Series / Brooklyn Nine-Nine
The law. Without the order.Note 

Det. Jake Peralta: That's how we do it in the Nine-Nine, sir. Catch bad guys and look good doing it.
Captain Raymond Holt: [Noticing Peralta shift uncomfortably] What's wrong with you?
Det. Jake Peralta: I didn't take off the Speedo. Big mistake. It is inside me.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a single-camera sitcom that premiered on FOX in 2013, starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher. It is set in the 99th Precinct of the New York Police Department, based out of Brooklyn (hence the title). In particular, it focuses on a unit of detectives that includes Jake Peralta (Samberg), a smart but rebellious and immature cop whose relaxed attitude towards his job comes under challenge when the precinct comes under the command of hardass new captain Raymond Holt (Braugher). Holt, a stoic and no-nonsense man, is less-than-impressed with Peralta's flippant nature, creating immediate tension between the two.

Although the tension and developing working relationship between Peralta and Holt is a central driving element, ultimately the series is more of an ensemble piece, focusing heavily on the other members of Peralta's unit as well.
  • Detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), Peralta's regular partner, very competent but strait-laced, insecure, neurotic and desperate for Holt to be her mentor. She shares a spiky and competitive friendship with romantic undertones with Peralta.
  • Sgt. Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), the unit's motherly sergeant, who is initially wary of reentering the field after the birth of his twin daughters.
  • Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), a surly and intimidating detective with a highly secretive personal life and a very short fuse.
  • Detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), a very clumsy and socially awkward officer who is nonetheless hard-working, enthusiastic and extremely loyal.
  • Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti), a civilian administrator who is flighty and prone to pranks.
  • Two other cops, Detective Norm Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) and Detective Michael Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker), two extremely dim-witted and incompetent detectives who are basically coasting until their retirement.

The series won two Golden Globes in its first season, one for Best Series and one for Andy Samberg for Best Comedy Actor.

Tropes used in this series include:

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  • Aborted Arc: Boyle's crush on/lust for Diaz in Season 1 is eventually backburnered when he meets another woman. It got brought up time to time during his relationship with that woman, but it really goes away when he starts sleeping with Gina.
  • Absentee Actor: Chelsea Peretti spent the first part of Season 5 away on maternity leave and Gina was written out as having just given birth as well.
  • The Ace: As silly as he likes to act, Peralta is easily the best detective in the precinct and it's stated several times how often he breaks department records. This is also far from Informed Ability, as many episodes show his process and his Hyper Awareness extends well outside of work. The episode "Unsolvable" even has him tackling an 8 year old cold case and resolving it.
  • Action Girl: Both Santiago and Diaz easily drop perps who are bigger than them.
  • Actually, I Am Him: The Reveal in "The Pontiac Bandit" is that Doug Judy, who'd claimed to be a reformed ex-cahoot of the titular car thief, actually was the Bandit the whole time. Peralta and the rest of the 99 don't realize this until it's too late.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: To rub salt in the wound re: the above trope, the man Judy claimed was the Pontiac Bandit was actually his hairdresser.
  • Adult Child: Jake Peralta, called so, by name, in-show.
  • Adults Dressed as Children: A variation: as part of Peralta's ritual humiliation of Santiago in "The Bet", he admits that he based the dress he makes her wear on the dresses that the girls he had a crush on as a kid would wear to Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Doug Judy. Sure, he's a manipulative, lying thief, but when he's not unveiling another of his evil plans, he and Jake get along fantastically.
    • While they don't click to quite the same degree as Jake and Doug Judy, Caleb in "The Big House" is Jake's cellmate and only friend on the inside of Jericho.
  • Affectionate Parody: The opening titles are these for cop show titles that display each character in action and then freeze to shows the actor's name. The difference is that in this show, the characters are mostly doing thing that undercut whatever badass status they possess: Peralta looks like he's giving Perp Sweat, but he's doing it to a small plastic toy policeman; Diaz is giving a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, but to her computer monitor; Santiago looks like she's aiming a gun, but it's Finger Gun; Boyle is grimacing as if he's been shot, but actually he's just banged his head on the kitchen counter after dropping his muffin on the floor. Of the other three, Gina is dancing like an idiot and Jeffords is stressing out on a phone call with his wife about the dangers of SUVs. Only Holt is played straight, as befitting his status as Da Chief and The Stoic.
  • 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.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Boyle's unrequited crush on Rosa for the first half of season 1.
    • Peralta's unrequited crush on Santiago.
    • And then there's her crush on him after the Unrequited Love Switcheroo.
  • 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)
    • Diaz does this with Marcus in "Boyle-Linnetti Wedding", telling Marcus she loves him. She'd previously stated that the only people she'd ever said that to were her parents and her dying grandfather, and she regretted it with her grandfather because he beat cancer "and now I look like an idiot."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Played with in the second season premiere "Undercover":
    Jake: Freddy's like the worst out of all those guys! Extortion, terrible breath, murder... I put terrible breath too high on that list.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: "Yippie Kayak," an Affectionate Parody of Die Hard.
  • 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.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Peralta and Boyle are excited to meet Agent Jack Danger. It's then subverted when it turns out he's a nerdy, officious postal worker and his last name is pronounced "Donger", which is (apparently) derived from a Dutch word meaning "Prudence in financial matters".
    • Ray Holt, as well
  • 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.
  • Badass Crew: To be expected of a cast full of police officers. Holt, Peralta, Diaz and Terry all qualify as badass 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 and gets a really nice take-down in "Old School", though Peralta is the one that gets into more straight-up fist fights. Even Boyle gets some awesome moments. For a comedy, they don't skimp on action scenes.
  • Badass Gay:
    • Captain Holt. He's gay and 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".
    • Rosa Diaz is bisexual and is easily considered one of the toughest and most hardcore detectives on the squad, can terrify anyone with just a look, easily takes down perps twice her size, and owns a large arsenal of weapons, including a collection of swords she keeps stashed in her desk.
