jeffords is so proud of his team, he tells Holt that he feels like a mama hen watching her chicks take flight for the first time. Holt points out it's interesting that he used chickens, a species of bird infamous for its inability to fly.
  • And Starring: "And Andre Braugher".
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Played with in "Charges and Specs." Before Jake takes off for his undercover assignment, he confesses his feelings for Amy. It's not anguished, but it's regretful.
    Jake: Look, um, I don't wanna be a jerk. I know you're dating Teddy, and it's going really well, it's just...
    Amy: (curiously) What's going on?
    Jake: I don't know what's gonna happen on this assignment, and if something bad goes down I think I'd be pissed at myself if I didn't say this: I kinda wish something... could happen, between us, romantic-stylez. And I know it can't, 'cuz you're with Teddy, and I'm going undercover, and... it's... just how it is, but...
    (a cop walks by, an appropriately understated Moment Killer for an understated moment)
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Holt and Jeffords in "Operation: Broken Feather." In order to make the office more efficient, they've analyzed their employees and problem spots and uses those flaws to actually make the precinct more efficient.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The precinct thinks that Holt's husband invited them to Holt's birthday party. It eventually gets revealed that Holt had them invited against his husband's wishes, and Holt goes so far as to say that he likes them.
  • Bad Ass: Captain Holt. He's shown to have personally arrested at least two serial killers (both apparently without backup), and in "Christmas" when Peralta is trying to keep him in a safehouse he says, "The only way you're going to keep me here is if you physically stop me. Can you do that, Peralta?" Peralta, who isn't half bad in a fight, just mumbles in a subdued fashion. Although this particular example is slightly undercut when Holt overconfidently begins to step past Peralta only for Peralta to suddenly grab his wrist and handcuff himself to Holt — no one said "physical" had to mean "beat-down".
    • Peralta, Diaz and Terry all qualified in their own way, all of them being very capable officers.
    • She's had less opportunities to show it off, but Santiago also has shades of this, given how she handled a big, intimidating perp with a night-stick quite well in the pilot episode.
      • Santiago also gets a really nice take-down in "Old School", though Peralta is the one that gets into more straight-up fist fights. For a comedy, they don't skimp on action scenes.
  • Bad Date:
    • Peralta tries to invoke "The Worst Date Of Your Life" to humiliate Santiago after he wins their bet and she has to go on a date with him. When it's interrupted by Holt sending them on a stakeout, they end up genuinely bonding and having a pleasant time instead.
    • Pretty much any time we've seen Santiago's personal life, she's been on one of these.
      • Peralta as well, but usually it's his fault.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Pontiac Bandit.
  • Bad Liar/Blatant Lies:
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Played with; Captain Holt is not quite bald, but he has a very short-buzz cut and possesses the standard personality of this character (authoritative, serious, commanding, etc.). On the other hand, Sgt. Jeffords actually is bald, but is less imposing and authoritative personality-wise and is a bit more neurotic than the standard example of the trope.
  • Batman Gambit: How Peralta wins his bet with Holt that he could steal his Medal of Valor from his office - Peralta gets the rest of the team to help by volunteering to do their paperwork if they do so, knowing that Holt will have to do it as he's doing Peralta's paperwork if he steals the medal. Subsequently, every time Holt catches him, he fails to catch the other cops working on getting the medal.
  • Battle of Wits: Peralta and Holt in "Halloween."
  • Bedmate Reveal: A shot of Boyle and Gina caps off "Charges and Specs" (and as such, the first season).
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Peralta and Santiago are somewhere between this and Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • The Bet: Santiago and Peralta's contest over who can make the most busts. In an episode appropriately titled "The Bet", Peralta wins, and forces Santiago to go on "the worst date ever". Said date reveals (via a drug-addled Boyle "dropping truth bombs") that he may have feelings for her.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Kwazy Cupcakes," an ersatz version of Candy Crush Saga.
  • Brick Joke: Early in "Unsolvable", to celebrate closing another case, Boyle asks Jake to dance with him to the song "Whatta Man" by Salt N Pepa, and Jake replies that he will never dance to that song. At the very end of the episode, Jake (drunk) is singing and dancing to the same song with Terry and Boyle.
    Jake: I hate myself right now!
  • Broken Pedestal: In "Old School", Peralta is initially thrilled to meet his idol, reporter Jimmy Brogan, who wrote a true crime novel about 1970s New York cops that inspired Peralta to become a cop. He gradually becomes disillusioned with Brogan's hard-edged 'old school' ways until he eventually punches Brogan after Brogan makes a homophobic slur about Captain Holt.
  • Brutal Honesty: In "The Bet", Boyle starts dropping 'truth-bombs' on everyone thanks to a dose of particularly strong pain medication.
  • Bulletproof Vest: The cast are shown putting these on when they go out after murder suspects.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • Peralta, who's described in-show as being an Adult Child.
    • Boyle being an actually successful detective might actually be even more improbable. It is explained; the other members of the squad note that while Boyle is undeniably clumsy, he's a 'grinder' who works very hard to overcome his shortcomings rather than it just coming naturally. Unlike Peralta and the other detectives, Boyle doesn't have a slump because he just keeps working until he's done.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Charles Boyle, who, though quite competent, is extremely unlucky. Dude can't even eat a muffin without it spiraling into an implausible disaster. Or pursue a murderer without having his face and upper body shoved into several trays of gelato.
      Sgt. Jeffords: [Discussing Boyle] He's not physically... gifted.
    • Scully and Hitchcock to an even greater degree. Boyle is at the very least effective at his job, whereas the two of them are mostly there to contrast to the relative competency of the main cast. Hitchcock got kicked in the balls (twice!) and robbed by a hooker. The rest of the 99 call the dash-cam footage of the incident "the best cop movie ever."
  • Cassandra Truth: This trope is the reason why Holt comfortably tells Peralta — and only Peralta — the real explanation behind his wrist injury:
    Holt: I was hula-hooping. Kevin and I attend a class for fitness and for fun.
    Peralta: [Overjoyed] Oh my God!
    Holt: I've mastered all the moves. [Produces his phone and shows pictures to Peralta] The Pizza Toss... the Tornado... The Scorpion, the Oopsie-Doodle...
    Peralta: Why are you telling me this?!
    Holt: {Evilly] Because no one... will ever believe you.
    [Holt deletes the photos and smirks triumphantly at Peralta]
    Peralta: [Genuinely furious] You sick son of a bitch!
  • Casting Gag: This isn't the first time that Andre Braugher has played an uber-serious and imposing police officer. But unlike the grim and gritty environment of urban realism that Detective Frank Pembleton starred in, Captain Ray Holt operates in a comedic setting populated by goofy eccentrics. On top of that, Frank Pembleton was the brilliant-but-arrogant lone-wolf cop who refused to play with others and had to be pressured into doing so by his commanding officer. In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Ray Holt is the commanding officer who has to deal with an arrogant lone-wolf detective who refuses to play with others and has to be pressured into doing so (Peralta). And to finish the gag off, on the earlier show Braugher played the partner of a detective who eventually came out as bisexual, while in this show he plays an openly gay police officer.
  • Chained Heat: In "Christmas", Peralta handcuffs himself to Holt and throws the key down a grate to keep him from leaving the safe house. Holt calls Boyle to fetch him, but when Boyle can't decide whether to remove the cuffs or not, he panics and cuffs himself to Holt as well.
  • Chase Scene: Subverted in "Thanksgiving"; Peralta discusses a cocaine bust he performed which looked like it was building to one of these, completely with the perp hijacking someone's flashy looking sports car to get away... except that as soon as the perp pulls into traffic, he immediately finds himself trapped behind a huge garbage truck which is itself part of a gridlocked traffic jam down a one-way single lane street. Peralta, naturally, is equal parts smug and amused.
  • The Chessmaster: Peralta views himself as one but it is subverted when it becomes apparent that he does not even know how chess is played. However, he does manage to outgambit Holt in their Halloween bet.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Gina, the 99th's civilian administrator.
    Holt: So, Gina, civilian administrators, like yourself, often have their ear to the ground. What do Santiago and Peralta have riding on this bet of theirs?
    Gina: I will tell you, on six conditions. Number one: you let me use your office to practice m' dance moves. Second...
    Holt: How 'bout this: you tell me, and I won't suspend you...without pay.
    Gina: Oh, that sounds great. The deal is, if Amy gets more arrests, Jake has to give her his car. It's an old Mustang and is pretty sweet. If he gets more arrests, she has to go on a date with him. He guarantees it will end in sex. I bet on at least some over-the-clothes action, at the very least, some touching...
    Holt: That's enough, Gina.
    Gina: (Undeterred) I could see him showing up in a silk robe...
    Holt: That's enough, Gina. Thank you.
    • One guess who Gina's pulling for to win the bet.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Peralta is a very good detective but he tends to miss key facts about his coworkers. He completely fails to realize that Holt is gay even though it is public knowledge and Holt even has a framed newspaper article about it hanging in his office.
  • The Comically Serious: Holt. He's definitely got a sense of humor, but he's such a rock-hard professional that it never rises above the deadpan.
    Holt: What's this I hear about you being on administrative leave?
    Jeffords: A year ago, my wife and I had twin baby girls, Cagney and Lacey.
    [Jeffords shows Holt a photo of his daughters]
    Holt: (emotionless cop voice) They have adorable chubby cheeks.
    • Invoked in "The Tagger."
      Peralta: Has anyone ever told you you look exactly like a statue?
      Holt: Yes.
    • In "The Slump," Holt tells Peralta a story about an unlucky detective named Smitty and gives him a lucky rabbit's foot. At the end of the episode, Holt tells Peralta he was just messing with him, in the same deadpan tone.
    • And explored in the "M.E. Time"," where all the other cops relate their experiences with Holt relating what should be either incredibly good news (going on holiday with his husband) or incredibly bad news (a fire which damaged several precious heirlooms) in the same flat monotone, making it impossible to determine what his mood is at any given moment. It's also subverted in the same episode, as when the cops are telling their stories, Scully pitches in with one. We then cut to a flashback which involves Holt, clearly very pissed off, tearing Scully a new one:
      Holt: [Screaming] This is the most incompetent, worthless report I have ever read in my life! [Slams the report on his desk] Get your act together or so help me God, you won't live to see retirement!
      [Cut back to present]
      Scully: It's like, "What's that guy thinking?"
    • In "The Party," we meet Holt's husband Kevin, an equally sober and serious man who apparently considers Holt to be the funny one in the relationship. Furthering this belief are the guests at the party who proclaim Holt as incredibly hilarious.
      Holt: "...no, no, I said, milli-meter."
      (Guests laugh uproariously as Peralta looks on, puzzled)
      Guest: Okay, I could choke from laughter. You're too funny!
    • The followup episode, "Full Boyle," also shows him thinking of an opening joke for a crowd:
      Holt: "Do you know what the toughest part of being a black, gay police officer is? ...The discrimination." ...I believe that's what you call observational humor.
      Gina: Probably.
    He repeats it to a crowd of African-American gay and lesbian police officers later in the episode and they crack up. Meanwhile, Gina looks on with a Flat "What." and a perplexed expression similar to Peralta's.
  • Consummate Professional: Holt. Santiago thinks she is, but is a little too invested in her BST-laden rivalry with Peralta, as well as her completely obsequious attitude towards Holt.
  • Continuity Nod: The painting Terry painted of Captain Holt is in his husband Kevin's office in "The Party."
  • Courtroom Antic: Not quite a courtroom, but at Peralta's suspension hearing Jeffords has the other members of the squad stall the proceedings in order to buy time for Peralta, Santiago and Holt to find the evidence that will clear Peralta. This leads to Boyle engaging in extended Wangsting over his recent break-up with his fiancée, Diaz spacing out her syllables by several seconds, and Gina bombarding the panel with Emoji-speak.
  • Da Chief: Holt.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Holt is basically a straight-faced rock in a uniform. His husband Kevin — an equally stoic man — apparently considers him to be "the funny one" of the relationship.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: In "The Bet," every single time he tries to apologize for something he tells Jeffords' wife, he gets Jeffords into more trouble.
    Holt: Oh, I've caused a problem. ...I think I am getting a text message. (not even trying to hide it) Bloop. Ah, there it is.
    Holt: Perhaps I should stop talking to your wife.
    Holt: Oh, no. Oh, goodness. I shouldn't have said that. I feel I may have made things worse.
  • Disappeared Dad: Peralta's father abandoned him and his mother when Peralta was still a kid. This actually causes a temporary truce with the fire department, as Fire Marshall Boone's dad did the same thing.
  • Distress Ball: Despite being ostensibly one of the most capable people in the Nine-Nine, Rosa is tricked by the Freestyle killer without much difficulty. This allows for Boyle to take the bullet for her.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: The firefighters in "Sal's Pizza" have a tendency to spell out their insults to the police officers:
    Firefighter: [Having presented Peralta with a donut squashed into a file] It's a donut! Because you're cops!