  • 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 Guys Are Cops: A recurring theme of the series is that while the main characters do at times come up against some pretty dangerous and serious criminals, most of their major problems in fact tend to come from other police officers who are less ethical than they are. These can range from Jerkass Obstructive Bureaucrats who delight in making life harder or just a bit worse for the characters to full-blown Dirty Cops.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: "The Pontiac Bandit," "the Pontiac Bandit Returns" and "The Cruise."
  • Bad Liar:
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: Subverted in one episode, in which Scully comes back from checking out a perp's alibi, and announces that he has good news and bad news. The bad (irrelevant) news is that his favorite taffy place was closed. The good news is... the perp's alibi checked out. As Peralta points out, that was actually also bad news.
  • 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 and very powerfully-built physically, 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.
    • In season 2, Holt has Terry prepare a funding request for the Grammar Nazi Deputy Chief, knowing she'll reject it for a trivial punctuation mistake, giving him an excuse to go over her head.
  • Battle of Wits: Peralta and Holt in "Halloween."
    • And again in the sequel, "Halloween II".
    • Once more in "Halloween III", although this time Amy tricks them both and wins, as neither trusted her to work for them.
    • In "Halloween IV", Amy is included in the competition, but this time it is Gina who wins.
    • In "HalloVeen", everyone in the main cast joins in (except for the reigning champ, Gina, who is away on maternity leave. Everyone in the precinct has prepared a Batman Gambit, ready to take the belt from the previous person. Jake however, really takes the cake, with a Xanatos Speed Chess gambit designed to let Amy find the belt (which he had altered to read 'Amy Santiago Will you Marry Me') as part of his marriage proposal.
  • Beat: Used spectacularly in "The Overmining" cold open:
    Jake: Hey there Boyle, how was your weekend?
    Boyle: Well, actually I got a little sick.
    Jake: Oh, really? I'm sorry to hear that, man.
    Boyle: Yeah. Bullets Over Broadway was on TV. I came down with a big ol' Dianne Wiest infection.
    Jake: Beat
    Boyle: Beat
    Jake: Beat
    Boyle: Beat
    Boyle: Like "yeast!"
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: The women of the main cast fit these roles.
    • Gina - Beauty. She's the most feminine and cares a great deal about her looks.
    • Amy - Brains. She's highly intelligent and is enthusiastically nerdy about police work.
    • Rosa - Brawn. She's an intimidating badass who is the quickest to resort to violence.
  • Becoming the Mask: Boyle goes undercover as a gym manager and becomes more concerned about running the gym than the case he's supposed to be working on.
    • Fuzzy Cuddlebear in the first scene of the pilot.
    • Adrian Pimento returns from being undercover for 12 years with extreme PTSD and repeatedly refers to himself as Paul Sneed, his alias while he was undercover.
  • Bedmate Reveal: A shot of Boyle and Gina caps off "Charges and Specs" (and as such, the first season).
    • And it happens again in the Second Season premiere!
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Peralta is generally one of the parties, given his attitude towards things:
    • Peralta and Santiago are somewhere between this and Vitriolic Best Buds.
    • Peralta and DA Sophia Perez in "Jake and Sophia."
  • Berserk Button: Holt has a truly beautiful breakdown when Diaz suggests that he and Kevin need to "bone". She ends up being right, but he is furious for being talked to in that manner.
  • 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.
    • This is a recurring trope beyond this; the detectives like making bets with each other and every other episode has some kind of wager going on. Most obviously in the "Halloween" episodes, which involve some kind of wager between Peralta and Holt over whether the former can steal something belonging to the latter before midnight on Halloween. And the third one has both of them competeing to steal the same object.
  • Bi the Way: Rosa reveals to Charles that she is bisexual in "99."
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: Jeffords — who is on an ill-advised diet — lambasts Gina and Amy, who initially joined him only to give in to their cravings for food by yelling at them for being "Team Eating Food". In his defence, he's too hungry to come up with a better burn.
  • Bittersweet Ending: A few episodes end like this:
    • "The Ebony Falcon": Gina's apartment gets robbed and they never catch the guy who did it.
    • "The Pontiac Bandit Returns": Jake and Rosa catch the Giggle Pig supplier, but Doug Judy gets away again.
    • "The Defense Rests": Gina reluctantly gives her blessing for Lynn to marry Darlene, but Sophia breaks up with Jake and Wuntch manipulates Holt into promoting her, giving her more power over him. The episode ends with Jake and Holt drinking away their sorrows in the bar, while Terry comforts Jake.
    • "Captain Peralta": Jake was able to solve his dad's case, but his dad abandons him and his team in the bar which made Jake kick his dad out of his life.
    • "The Chopper": Jake, Holt, and Charles solve a huge case, but Wuntch promotes Holt as head of Public Relations, which forces him to leave the Nine-Nine.
    • "Johnny and Dora": Holt and Gina leave the Nine-Nine, and Jake and Amy get together.
  • Black and Nerdy:
    • Holt finds things like obscure historical references to be absolutely hysterical.
    • Also Terry, who despite looking like a Scary Black Man, is actually a huge nerd. He enjoys fantasy books in particular, and used to dress up as a superhero when he was a kid. It's also discovered in a Season 4 episode that he secretly writes fanfiction in his spare time.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Kwazy Cupcakes," an ersatz version of Candy Crush Saga.
    • With a backwards W!
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Santiago's Establishing Character Moment involves putting too much of this on a sandwich to prove she's tough enough to handle it. (She's not.)
    • Peralta falls victim to this trope while helping Boyle to taste test wedding cakes, of all things. He doesn't know that Boyle has chosen a habanero-infused frosting until Boyle helpfully tells him after the fact. This becomes a Brick Joke later in the episode when, after a bit of a falling out, the two friends reconcile over a bottle of unexpectedly spicy booze.