    Peralta: Are you sure?
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Diaz tends to be a little rough when pushed or reacting to unwanted tickling (a one-handed wrist lock without even dropping her coffee). However, it's played for laughs in part because Diaz terrifies just about everyone and is clearly overreacting.
  • Dropped After the Pilot: The Pilot introduces Scully and Hitchcock as part of a trio of incompetent detectives who happen to make great coffee, with the third being a female detective called Daniels, who has never been seen since.
  • Dynamic Entry: Jeffords' return to the field is tackling a guy who already shot Boyle in the ass and had a gun trained on Peralta and Holt from offscreen.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Our first glimpse of Peralta is him goofing around childishly in an electronic store that has been robbed. He seems to be just a typical comedy incompetent bumbling cop... and then he reveals that he got there before his partner, found a security 'nanny cam' concealed in a teddy bear and used it to ID the robbers. He's good at his job, he's just really immature about it.
    • We get a sense of Holt's character immediately with his first interaction with Peralta; less than impressed by Peralta's dismissive impression of him, rather than chewing him out he instead turns it back on Peralta by forcing him to repeat it to his face in front of everyone, before ordering him to wear a tie and delivering a very to-the-point introduction speech:
      Holt: I'm Captain Ray Holt. I'm your new commanding officer.
      Santiago: Speech!
      Holt: That was my speech.
    • Jeffords' introductions to the rest of the main characters gives them each one of these via flashback; Diaz intimidates a colleague into revealing and changing her Secret Santa gift with nothing more than a glare and stony silence, Boyle manages to turn eating a muffin into a humiliating series of minor disasters, and Santiago foolishly douses her entire sandwich in (incredibly) hot sauce simply because a colleague warned her it was hot.
  • Exact Words: Captain Holt told Peralta to wear a tie. He didn't say anything about pants.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Scully and Hitchcock apparently have this bad.
    Santiago: [Holt] and I are exactly the same. Except I'm younger, Cuban, female, single and straight.
    Scully: [Laughing] Captain Holt's not gay!
    [Santiago and Jeffords stare at him incredulously]
    Scully: ...Captain Holt's gay?
    Santiago: Seriously, man — just retire.
  • Fair Cop: Santiago. Diaz is also fairly easy on the eyes, but her surly attitude distances her from this trope a bit more.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Holt and Peralta begin the series barely able to tolerate each other, but gradually develop a deep respect for each other, if not an actual friendship. This comes to a head in the first season finale, when Peralta puts his entire career on the line and gets himself fired solely because Holt asked him to trust him.
  • Fish out of Water: "The Party" involves the unit being invited to Captain Holt's birthday party by his husband, a classics professor at Columbia University, and much of the comedy comes from the rather low-brow, socially inept detectives dealing with the high culture types they're mingling with. It initially appears that Holt's husband looks down on the cops for precisely this reason until Peralta deduces that his disdain actually comes from his resentment at the way the NYPD has often treated Holt due to his homosexuality.
  • 555: The number featured in the sleazy PI's commercial in "The Ebony Falcon".
  • Foreshadowing: In "Halloween", whenever Holt catches Peralta in an obvious attempt to break into his office or distract him so that Peralta can steal his Medal of Valor, Peralta protests that the plan was designed to fail. At the time, it seems just like Peralta trying to soothe his ego. The ending reveals that they were, in fact, designed to fail — so that Holt would be distracted from noticing that the other detectives in the squad were breaking into his office and helping Peralta steal the medal.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's been implied that Jake's issues with authority and his immaturity stem from his Disappeared Dad.
    • Freudian Slip: This leads to Jake inadvertently blurting out "Thanks, Dad" after Holt briefs him on one of his cases — within earshot of the whole precinct.
  • Fridge Brilliance: In-universe, it takes Peralta most of the first episode to figure out why Holt is so intent on his detectives wearing neckties, leading to him gleefully experiencing an epiphany while the team are in the middle of arresting a murder suspect.
  • Funny Foreigner: Mlepnos, played by Fred Armisen.
  • Good News, Bad News:
    • Scully opens with this in "48 Hours," even though both the bits of news he delivers turn out to be bad.
    • Shows up again in "Operation: Broken Feather." In this case, the good news is that they made a ton of busts... the bad news is that they have to process a mountain of paperwork by the next day.
  • Graceful Loser: Holt in "Halloween", after losing the bet to Peralta. He even seems genuinely impressed by Peralta's gambit.
  • Hands-On Approach: While at the shooting range with Jeffords and Holt, Gina encourages Jeffords to do this, saying "Show me! Like put your thick, muscular arms and...", it's one-way, as Jeffords is happily married, but that doesn't stop Gina from enjoying it.
  • Happy Place: Boyle recommends it when you're nervous. His is slurping an infinitely long piece of linguine... and every 20 feet? A sauce change. Rosa takes his advice while she's on the stand and imagines herself, in a cabin, beating the defense attorney examining her to death and ripping his arms off.
  • He's Back: Jeffords returns to the field when he learns Holt's life is in danger. After tackling the perp from offscreen, he even exclaims "Terry's back!"
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Downplayed for Boyle. He's not physically gifted, and he isn't as clever as Peralta or Santiago, but he closes cases by working harder than everyone else.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Despite Diaz's surly attitude and the fact that her taste in guys is apparently "anyone but [Boyle]", she is surprisingly willing to go out on a date to a movie with him. Even though he completely blows his chances with her at the end she admits that she still enjoys his company and finds him 'sweet'. She was a model student at her Catholic high school and for a time attended the American Ballet Academy.
      • It's parodied in "Halloween" when Peralta reveals the rest of the team's involvement in his plan, as both he & Holt note that it's not surprising that Diaz can pick locks.
      • Lampshaded in "Old School," when it turns out that the reason she's so bad on the witness stand is because she's nervous, not just naturally angry.
        Diaz: Of course I'm nervous! What did you think was the problem?
        Jeffords: We just assumed you were a terrifying human being with a short fuse!
    • At first glance, you might think that Sgt. Terry Jeffords was simply the cop version of the Scary Black Man... except he's hyper-cautious and terrified of going into the field, has twin baby daughters whom he clearly utterly dotes on, loves yoghurt, French arthouse movies and going to the farmer's market, and personality-wise is basically the complete opposite of the stereotype. He is also a gifted painter and sketch artist.
    • Those Two Butt Monkeys Scully and Hitchcock were apparently heavily addicted to cocaine "for most of 1986".
    • Scully's usefulness as a member of the NYPD is questionable but he does have a lovely operatic singing voice.
    • Peralta apparently took tap for three years and is proficient at ballroom dancing.
    • Hitchcock's complete lack of Hidden Depths is lampshaded in "The Party," when Jeffords assigns everyone a task or topic... except Hitchcock, whom he tells to do and say nothing.
  • How We Got Here: In the beginning of "Charges and Specs", Peralta is a lone at a bar, comically drunk. He buys everyone a round and the guy next to him asks what the occasion. He replies that he's celebrating because he just got fired. Then the episode flashbacks to a week earlier to explain why.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • At one point, Holt busts Santiago for talking to Peralta during one of his briefings, prompting Santiago to protest (not without reason) that Peralta was the one who was talking and she was merely trying to extract herself from the conversation. Peralta accuses her of being "the worst fourth-grader ever" by trying to throw the blame on him. The hypocrisy comes through in that in almost every episode up to this point, whenever Peralta's gotten into trouble at some point he's childishly tried to throw the blame onto Santiago somehow.
    • After Gina's apartment gets burgled and the detectives investigate, this exchange happens:
      Diaz: You don't have locks on your windows.
      Gina: Way to blame the victim! Sorry I'm not rich like you, Miss One-Percent.
      Diaz: [Annoyed] They cost eight dollars. You have a fur bed-spread.
  • I Have Brothers: The given reason for Santiago's competitive streak and desire to prove her toughness.
  • I Love the Dead: The coroner Peralta dated in "M.E. Time" was turned on by having him be as cold and still as possible. They also engaged in roleplay where he plays a dead body that she finds and... you know. It's not explicitly said that she does anything with the dead bodies, but she's definitely into them.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
    • In "The Bet," Boyle is stuck in an elevator with Holt, and in order to dodge the awkward silence...
      Boyle: I'm worried you don't find me interesting. I'm going to pretend someone texted me. Bloop! [looks down at phone and chuckles]
    • Holt then subsequently repeats that stunt after accidentally getting Jeffords into trouble with his wife.
      Holt: Oh, I've caused a problem. ...I think I am getting a text message. Bloop! Ah, there it is.
    • "Full Boyle" gives us two in a row, when a caped guy calling himself Super Dan wants to report a crime he witnessed.
      Diaz: I'm busy right now, working on this...
      (beat)
      (another beat)
      Diaz: ...excuse.
    • She then directs him to Santiago, who replies...
      Santiago: Oh, gosh, I am so sorry; I literally just retired! [picks up a cupcake and starts eating] This is my retirement cake! Mmm! Thanks, you guys! I'm gonna miss this place!
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Samberg's Saturday Night Live colleague Fred Armisen plays an English-challenged witness, Mlepnos, in the pilot. He also re-appears in "Operation: Broken Feather," where the two of them sing a song together.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Charles Boyle seems to have a lot of stereotypically feminine interests. As a child, he played with his sister's dollhouse ("Grandma got it for both of us!") and read Nancy Drew novels. He's also a bit stereotypically wimpy.
  • It's All About Me: Peralta is a good detective, but incredibly narcissistic; he often tries to shut out his team-mates from investigations so he can collect all the glory (which backfires on him in "The Vulture" when his delays in solving a high-profile case due to this create an opening for Major Cases to seize jurisdiction away from him just before he solves it) or tries to take over if someone else is the primary detective.
  • Jerkass: Detective Pembroke from Major Cases fits in this trope like a glove, what with his constant swooping in to steal cases that our main characters have almost solved to claim the credit, his obnoxious and bullying "alpha male" personality, his unwelcome advances towards Santiago, his strange obsession with Peralta's "big white ass" and his Vladmir Putin-collection underwear.
  • Jurisdiction Friction:
    • Detective Pembroke of the Major Crimes Squad, an obnoxious and smarmy jerk known as "the Vulture" (in the episode of the same name), waits until the local detectives have almost completed an investigation before swooping in to claim jurisdiction, thus managing to take all the credit without having to do any of the work. He also seems curiously fixated on Detective Peralta's "big white ass".
    • The rivalry between the NYPD and the FDNY rears its ugly head during an arson case in "Sal's Pizza."
    • And both of these rivalries (professionally for the former, but not the latter) are referenced again in "Operation: Broken Feather."
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Peralta wins the Halloween bet with Holt by distracting Holt with a series of lame attempts to break into Holt's office. While Holt was busy thwarting Peralta, the other detectives worked their way through Holt's security precautions and stole his Medal of Valor.
  • Lame Comeback: Peralta to Santiago.
    Santiago: Going to be hard to win our bet when you're on the bench, Peralta. Although, I did start a new category: Murderers we let go. And look at that! You're winning! (Leaving) Have fun with your files.
    Peralta: Yeah, you know what? I will have fun with my files! Have fun with... your face! (Attempts to slam door, which rebounds off some boxes) SLAM! That was a slam!.
    • The various members of the fire department who get into slanging matches with Peralta and Boyle in "Sal's Pizza" tend to come up with these — although oddly, they seem to view them as being the height of wit:
      Peralta: What are you two doing here?
      Firefighter 1: You're a detective; you detect it out!
      Firefighter 2: Good one, bro!
      Firefighter 1: I know, bro!
      Firefighter 2: Yeah, bro!
      Peralta: Wow, it's like watching Meet the Press.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "Full Boyle", Santiago and Diaz get a lot of snide pleasure out of mocking an incredibly dorky guy who dresses up as a superhero and tries to report a crime to them... only to discover afterwards that he actually had a lot of valuable information on a major drugs ring they've been investigating. Sgt. Jeffords takes them off this case partly to punish them for their Jerkass behaviour and partly because the superhero refused to give the information to them after they dismissed him. In addition to this, Diaz shows little remorse for her cruelty even after this... so at the end, when they've made it up to the superhero, she's the one who has to take his statement and feign enthusiasm for his rambling.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: The fact that Captain Holt is homosexual is treated as a surprise reveal for both the characters and the audience in the pilot. As it's often referred to in later episodes, it becomes this for anyone who missed the pilot.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: After an episode of goofy antics and neurotic behaviour, the team work as an efficient, well-oiled unit to bring down the fugitive murderer at the end of the pilot episode.
  • Loophole Abuse: In the pilot, Peralta first skirts the "must wear ties" rule by wearing it tied around his torso under his shirt. Later, he puts on the tie, but isn't wearing pants.
  • Lovable Coward: Ever since the birth of his twin girls Sgt. Jeffords has been keen to get as far away from the more dangerous side of police work as he can possibly get. His over-cautiousness appears to stem to other aspects of his life as well; he refuses to buy his family an SUV because "They roll!"