  • Book Dumb:
    • Peralta, while a smart and competent detective, is absolutely clueless about things like art, literature or current events. In one episode it's shown he doesn't know the end of Romeo and Juliet, one of the biggest It Was His Sled endings in English literature, and later when he brags about the number of books he's read, he receives this response:
    Santiago: Fifty books isn't impressive. Wait, did you say fifteen?
    • Don't forget this gem:
    Jake: I guess that's your new best friend now, Santiago. Emphasis on "Iago," backstabber!
    Amy: I'm suprised you've read Othello.
    Jake: What the hell is Othello? I'm calling you the parrot from Aladdin.
  • Book Ends:
    • The pilot begins with Peralta doing a monologue from Donnie Brasco and introducing his undercover informant, Fuzzy Cuddlebear the Nannycam. Season 1 ends with Peralta going undercover in the mob.
    • In the Pilot, before Holt arrives, Jake says that Holt will be like a "robot." In the season 2 finale, Jake asks Holt to "go back to being Robot Captain" to soften the blow of the news of Holt's departure.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: The 9-9 seems to have their own slang, and a number of shared sayings which might have originated with one character but have since spread throughout the whole office:
    • “Smart. [Further explains the previous speaker’s plan or theory only to be immediately contradicted.]”
    • “You’ve grossly misread the situation.”
    • “...because we are barreling toward a misunderstanding.”
    • And, of course: “Terry loves [X].”
  • 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!
    • When trying to dissolve an argument between Terry and his wife, Holt makes the fatal mistake of taking lame-excuse tips from a drugged-up Boyle.
    • In "The Jimmy Jab Games", Holt realises—apparently for the first time ever—that Deputy Chief Wuntch's family name sounds like "lunch" and delights in the fact that this "opens up so many avenues" for him to insult her. In "The Mole", it pays off when he triumphantly orders her to back off from his precinct or else he'll use the incriminating information he's found out on her to make her "Wuntch-meat".
      Jake: ... You sure you wanna go with that one?
      Holt: Absolutely. It's hilarious.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Played with regarding Peralta. He likes to goof around but that is just a part of his personality, he doesn't like doing paperwork and is otherwise lax in following certain protocols like the dress code. But he knows how to buckle down and do grunt work, as is necessary for a working detective.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Jimmy Brogan, once idolised by Peralta as a Hardboiled Detective writer straight out of the '70s, turns out to be a racist, misogynistic homophobe straight out of the '70s.
    • Likewise Peralta's father, whom Peralta worships and whose personal failures and poor parenting he constantly excuses—until he realizes that he actually isn't a very good father.
    • After boasting of a "major celebrity" in trouble, Holt reveals it's actually an oboe player no one knows about but he idolizes. He takes the lead on the case to find his stolen oboe with Boyle in tow, gushing over the oboist, who lives in a crummy apartment with little money. It turns out the player staged the robbery to sell the oboe and collect the insurance money ("because oboists are not celebrities") and Holt is stunned his idol could be this way.
    Holt: I finally understand the old adage that you should never meet your heroes. This is like when I found out that Robert Frost was from... California.
    • Terry insists on being on the case when his favorite fantasy author is given a threatening note. He has been a fan of the man for years and kept a letter written back to him which inspired Terry to become a cop. During the investigation, he and Jake discover the handwriting on the note matches the author's. Confronted, the author admits that he's been using an assistant to write the "thank you" letters as he has no time to worry about what every fan thinks of him. Terry is naturally jarred at how much of a jerk the author is but Jake insists Terry is a better cop than the author is a writer.
    • Jake and Rosa are overjoyed to work for Hawkins, a legendary cop who they both idolize. Then they find out she's actually corrupt as hell. And then she frames them both for robbery and has them sent to jail.
    • Amy has long boasted of how much she loves filing paperwork and sees it as a perfect system. When she has to obtain a permit for a case, she finally realizes how much of a mess the bureaucracy is why everyone else hates it. During the case, Amy is happy to meet the woman who created the forms (and many of her other favorites), boasting of her as a "legend." She discovers that not only is the woman a Crazy Cat Lady but her "system" was just a mix of incompetence, spite and dyslexia.
  • Bulletproof Vest: The cast are shown putting these on when they go out after murder suspects.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • The series establishes in the first episode that every detective in the precinct has their own set of unusual quirks but have an equal talent that makes them good at their job. Unlike many examples of the trope, their ability is on display in every episode rather than depicting them as functionally incompetent except for that one talent.
    • Peralta is described in-show as someone who refuses to grow up, but is extremely good with puzzles and is the precincts best detective with the highest arrest records.
    • 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."
    • Though when Boyle is forced to work with Scully and Hitchcock on a case, they surprise him by solving it very quickly. They are actually fairly competent, just lazy and coasting because they think they did their bit in the '70s and '80s.
  • California Doubling: Set in Brooklyn, New York, but primarily shot in Universal Studios, California. Some exterior shots are very obviously done on the Universal backlot.
  • Call-Back: In "The Slump" (Ep.1.03) Terry refers to the French film Breathless as writer François Truffaut’s film. Thirteen episodes later in "The Party" he again asserts Breathless is Truffaut's film (and that movies are a writer's medium) while one of Kevin's colleagues argues Terry should credit the director, Jean-Luc Godard, as the primary creative force behind the movie.
    • In "The Bet", Peralta forces Santiago to wear a horrible dress on their date. He says it reminds him of every girl at every Bat Mitzvah he ever had a crush on. In "Charges and Specs", he flashes back to when he was thirteen years old and his then-girlfriend broke up with him at his Bar Mitzvah. She was wearing the same dress.
    • In part two of "The Fugitive," Doug Judy dubs Jake's lawyer character Carl Mangus, a play on Mangy Carl (Jake's undercover alias in the initial "Pontiac Bandit" episode.)
  • Captain Geographic: The fictional comic book hero Captain Latvia, the favorite of Charles's adopted Latvian son Nikolaj. Charles buys an action figure for Christmas, then tries to take down a Latvian Mafia operation that delays its shipping.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • For Jake: "Noice." and "Smort."