  • Meaningful Background Event/Right Behind Me: During Peralta's dismissive robot impression of what he expects the new precinct captain to be like, you can see Holt — the new precinct captain in question — walk up behind him.
  • Mentor Archetype: Holt is gradually becoming this for Peralta. Santiago desperately wishes Holt was becoming this for her.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Due to the closeness of their friendship and some misleading dialogue, several of Kevin's friend are led to believe Hitchcock and Scully are gay lovers.
  • Mood Whiplash: The stakeout in the pilot episode is fairly comedic and lighthearted until Captain Holt reveals that the reason his career stalled out for so long is because of the institutional discrimination he faced as a gay man. Peralta even (briefly) drops his clownish demeanor and apologizes for his earlier antics.
  • New Old Flame: In "Tactical Village," Santiago runs into another cop she used to date who now lives in Brooklyn. They begin dating again, just in time for Peralta to realize that he might like her.
  • Nobody Calls Me Chicken: Santiago:
    • Her over-competitive nature is introduced in a flashback in the pilot when a colleague warns her that the sauce she's applying to her sandwich is incredibly hot. He's not even challenging her, he's merely pointing this out to her. Her response is to snarl "Oh, is it?!", pop off the cap, and defiantly drench the sandwich in hot sauce. One bite later, she's instantly regretting it.
    • Explained by Jeffords:
      Jeffords: She's got seven brothers, so she's always trying to prove she's tough.
  • Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used To Be: In "Old School", Peralta's hero — a journalist who wrote a true-crime novel about a tough gang of 1970s New York cops — shows up, prompting Peralta to idealise the old 1970s cops. Holt, an openly gay African American who was actually there, takes a far less rosy-eyed view of the past:
    Holt: The Seventies were not a good time for the city or for the department. Corruption, brutality, sexism... Diaz or Santiago never would have made detective, and an openly gay man like me? I never would have been given my own command.
  • Not so Above It All: Played for Laughs. In "Thanksgiving", Holt reacts with typical weariness when Peralta eagerly suggests that they role-play as "Barley and Jimes", but when one of the suspects they're following gets embroiled in an out-of-control family argument he ends up drawing upon the backstory Peralta gave 'Jimes' to stop them fighting:
    Holt: (shouting dramatically) MY WIFE WAS MURDERED BY A MAN IN A YELLOW SWEATER! IT'S THE ONE CASE I CAN'T SOLVE! Don't fight with family; it can all go away so quickly. (back to deadpan) Sign this?
  • Not So Different: In the episode "Christmas", we start to see shades of Holt and Peralta, acting like each other. It's made even clearer when flashbacks show that young Holt was more brash and cocky than he is now-much like Peralta.
    Peralta: Wow, I think I really would have gotten along with young Ray Holt.
    Holt: Yes, that's why I decided to change everything about my life.
  • Odd Couple:
    • In terms of the being the main characters of the series, the serious, imposing and stern Holt and the irreverent, mischievous Peralta have this dynamic.
    • Peralta also has this with Santiago and Boyle whenever they're seen working together on cases; Santiago is the strait-laced, uptight Foil to Peralta, and takes her job seriously while he's always goofing off. Boyle, meanwhile, is dorky, clumsy and slightly wimpy where Peralta is cool and laid back.
  • N-Word Privileges: Implied when Peralta says he can't sing along to his favorite "very explicit" rap songs when Captain Holt is in the car with him.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: In the B-plot to "The Apartment", Diaz and Boyle get back on Det. Lohank shaving on her keyboard by filling his locker full of loose hair and shaving cream. However, when they talk to him and ask him if he's going to hit his locker before going to the gym, he tells them that he hasn't gone to the gym in a while because he's been having marital problems, his wife's become addicted to painkillers, and his dog accidentally got out and was hit by a drunk driver, and says his vet told him that the dog's suffering was "unending and terrible."
    Lohank: ...I'm sorry, I'm just venting a little. I appreciate it.
    Diaz: O-of course, anything for a friend like you. Charles, can I see you for a minute?
    Boyle: Yep. (both hastily leave for the locker room)
    • When he catches them cleaning up the mess, Holt angrily points out that Lohank has been diagnosed with cancer, thus unwittingly adding to the carpet-bombing of guilt that Boyle and Diaz have already experienced:
    Diaz: Of course he has...
  • Oh Crap: Santiago in "The Bet", after producing a last-minute felony arrest that puts her ahead of Peralta:
    Santiago: Suck it, Peralta!
    Peralta: [Unconcerned] Oh no.
    Santiago: [Triumphant] That's right, "oh no"! [Realizes; dawning horror] Oh no. You don't seem worried. Why don't you seem worried?!
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: After Peralta arrests an 86 year old & notes it was his oldest arrest, Diaz & Santiago compare their oldest collars. Boyle then walks in & mentions the 68 year old that he had bagged, before Diaz realises that Boyle's not talking about his oldest arrest.
  • Only Sane Employee: Holt and Jeffords both. As the two highest ranking officers in the Nine-Nine, one or both of them is invariably tasked with keeping them in line.
  • Opinion Flip Flop:
    • Boyle has quite a few of these, having something of a wimpy demeanor in general. Most of them are prompted by Detective Diaz, whom he clearly has a crush on, saying something that contradicts him and his desperate attempts to try and impress her.
    • Santiago has this as well when it comes to Holt as part of her being a Professional Butt-Kisser.
  • Paintball Episode: "Tactical Village" features an NYPD training course.
  • Pants-Free: In the pilot, Peralta at first resists putting on a tie as Captain Holt asked him. Later, he is seen at a desk in records wearing one, and Holt commends him for it. Then Peralta stands up, revealing that all he has on under his waist is a Speedo. Then Holt calls everyone in to see Peralta's hard work...
  • Parental Substitute: Holt might be one for Peralta, in the opening for "The Apartment," Peralta accidentally calls Holt "dad" which everyone mocks him for.
  • Police Are Useless: Played with. The main characters are quirky but competent police officers. However, the other detectives in the squad are described by Jeffords as completely useless. Later, Gina tells Holt that she wants to learn how to shoot because the local cops are useless. She lives in the area policed by Precinct 99. Although in Gina's case, she does have a habit of outright trolling Holt and the other cops, and the real reason she was there was as an official witness to get Jeffords re-certified to go into the field, so her statement was definitely not the truth.
  • Power Walk: Done by the main cast in the opening credits.
  • Pull the Thread: Not with a lie, so much, but Holt has a tendency to do this with Santiago when she's in ass-kissing mode with him to reveal the holes in logic, false modesty or insincerity that she's tying herself in while doing so:
    Holt: The D.A wanted me to personally thank you for your work on the James Street drug bust.
    Santiago: [Modestly] It's why we do this, sir.
    Holt: ... For praise?
    Santiago: [Cornered] Uhhh...
    • When Holt's life is threatened in the episode "Christmas" and Peralta gets bodyguard duty instead of Santiago.
    Holt: O.K. the next time someone threatens to kill me, i'll come straight to you.
    Santiago: Thank you sir. I can't wait
    Holt: "beat"
    Santiago: [Cornered] Uhhh...
  • Pulled From Your Day Off: Peralta once causes everyone at the precinct to have to abandon the rest of their day off and work a case all night long and the next morning, all because he screwed up. Everyone hates him for it.
  • Rainbow Motif: As seen with Holt's binders.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: In the pilot, when Terry is giving the run-down on the other officers, he give a nice well-prepared blurb about all of them, especially Peralta finishing with a tag-line esque "The only puzzle Jake never learned to solve is growing up." Holt lampshades this by saying it was very well put, and Terry justifies the trope by saying he's talked a lot about Jake at his department-ordered therapy.
  • Reality Ensues: One of the cutaways shows Jake pursuing a thief, who then tries to flee in a car. The car gets a few feet out of its parking space before becoming stuck in the usual New York traffic, thus ruining the potential Hollywood car chase.
  • Really Gets Around: Gina. Her psychic predicted she would have a 'sensuous encounter' with a guy named Mark. Gilligan Cut to a bar..
    Gina (very drunk): Which one of you is named Mark?! (Three guys raise their hands). (Pointing) You. You're good.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Holt, for all his stoic seriousness, is a fair and reasonable commander.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: At the end of "Sal's Pizza" Gina recommends that they hire Savant, the hacker who infected the precinct's computer system with a virus, to act as the IT and computer security guy. Played with, in that Jeffords is skeptical it's a good idea and makes it clear in no uncertain terms that if Savant does anything to misuse his new-found access to the precinct his fate will not be a pleasant one:
    Jeffords: [Holding a magic 8-ball] Savant, you're part of the 9-9 now. We look after each other. [To the 8-ball] Hey, ball. If Savant was to do anything to harm this precinct, would I destroy him?!
    [Jeffords crushes the 8-ball with one hand; Savant gapes in terror. Jeffords looks at the remains of the 8-ball.]
    Jeffords: Answer uncertain. Try again.
  • Right Behind Me: Holt appears behind Peralta several times in the pilot.
  • Romantic False Lead: Santiago's ex-boyfriend (then actual boyfriend) Teddy seems to be shaping up to be this for Peralta and Santiago.
  • Rousing Speech: Parodied in "Halloween", Peralta claims to Holt that in order to get everyone else to help him win his bet to steal Holt's Medal of Valor, he delivered "a rousing speech that would put Shakespeare to shame"... that failed to convince anyone. His offer to do their paperwork for them, on the other hand...
  • Running Gag:
    • Flashbacks to the tenure of Holt's predecessor, Captain Milligan, where he leaves his office to find the rest of the station goofing off, asks what they're doing and being given a matter-of-fact answer, before simply responding "Okay." and walking back into his office.
    • Flashbacks to Holt's past career in the 1970s and 1980s — which provide an excellent excuse to dress Andre Braugher up in an afro-wig and a collection of extremely tasteless suits — also tend to pop up quite frequently.
    • Sgt. Jeffords' fondness for yogurt has been brought up on several occasions, usually with one character remarking that "Terry loves yogurt." Even Terry himself says it like this.
    • Hitchcock will find any excuse to take his shirt off.
    • Scully nonchalantly discussing his various disgusting medical ailments, which frequently centre around his feet.
    • Peralta will latch on to any excuse to develop an overly elaborate undercover/role-play identity for his current assignment, even when it's something as simple as running a sting to catch a graffiti artist or chasing down a perp by getting the suspects to sign a document.
    • Captain Holt being found hilarious by everyone but his actual coworkers.
    • The criminals the squad deal with have a tendency to get sucked into the petty personal dramas of the detectives, to the point where they often end up nonchalantly confessing to their crimes.
  • Salt and Pepper:
    • They're not partners, but Holt (straight-laced African American) and Peralta (irreverent white guy) otherwise have the contemporary inversion of this dynamic.
    • Peralta and Santiago are a Cafe Con Leche combination despite the fact that Peralta is a typically Spanish last name (although it's quite common in Italy as well).
  • Scary Black Man: Played with by Sgt. Jeffords — physically, he's quite muscular and imposing, and he does have a bit of a temper, but his temper is for a large part bluster and personality-wise he's clearly a bit of a softie. However, when he gets really riled up, he does get pretty damn intimidating. He also enjoys invoking this trope by playing the Scary Black Man in lineups.
  • Secret Test of Character: In "Sal's Pizza", Gina is assigned to help Jeffords interview candidates for the precinct's IT manager, only to annoy him by acting like her usual goofy sense; she bugs one candidate about his favourite Jay-Z song until he snaps, gives a clearly nervous candidate a jolt for what seems like no reason, and grosses out a third by flossing her teeth right in front of them. At the end, however, she reveals to him and Holt that she was secretly testing them to see how they'd cope with the kind of pressures that working in a police station would involve — the short-tempered one would hardly cope well with IT-ignorant cops bugging him for access to their computers, the nervous one wouldn't be able to stand the stresses of working in a police department, and the squeamish one would hardly be able to cope with the kind of disgusting things that might happen in a police station.
  • Self-Deprecating Humor: Adam Sandler shows up As Himself in "Operation: Broken Feather" and gets into an argument with Peralta, which results in this exchange:
    Adam Sandler: I collect antiquities, I'm a serious person. I'm writing a movie right now about the Russian Revolution.
    Peralta: Oh yeah? Who does Kevin James play?
    Adam Sandler: Ha ha, it's a serious movie.
    [Beat]
    Adam Sandler: ... Trotsky. But he's got a wife who never wears a bra, I think you're gonna like it.
  • Self-Serving Memory: After Holt apologises for Peralta starting a brawl between the Fire Department & Police Department, Peralta points out he was the only saying they should stop hitting each other. Jump Cut to back to the fight, and...
    Peralta: Stop hitting! Kicking hurts more!