    • For Terry: "Terry loves yogurt!"
  • Cassandra Truth: Holt invokes this, telling Peralta he injured himself at a hula hooping class and showing him pictures to prove it. He then deletes the photos and reveals that he told him because he know no-one will ever believe him.
    • Played straight when Peralta and Holt are arrested for running a stop sign with a back seat full of guns while on witness protection.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Terry's alleged PTSD prevents him from using a gun properly, but he ends up pulling a perfect score on the same target when being annoyed by Gina.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: After the show introduces Adrian Pimento and Jimmy "The Butcher" Figgis, the show develops a four-episode story arc towards the end of season 3 that puts the Nine-Nine, especially Jake and Holt, in danger.
    • In the season 4 finale, Jake and Rosa get framed for robbing a bank and the season actually ends with them getting sentenced to prison, after having been deemed guilty.
  • 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.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Done frequently around Boyle, who is very fond of bringing up subjects other people would consider rather gross.
    Boyle: Jake, I got to tell ya, the engaged life is amazing, especially sexually.
    Peralta: Well, I don't want to pry.
    Boyle: You're not prying. I want you to know this.
    Peralta: (smiling) No.
    Boyle: Vivian and I have a wonderful intercourse itinerary that we have planned. (waiter brings out cake samples)
    Peralta: Ah, ha! I'm usually more of a chocolate guy, but this one's closer, so I'm gonna do that.
  • 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.
    Peralta: Hey, criminal. It's me, Johnny Law.
  • Characterization Marches On: A minor example, but it's established in an early episode that Holt is something of a foodie, mentioning that he follows Boyle's New York pizza blog because it's the only such blog that ranks pizza based on mouthfeel. A season 2 episode, however, revolves around Boyle training him how to cook because he has absolutely zero interest in food.
  • Childhood Friends: Jake and Gina have been friends since they were very young, as revealed in "The Apartment."
  • 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.
  • Cold Open: Done every episode, with varying degrees of plot relevance.
    • One episode has the team resorting to their bomb disposal gear to get Scully's shoes to get rid of the stench. Turns into a Brick Joke eventually when they do the same thing with the Jimmy Brogan book.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The "Halloween" episodes tend to bring out the squad's competitive and ruthless sides, which results in all kinds of callous mistreatment of the others as they compete for whatever trinket they have to 'heist' this year and the attending glory that comes with it.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In "The Bet", Peralta and Santiago act as a couple getting into an argument in front of the perps in order to take them down.
    Criminal: I'm sad we're being arrested but I'm glad y'all are back together!
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Holt full stop. As the audience starts getting to know more about his life it's revealed that his whole world is like this. His husband and friends are so serious that they consider him "the funny one" and his fiercest enemy and him regularly trade insults and gloat without a hint of emotion in their faces. It's a Running Gag that nobody is able to read his expression and know what mood is he in.
    • Rosa also displays this, although not to the extremes of Holt. She has problems expressing any emotions other than anger or annoyance and often laughs at the people around her, but very rarely shows romantic attraction or compassion, although she has shown to have a Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • Consummate Professional: Holt. He makes it very clear that being an openly gay black man meant that in order to get his own command he had to be extremely good at his job. 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."
    • The dollhouse that became a dollprison can be seen in Terry's house in "The Ebony Falcon".
    • In "The Bet," Jake notes the tacky dress he makes Amy wear makes her look "just like Jenny Gildenhorn" before asking, "Why do I wish you had braces?" A flashback to Jake's bar mitzvah in the season finale, "Charges and Specs," features Jenny wearing the same tacky dress and braces.
    • In the first season episode "Sal's Pizza," the 9-9 hires Savant, a delinquent teen, as their IT guy. Season Two's "Payback" shows Savant is still working there.
    • In "The Pontiac Bandit", Doug Judy is smitten with Rosa, and starts composing a song to her. In "The Cruise", it turns out he still remembers that song and has expanded it some more.
    • In "New Captain" (3.01) Charles tells Jake he and Amy are supposed to grow old together and die in each others' arms while their cruise ship slowly takes on water. Jake and Amy do go on a cruise twelve episodes later in "The Cruise" (3.13), though it doesn't end as poorly as Charles envisioned.
    • Amy drink four shots before sleeping with Jake for the first time, in spite of their no-sex rule]], because four-drink Amy is 'a perv.'
    • In Season 4, Amy finally convinces Jake to start reading Harry Potter. They make several allusions to it in the episodes that follow.
  • Corpsing:
    • In "Jake and Sophia", during the Cold Open when Holt says "I'd like to play", Rosa's actress Stephanie Beatriz corpses and tries to cover her mouth with her hand. In the rest of the scene she's stoic as usual for Rosa. It was probably the really quick way the "I'd like to play" line is delivered in that and previous takes that caused the corpsing. And narrowly avoided at the end of the scene, after Holt's "hot damn!" The immediate cut to the opening credits following it was required because, according to Stephanie Beatriz, no one could keep straight faces long enough to properly finish the take.
  • 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.
    • In "Jake and Sophia", Jake (arresting detective) finds out he had a one night stand with Sophia (defense attorney) the night before. Neither take this with a great amount of maturity.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As described in "The Bet" above, Peralta goes to great lengths pre-planning his Halloween heist. He takes it up a notch the following year in "Halloween II", but finds out the hard way that Holt has been plotting his revenge for the entire year. Then the trope gets stretched to the point of ridiculousness when Peralta, after losing the second bet, says that he's already planning for next year, to which Holt replies that Peralta is only three months behind him.
  • Crossover: Season 4's "The Night Shift" is the first of a two-part crossover with New Girl (continuing in an episode of the latter). It was lampshaded by Jess:
    Peralta: I need to commandeer this vehicle!
    Jess: It's a crossover! Beat. A Crossover SUV.
  • Cutaway Gag: A surprisingly large number of these for a live action show.
  • Dance of Romance: Happens a couple of times with Jake and Amy, though it's not quite played straight on either occasion:
    • In the Season 1 finale, while partnered up while undercover at a ballroom dance contest, Jake offers to teach Amy to dance properly, since she's terrible. It seems to more or less fit the trope for Jake—while Boyle and Terry have been telling him for several episodes that he obviously has a thing for Amy, it's the first time Jake seems to acknowledge it for himself without needing to get horrendously drunk as a way of dealing with it. Amy, however, quickly ruins the moment by wondering aloud if she and Teddy should take a dance class together.
    • It gets Parodied in Ep. 2x17 "Boyle-Linetti Wedding": when Jake is depressed to see Jenny dancing with her date, Amy coyly tells him that while she knows it's not the same, there's someone else there who's been wanting to dance with him all night. Then when Jake agrees, she introduces him to the very elderly lady standing next to her who's "been asking about [him] all night". Weirdly, though, it still ends up in a nice moment of Ship Tease for Jake and Amy, who end up smiling at each other through the whole dance—up until Jake's partner turns out to be surprisingly handsy.
    • Happens yet again in "Cruise," and is initially played more straight as Jake tells Amy that he loves her, for the first time. Then the annoucer tells the participants to turn to their partner and talk about how their spouse died. Jake and Amy immediately ditch the dance.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Santiago wants to get Holt a Christmas gift, but knows he won't accept anything that he recognises as a gift. So she smugly tells Peralta that she's put it in an unmarked cardboard box on his desk, and written his name on it with her wrong hand so that he won't recognise her handwriting and realise it's from her. At this point, Holt walks past their desk, greets them, and goes towards his office.
    Peralta: So, just to recap, you left an unmarked package on a police captain's desk on a random Monday, with a suspicious message written on it that looked like it was scrawled by a crazy person.
    Santiago: [pleased] Mm-hmmm.
    [Holt walks quickly out of his office.]
    Holt: Bomb! There's a bomb! Everyone out! Let's go! Let's go!
    [Everyone gets up and starts heading for the exit.]
  • Darker and Edgier: The Figgis story arc from seasons 3-4.
  • Diet Episode: In the B-plot for "Fancy Brudgrom," Terry signs up for a diet for his wife's sake and manages to recruit Amy and Gina. When the diet's ridiculous provided meals (such as an extremely thin slice of cantaloupe for lunch) prove too much for the girls, they quit.
  • Dirty Cop: The Nine Nine often face police officers less ethical than they are, but some push this into outright corruption:
    • Deputy Commissioner Podolski, initially appears to be a downplayed example, as he transparently uses his position to ensure his delinquent son gets away with causing hundreds of dollars’ worth of vandalism damage to police cars. However, it is later heavily implied that he is in fact in the pocket of a local Corrupt Bureaucrat with ties to drug smuggling and has links to the mob. He tried to destroy Jake’s career when he investigated said bureaucrat.
    • Deputy Chief Madeline Wunch is a downplayed example. While she’s not outright corrupt, she shamelessly abuses her position to make 'Holt’s life miserable as part of their petty rivalry. She is also perfectly willing to organise a fake Internal Affairs investigation simply to get dirt on Holt. She makes it abundantly clear in the season two finale, that she’ll happily destroy Jake, Amy, Rosa, Charles and Terry’s careers just to beat Holt.
    • Jake's first partner was caught taking a short cut by planting drugs on a suspect who he believed was guilty.
    • Corrupt FBI Agent Bob Annderson. While posing as Holt’s friend and a dedicated agent, he is in fact in the pocket of Jimmy the Butch Figgis, and is outright willing to commit murders for him.
    • Lieutenant Melanie Hawkins manages to make all the previously police examples look like upstanding officers of the law by comparison. Publically revealed as one of the NYPD’s best cops who chase the most dangerous criminals, she is secretly the mastermind behind New York’s most notorious gang of bank robbers and in charge of a massive criminal conspiracy, purely to line her own pockets. She also happily uses Police Brutality to keep people in line, is addicted to cocaine and successfully manages to frame Jake and Rosa for her crimes.
  • Distress Ball:
    • Despite usually being 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.
    • Jake in "Sabotage". He leaves the car on a street that's completely unknown to him, then gets kidnapped by a criminal and is Bound and Gagged for the entire second half of the episode.
  • Double Date:
    • Disastrously with Jake, Charles, Vivian and Bernice in "Full Boyle", and even more disastrously with Jake, Sophia, Amy and Teddy in "Road Trip".
    • Again at the end of "Halloween III", With Boyle and his girlfriend on one side and his stepsister Gina and the twin brother of his girlfriend. Although it's left ambiguous if Gina actually stayed for the date.
  • Downer Ending: The fourth season ends on a downer note. Jake and Rosa are deemed guilty of robbing a bank and are sentenced to 15 years in prison.
  • Drama Bomb Finale: This show is generally a low-stakes comedy, but every season finale has ended on a more serious note.
    • Season one: Jake leaves on an undercover mission, and the risk this presents prompts him to finally admit his feelings to Amy. This is resolved fairly quickly the next season.
    • Season two: Wuntch manages to get Holt transferred. This one takes a few episodes of season three to resolve.
    • Season three: Jimmy "The Butcher" Figgis threatens the lives of Jake and Holt, forcing them to go into witness protection in Florida.
    • Season four: Jake and Rosa are framed for bank robbery and *convicted*.
  • 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.
  • Drugs Are Good: Or so thinks Joe the drug dealer, busted in "Charges and Specs", who takes exception to being called a drug pusher.
    Joe: Dude, drugs don't need pushing. They push themselves. People love drugs.
  • Dysfunction Junction: A mild example, given that the show is a sitcom version of the Cop Show, but most of the detectives have some sort of family issue, are overworkers, are neurotic, or any combo of the above.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • In an early episode, Holt was depicted as someone with just as much of an informed interest as Boyle in the 'mouthfeel' of a good pizza. This was later dropped, and Holt became utterly uninterested in food.