    • Although Fire Marshall Boone isn't that much better; after the fight, he angrily demands that Holt fire Peralta for overstepping his boundaries and starting the fight — conveniently leaving out the fact that, while Peralta did overstep the mark, it was in fact Boone who threw the first punch (without provocation at that, since he didn't even wait for Peralta to finish speaking).
  • Serious Business: Detective Boyle is a huge foodie.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Jeffords isn't, really, but started acting like one after his kids were born, which is why he compulsively avoids going into the field.
    Peralta: Is he seriously assigning me to the records room? Why do we even have a records room? The computer's been invented, right? I didn't dream it?
    Jeffords: You're lucky, man. I wish I could get assigned here full time. You could not be farther from the action.
  • Ship Tease: Although it's become less overt since the pilot, the show still teases Peralta/Santiago from time to time. There's the terms of their bet (where, if Peralta wins, Santiago goes on a date with him which may or may not end in sex or, at minimum, heavy making out), they've shared several warm-and-fuzzy Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moments throughout the show, Peralta drunk-texted Santiago constantly while hanging out with Jimmy Brogan in "Old School", and then there's this conversation after Peralta sits on a chair recently vacated by Santiago:
    Peralta: Wow, your butt's really warm.
    Santiago: [Defensive] My butt's normal! Your butt's the weird one!
    Peralta: Don't get mad; it's nice.
    • The above is discussed in "The Bet", where Boyle points out to Peralta that his childish pranking and teasing of Santiago is basically him acting like a fourth grader pulling the pigtails of the girl he's got a crush on because he doesn't know how else to get her attention. Upon seeing Santiago in the ridiculous dress he got for her for the date, Peralta also notes (apparently without noticing the subtext) that it reminds him of "every girl at every Bat Mitzvah I ever had a crush on".
    • The show also occasionally hints that Diaz, despite her attitude, might be more fond of Boyle than she lets on.
    • In "Tactical Village" the ship teasing subtext is bought right out in the open into merely 'text'. Boyle tells Jake that the reason why Santiago went out with her ex-boyfriend again is because he asked her, and then Peralta follows through on that, only to have Amy tell her she was going on a date with another guy already, forcing Peralta to not actually end up asking her.
    • Comes to a head in the season one closer, "Charges and Specs". Jake admits to Amy that he wishes something 'could happen between [them]...romantic stylez' just before he goes undercover for 6 months. Amy is too shocked to reply before Jake leaves.
  • Shipper on Deck: Boyle, for Jake & Amy. He's the first to point out that Peralta might have feelings for her, as well as pushing Peralta to make his feelings known for her. By "Unsolvable", Terry might be too.
  • Shot in the Ass: See Taking the Bullet below.
  • Shout-Out
    Doug: Sorry it had to go down this way, Peralta. Maybe we could've been friends in another world... if I hadn't just fooled you like a little bitch!
    • Terry's daughters are named "Cagney" and "Lacy".
    • In "The Tagger", it's revealed that Jake has a pet rat named Algernon.
    • From "Charges and Specs":
    • Also from the same episode, the black leather-goth ensemble Boyle wears when he's "embracing the Void" makes him look like he's just stepped out of The Matrix (as pointed out by some of the precinct members).
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Detective Warren Pembroke, known in the show as "The Vulture", is one to the entire squad, as he uses his status as a member of Major Crimes to steal cases that are mostly solved and take full credit for them.
  • Spanner in the Works: When Jeffords and Holt were trying to make the Precinct run more efficiently in "Operation: Broken Feather," everything falls apart when Peralta comes back from his case.
  • Special Guest: Kid Cudi guest stars as a suspect in "48 Hours."
  • Spiritual Successor: It's basically a twenty-first century equivalent to Barney Miller, a 1970s Work Com which also revolved around a straight-laced police captain in charge of a unit of eccentric detectives based out of a New York city police station.
    • It's pretty similar to The Unusuals, or at least the more comedic parts of that show.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: In-Universe, this applies to the Vulture, who routinely takes "unsolved" cases after 98% of the work has been done. It's shown in montage that he's actually done this as Diaz was about to break down a suspect's door, and as Santiago was in the middle of reading the suspect's Miranda Rights.
  • Springtime for Hitler: In "Christmas", upon receiving a death threat Holt appoints Peralta as his bodyguard. Holt dismisses the threat as a hoax and appoints Peralta because he figures that Peralta will goof off as normal and thus leave him alone to carry on as normal. Unfortunately, not only does Peralta take the death threat a mite more seriously than Holt, but the position of Holt's bodyguard comes with numerous ways of asserting authority over Holt that Peralta is unable to pass up, thus providing more of an imposition on Holt. It's later revealed that Holt in fact knew the threat was real, but the trope plays out the same since Holt was actually hoping Peralta would leave him alone so that Holt could investigate the threat by himself.
  • Stealth Mentor: Holt acts this way towards Peralta; his by-the-book strictness is gradually forcing Peralta to take his job seriously and become a better cop and better person.
  • The Stoic: Captain Holt is basically an impassive statue come to life.
  • Straight Gay: Holt. Also his husband Kevin, head of the classics department at Columbia.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Boyle and Captain Holt consider 'mouth-feel' an essential quality to consider when judging a really good pizza.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: In "Charges and Specs," Gina decides that the English language is no longer sufficient to "capture the depth and complexity of my thoughts" and so begins describing Emojis to express herself. This leads to nonsense sentences like "The fact you have him on trial is cat doing Home Alone face!" and "Our friendship is little boy holding little girl's hand!"
  • Stupid Crooks: Discussed in "Halloween" after Peralta arrests a criminal who tried robbing a bank wearing a banana costume. During his getaway the crook managed to get himself trapped in a revolving door and then a dye pack exploded in his face. Peralta then claims that he would be a much better criminal and none of the other detectives could catch him. Holt disagrees and they end up making a bet whether Peralta can outsmart Holt and steal Holt's Medal of Valor before midnight.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Done In-Universe to Diaz by a bunch of street punks that she and Santiago are trying to recruit into the Junior Police program.
  • Taking the Bullet: Boyle takes two in the butt diving in front of Rosa. One HELL of a jump.
  • Technician Vs Performer: Amy Santiago vs. Jake Peralta.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage:
    • If a team gets door duty, we seem to get treated to this. So far this has occurred in the Pilot and "The Vulture."
    • Played with in "Sal's Pizza," in which Gina uses her Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies to freak out the interviewees. Later she explains why each interviewee was unsuited for the job.
    • "The Apartment" has Jake and Gina searching for an apartment to replace the eponymous one he's going to lose, and each one is horrible.