    • There were three "useless" detectives outlined by Terry in the pilot: Scully, Hitchcock and Daniels, a middle-aged woman. She is never seen or mentioned again, though Scully and Hitchcock go on to be a major part of the show.
  • 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:
    • In the pilot, Captain Holt told Peralta to wear a tie. He didn't say anything about pants.
    • A variation appears In "Full Boyle". At one point, Captain Holt discusses when he founded the society for gay and lesbian African American NYPD officers which he is president of. We see a flashback to young Holt requesting the money to do so from the precinct, only for the rest of his precinct to fall about the place laughing derisively. In the present, however, Holt notes that because no one actually said no, he just went ahead and took the money to do so anyway.
  • Eureka Moment: Used just a little too much for a Police Procedural. So it's fair play here then.
    • "The Vulture" has the team combing the crime scene for the murder weapon, stopping short of learning it was a corkscrew, but failing to find it before the Major Crimes guy swoops in to claim jurisdiction and credit. The team gets drunk and sneaks back in, and get the idea to reenact the murder by going into the victim's apartment—whereupon Amy spots the refrigerator magnets and realizes the corkscrew could be one of those fridge-magnet types and be stuck in the trash chute when the murderer tried to junk it. She's right.

  • 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 for Its Day: In-universe. Holt fondly remembers an old partner who was homophobic but not racist, which he claims was pretty good for the time.
  • 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.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: The fact that Captain Holt is gay 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.
  • 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".
  • Following in Their Rescuer's Footsteps: When he was a kid, Sgt. Terence Jeffords wanted to be a superhero. When he tried to stand up to some bullies, he was saved by a police officer. He then decided to become a cop since they were the closest a person can get to being a superhero.
  • 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.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: While they are almost always presented as lazy buffoons, Scully and Hitchcock have on rare occasions been shown doing useful police work.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "The Pontiac Bandit Returns", while Amy is contemplating telling Holt about his mistake in the Brooklyn Broiler case, the sign behind Terry reads "If it's wrong, make it right"
  • Freudian Slip: Happens to Jake when his UST with Amy starts to reach critical mass.
    Santiago: Why doesn't your mouth work?
    Peralta: "Why doesn't your mouth work?" Title of our sex tape!
    Santiago: ...What?
    Peralta: Your sex tape! What? No!
  • 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.
  • Friendly Enemy: Peralta and Doug Judy are this, much to everyone's chagrin.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • During the NYPD-FDNY brawl, one of the cop extras lifts up one of the firefighter extras upside down.
    • An easily missed example in "Bad Beat": in the middle of Amy and Charles's debate over their food truck/former crime scene, Rosa scooting by on her rolly chair (with all her usual intensity) passes entirely without comment.
  • Funny Foreigner: Mlepnos, played by Fred Armisen.
  • Genius Ditz: Gina seems like an incredibly self-centered and shallow idiot, but she has some people skills as a civilian that the the cops, too immersed in their jobs as they are, lack. She also passes her astronomy final test after studying for a single night and is the only one that immediately perceives Holts' homosexuality after meeting him.
    • Peralta spends most of his time messing around, thinking up Bond One Liners, placing stupid bets and generally acting like an idiot—and he's also a genuinely brilliant detective.
  • Gentle Giant: Terry is the tallest guy in the cast with an impressive physique, but is a family man and surprisingly sensitive and emotional. His natural demeanor is protecting and encouraging the younger and more brash co-workers, even though it is obvious he could rip their heads off.
  • Ghost Extras: The Nine-Nine is populated by scores of cops and detectives who walk in the background, attend daily briefings, and in some cases even work at nearby desks, yet they rarely interact with the main characters.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: Gina and Boyle try to invoke this, after their parents start dating. They peek at the gift Boyle's dad is giving her mom, an electric scale. Averted in that Gina's mom actually loves it.
  • Gilligan Cut: It's a comedy, so yeah.
    • The one with Gina's house broken into, where Gina becomes so fearful and insecure that she threatens Amy and Rosa with a civilian complaint for what appears to be them slacking off (despite clearly being a red tape thing). They scoff at the idea—cut to Holt yelling at them for getting a civilian complaint.
  • Given Name Reveal: In "The Mole," Jake notices that Holt's robe has "Raymond J. Holt" embroidered onto it, and he spends a good part of the episode guessing what his middle name is. Holt finally tells him what it is at the end of the episode—it's Jacob. Jake is very pleased.
  • Golden Snitch: How Peralta wins in "The Bet"—a vice bust nets him ten in one go. And those are just the convictions that will stick.
  • 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.
  • Halloween Episode: With the twist that all the cops are working in and Halloween is supposedly the busiest night of the year for them, so it's more of a dark-shady-backside-of-Halloween episode, really. They do get into costumes in the end.
    • Played a bit straighter in the second season's Halloween episode, in which several characters are seen in costume, though the audience can't tell it's them at first.
  • 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.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?:
    • Holt, of all people, makes gratuitous use of this trope while maintaining a cover identity in the first few episodes of Season 4, going out of his way to mention his love of heavy-breasted women whenever he's with his power-walking group.
    Holt: "I see a pair of thick, weighty breasts and all logic flies out the window."
    • Played With in "Game Night" in that Charles does this to avoid outing Rosa to the rest of the squad.
    Charles: Bye, Rosa. (beat) I mean, not "bi," but "bye." I mean, see ya! I mean, have fun only having sex with men! Just bangin' dudes, left and right!
  • Headlock Of Doom: In one episode, Peralta is recounting a sting operation to Holt. He says that Sergeant Jeffords was calm, and wisely didn't take on more than he could handle. Gilligan Cut to Jeffords with three thugs in headlocks (one under each arm, and a third in his legs) saying "I left one for you!" while several SWAT team members have guns pointed at the sole remaining mook.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Diaz:
      • 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. (But then again, she did get kicked out of the ballet academy for beating the crap out of the other ballerinas, so there's that.)
      • It's parodied in "Halloween" when Peralta reveals the rest of the team's involvement in his plan, as both he and 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 yogurt, 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, and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse.
    • 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.
    • Captain Holt is apparently one of the funniest people ever around people he doesn't work with, is an expert ballroom dancer and takes hula-hoop lessons with his husband. He's also incredibly adept at flirting with women, despite not being attracted to them at all. He exploits this trope when confessing to Peralta that he takes hula-hoop lessons:
    Jake: Why are you telling me this?
    Holt: Because no one...will ever believe you. (deletes photos of himself hula hooping on his phone.)
    Jake: No, no! (Holt smirks triumphantly) You sick son of a bitch!
    • Gina, despite being a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, has saved up enough money to buy a piece of New York real estate.
  • How We Got Here: In the beginning of "Charges and Specs", Peralta is alone 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.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • When Boyle refers to his save-the-date cards as "STDs";
      Santiago: Will your first dance be to "You Give Me Fever"?
      Jeffords: Will you be serving crabs at the reception?
      Gina: Do you have herpes?
      Boyle: Guys, this is my wedding. This is important to me, no more jokes.
      Peralta: You're right, and we're sorry. We love you, buddy. Warts and all! Sorry, I made a rash decision. I was itching to say it. Okay, I'm done.
    • Subverted with Boyle's gunshot wounds, when Peralta just defaults to "butt" after the first two tries.
  • 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.
    • Diaz frequently doesn't seem entirely aware of just how awful her temper is:
      Diaz: [To Jeffords and Holt] You think I have an anger problem? I don't. You are both dead to me.
  • I Have Brothers: Played With. In the first episode, it's explained that Amy Santiago grew up with seven brothers, explaining her hyper-competitive, perfectionist streak. On the other hand, Badass Biker Rosa Diaz pointedly does not have a backstory explaining how tough she is - she's just naturally hardcore. She doesn't even have any brothers; she actually only has sisters.
  • 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'm a Humanitarian: Caleb, Jake's cellmate in the Season 5 opener "The Big House", was convicted for eating nine people...children, in fact.
    Caleb: Well, that's not how I would define myself... If we're going by what I'm most passionate about, I would say that I'm a woodworker.
  • Improvised Cross: Gina makes one with pencils to "ward off" the germs from Rosa's cold in "Road Trip."
  • Inane Blabbering: As part of her overall Adorkable personality, Amy falls into this trope quite frequently.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: In one episode, after being asked to be the officiant of someone's wedding Terry writes a wedding speech which manages to provoke buckets of messy, inelegant tears... from Terry himself.
    Terry: Darlene and Lynn, I want you to remember the words of Luther Vandross: "A thousand kisses from you..." [Begins to break, but forces himself together] "A thousand kisses from you... is never... too... much."
    [Terry dissolves into tears; Gina stares incredulously]
    Holt: Every time he reads it, he breaks down.
    Gina: Terry, I thought you had done this before.
    Terry: Yeah, but that was just workout metaphors! You told me to get gorgeous with it, and it took me to some very real places.
  • 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...
      (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!
    • "USPIS" provides a string of them when people are telling Jake how they got out of Scully's birthday party:
      Amy: I panicked and said I had to go to the vet because my puppy-cat got sick.
      Boyle: I said I had to take my mom to get birth-control pills.
      Terry: That's better than my excuse. I said I had to go to my girls' bat mitzvahs.
      Holt: (entering the break room) Squad, we missed Scully's birthday, and it was a big one. I told them I was in Ecuador. I think they bought it.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Every time someone calls Diaz an angry or short tempered person she responds by threatening to violently murder them.
    Diaz: [To Jeffords and Holt] You think I have an anger problem? I don't. You are both dead to me.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass:
    • Warren "The Vulture" Pembroke, an obnoxious, entitled, credit-stealing Hate Sink for both the characters and the audience. See the character page for more info.
    • Eleanor Hortsweil, Charles' ex-wife from "Hostage Situation", is almost as bad; she's bitter, amoral and a prime example of Lack of Empathy. She never wanted children with Charles, but made sure that she owned his sperm. When he finally needs his "Boyle oil", she holds it hostage (destroying some of it to prove she means business) in exchange for Charles using his badge to bully a person Eleanor hit with her car into dropping the charges. Said person turns out to be a 90-year-old priest... who was sitting on a bench when Eleanor hit him.
    • Deputy Chief Wuntch isn't a particularly nice person either. As Captain Holt's Evil Counterpart, she's a smug, spiteful and unscrupulous Bad Boss perfectly willing to step over others to get what she wants.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Several examples in the main cast.
    • Jake can be a very arrogant Manchild, and he can be very thoughtless in how he interacts with other people, but he is also a genuinely kind and compassionate person who cares about his friends and will go to extreme lengths to make them happy.
    • Amy is extremely competitive and ambitious, which often makes her act a bit snide and mean at times, but ultimately she's very sweet and good-hearted.
    • Rosa is an aggressive and ill-tempered person with a Hair-Trigger Temper who terrifies most people, but she does care about her friends and shows this by giving them surprisingly solid advice and by always having their back whenever they find themselves needing help.
    • Gina's "heart of gold" is really more just a nugget of gold in a heart of stone, but she does have her moments of kindness.
  • 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."
    • "USPIS" features Jake having difficulties playing nice with the liaison for the titular US Postal Inspection Service. Eventually Jake oversteps his boundaries and the USPIS, being a federal service, takes over the investigation.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: In "Halloween", Captain Holt and Detective Peralta make a bet that Peralta can't steal Holt's Medal of Valor from his office, where Holt has placed it inside a safe within a locked cabinet. Holt proceeds to catch Peralta out in a series of lame attempts to break into the office and steal the medal using what seem to be feeble disguises and distractions, until he ends up being locked in an interrogation room and handcuffed to a table... whereupon Peralta explains to Holt the real plan; while Peralta was distracting Holt with his increasingly feeble attempts to break into Holt's office, the other detectives in the squad—whom Peralta had bribed with an offer to do their paperwork for them—were subtly breaking through Holt's defences and stealing the medal for him. Since he lost the bet, Holt now has to do all of Peralta's paperwork, which now includes the entire squad's.