    • The team invokes this in "Charges and Specs" when asked to stall for Jake at the titular hearing (see Courtroom Antic above).
  • Theme Twin Naming: Jeffords named his twin daughters Cagney & Lacey.
  • Token Minority: Averted. Of the seven members of the main cast, three are female, four are ethnic minorities, and one is openly homosexual.
    • Twofer Token Minority: Diaz and Santiago, both Latina women, would fit, except that they're, again, both well-developed characters with non-stereotypical personalities.
      • Holt is this in-universe; he's a good cop who got sidelined because he was openly gay, until times changed and the brass wanted to make a big deal about having a gay officer, which instead resulted in him being shunted into a primarily PR position with no actual case load. The fact that he's black probably helped.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Diaz and Santiago respectively (for a given value of 'Girly Girl' at least given that they're both police officers, not a typically 'Girly Girl' profession).
    • Often, this is the dynamic between both Diaz and Santiago vs. extremely high-maintenance Gina.
  • Too Clever by Half: Peralta.
    Holt: All I ever really wanted was my own command. And now I finally got it, and I'm not gonna screw it up.
    Peralta: Ah, captain, I'm sorry. I feel like a jackass. Beat But, on the flip side, there's Ratko. Humility over; I'm amazing. Let's go.
  • Too Much Information: Gina to Holt about the probable outcome of Peralta and Santiago's date if he wins their bet. See Cloudcuckoolander, above, for sordid detail.
  • Trigger Happy: Jeffords became so scared of getting killed on the job that he panicked and emptied his gun into a mannequin in a department store. He has been on desk duty ever since.
  • Truth in Television: Holt points out that the 1970s was a lot harder on ethnic and sexual minorities than the present day.
  • Turn In Your Badge: Invoked then subverted. Jake tries to do this in anger, only to be told by Holt that he's only on administrative leave and thus doesn't have to.
    Jake: YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING COOL!
    • Played with at the end of "Charges and Specs," the season one finale, when Jake's antics actually do get him fired... at least, for appearance's sake. He's actually going undercover with the FBI, and only Holt and the other members of his squad know about it.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Charles Boyle.
  • The Unspellable: Mlepnos
    Santiago: Hello.
    Mlepnos: Hello.
    Santiago: What's your name?
    Mlepnos: My name? Mlepnos.
    Santiago: Can you spell that please?
    Mlepnos: M... L... E... P... Clay...
    Santiago: Did you say 'clay'?
    Mlepnos: Yes, de 'clay' is silent.
  • UST: Peralta and Santiago seem to be developing this, as observed by a perp whom they arrest after posing as a bickering couple to get close enough without suspicion:
    Criminal: I'm sad y'all arrestin' me, but I gotta say; I'm glad y'all back together.
  • Wangst: Invoked by Peralta, for Fuzzy Cuddlebear, the nanny-cam that caught the electronics store robbers.
    Peralta: You did it, Fuzzy. You busted 'em. It's time to come home. [as 'Fuzzy Cuddlebear' in faux-Badass Baritone] I'm not sure I can. I've been undercover so long, I've forgotten who I am. I have seen...terrible things. I haven't known the touch of a woman in many moons...
    Santiago: All right. {walks off]
    Peralta: [Still as 'Fuzzy'] Detective Santiago! Don't walk away from meeee!
    • Played for laughs in the very first shot, when Peralta delivers a grim monologue to camera about how every passing day on the streets, he's becoming more and more like the animals he puts behind bars... except it turns out he's just quoting Donnie Brasco into the camera display of an electronics store that's been burgled.
  • Welcome Episode: Sgt. Jeffords introduces Holt, the new captain, to the squad. Jeffords gives the standard Info Dump that often happens in this scenario.
  • Wham Line: In "Halloween", when Peralta is explaining his gambit to the skeptical Holt.
    Peralta: Captain, let me tell you a little story. Do you remember when I fell through your ceiling?
    Holt: Yes. That was six hours ago.
    Peralta: It was, I admit, a disastrous failure. But, it gave me the idea for Herman, the friendly janitor you met. With Herman, I commenced the perfect crime.
    Holt: ...I caught you as Herman.
    Peralta: But you didn't catch Rosa.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Played for Laughs in "Tactical Village." After Boyle "saves" Diaz from a man marked as a Perp, the following exchange ensues:
    Diaz: Hey, thanks for shooting that guy.
    Boyle: (chuckles) Hey, my pleasure.
    Perp: Your pleasure? This was a human being you just killed. Bill Perp had a family!
    [after a beat, both Boyle and Diaz decide to shoot the Perp again]
  • With Due Respect: Peralta in the pilot, when he asks Holt why it took so long for Holt to receive his first command in light of Holt bringing down 'the Disco Strangler'. Played with, in that Peralta actually is showing Holt respect for the first time in the episode.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Mlepnos.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Pontiac Bandit", when he learns that everyone has escaped to an upstairs evidence room in order to avoid having to help out Boyle, Captain Holt storms in and angrily gives everyone a piece of his mind about how Boyle is not only a cop who was wounded in the line of duty to protect another cop, but he's also a well-meaning man who only wants affection from people and so deserves better from them. It's parodied as well; while everyone is suitably abashed and ashamed of themselves, they also point out that Holt for various reasons happens to be holding a pair of adorable puppies, which tends to undercut the anger he is trying to convey.
  • Word Association Test: Jeffords invariably goes to "gun... die" during his psych evaluation.
    Evaluator: Grass?
    Jeffords: Marijuana... Drugs... Bust... Gun... Die.
    Evaluator: Cat.
    Jeffords: Kitten... Cute... Calm... False sense of security... Gun... Die.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Peralta and Santiago are constantly snarking at and competing against each other, but deep down they clearly like and respect each other a great deal.
  • Yes-Man:
    • Santiago is impressed by Holt and has adopted him as her 'rabbi'. So far, this appears to involve copious amounts of unprompted sucking up on her part.
    • Boyle also has a tendency to act like this to Peralta. It's lampshaded in "Halloween" when, faced with his team's skepticism about whether he'll be able to win his bet with Holt, Peralta protests that they're normally telling him he's the best. After a moment's thought, he realises that it actually only ever seems to be Boyle who keeps telling him this.
  • Your Mom: Fire Marshall Boone attempts to defy this when, in a war of words with Peralta, he makes a comment that leaves a perfect opening for a 'Your Mom' joke but then instantly points out that his mother happens to be dead "so let's tread lightly on the response." Peralta, who apparently had one ready to go, finds this unfair.

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