  • Kicked Upstairs: At the end of season 2, Wuntch "promotes" Holt to the department of public relations.
  • Klatchian Coffee: For Christmas in "Yippie Kayak", Boyle buys Peralta a bottle of "Heart Attack" soda which, as Peralta notes, is technically just "carbonated fudge", and which he thought was banned. Boyle points out that it's not banned in Syria, where "they use it to induce labor in goats."

  • 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.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: The Running Gag of "The title of Amy's sex tape." (Oddly enough, it didn't start out like that.)
  • 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 behavior 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.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • At the end of Season 3, Amy goes undercover in a women's prison. As part of her identity she wears a fake stomach to make her appear seven months pregnant, in order to allow her to talk to her "doctors" (actually her handlers, Charles and Jake) at any time. This allowed the then heavily pregnant Melissa Fumero to get out from behind the increasingly unconvincing Scenery Censors and in on the action for the first time in half a season. Needless to say, many Lampshade Hanging jokes are made, including Amy refusing to believe that she looks realistically pregnant.
    • Similarly, Chelsea Peretti's pregnancy during Season 4 is dealt with by having Gina also become pregnant. After a night with one of the Boyle cousins.
  • Lethal Chef: Amy is an awful cook and thinks nothing of substituting baking soda for salt. She originally had no idea that her food is not fit for human consumption. Normally her coworkers would just discreetly dispose of anything she made, but finally had to admit what they did on Thanksgiving.
    Amy: But I'm a good cook! You all ate those brownies I brought in last week.
    Gina: I thought they were erasers.
  • 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.
  • Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Adorkable goody two-shoes Santiago is the Light Feminine and narcissistic and vain Gina is the Dark Feminine.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: In addition to the frequent bickering and competitiveness between then, Peralta and Santiago frequently give the impression of two people who have been around each other for so long they've gotten incredibly comfortable with each other's habits and foibles over time and have picked up numerous odd little personal things about each other in the process (Peralta, for example, knows about Santiago's dedication to and special technique for brushing her teeth). Invoked when they actually act as a bickering couple in order to bust a couple of perps.... who, even when they drop the act and bust them, remain incredibly convinced by it:
    Perp: I'm sad y'all arresting me, but I gotta say—I'm glad you're back together.
  • Love Triangle: Between Amy, Teddy, and Jake. A Type 4 Triang Relations. Jake realizes his feelings a little too late, Amy's already with Teddy and Jake funnels his emotions into drinking, brooding, and working overtime. Until he gets called into a dangerous undercover mission, that is.
  • The Mafia: Jake infiltrates a crime family for 6 months.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • 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.
    • In the Season 1 finale, you can see Captain Holt getting a phone call as he, Peralta and Santiago are walking down the hallway. This is when the FBI told Holt that Peralta would have to deny having evidence so as not to ruin a deep undercover case.
  • Meet Cute: Mentioned by name by Scully when talking about meeting his wife after she had just left an orgy.
  • Mentor Archetype: Holt is gradually becoming this for Peralta. Santiago desperately wishes Holt was becoming this for her.
  • Milestone Celebration: The episode "99" is this, being the ninety-ninth episode of the series.
  • 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.
  • Murder, Arson, and Jaywalking: The Vulture steals an arrest from Rosa just as she's about to break down a door, poaches a perp from Amy while she's reading him his rights, and swipes Charles' coffee just as he's about to take it from the barista.
    Charles: I used a gift card for that!
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: From the first Thanksgiving Episode.
    Peralta: I'd just like to say that I am happy to be here with my family. My super-weird family with two black dads and two Latina daughters and two white sons and Gina and... [looks at Scully] I don't know what you are. Some strange... giant baby?
  • 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.
  • Noodle Incident: Wuntch and Holt being embarrassed in front of Derek Jeter.
  • 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 idealize 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 '70s 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 Blood Siblings: Very downplayed, it's because of the messy way Boyle and Gina broke up that their parents started dating and later got married. The sex was long over by the time they became family. Still, Gina instructs Boyle to scratch the "I used to boink my new stepsister" from his best man toast.
  • 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.
  • No Social Skills: To varying degrees, but in general for a group of police officers the Nine-Nine don't exactly excel when it comes to personal skills:
    • Peralta is on the 'lesser' side of the scale; he can be very charming when he wants to be, but his immaturity and Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies frequently gets in the way.
    • Holt's robotic, stoic nature frequently suggests that he barely seems to understand how humans work at times.
    • Santiago gets nervous, awkward and flustered easily, leading her to babble, stumble over her words, and do strange things out of sheer panic.
    • Diaz shares Holt's robotic stoicism, but with added anger issues on top of it.
    • Boyle just blurts out whatever thoughts go through his head regardless of how weird or creepy they come across, and in general doesn't exactly have a great grasp of the concepts of 'embarrassment' or 'appropriateness'.
    • Like Peralta, Gina can also be very charming, but her fundamental narcissism means that she's usually utterly disinterested in the people she's interacting with to begin with.
    • Hitchcock and Scully just seem to live in their own strange, not-very-bright little world.
    • About the only member of the squad who seems able to effectively navigate adult human social interactions on a consistent basis is Jeffords, which frequently places him in the Only Sane Man role when it comes to this. A Running Gag is that whenever the Nine-Nine is representing the precinct or interacting en masse with non-cops in a non-police work related social setting, he frequently ends up having to take them all aside and mentor them in how to actually interact with people.
  • Odd Couple: Jake tends to generate this dynamic with his co-workers:
    • With Holt, he's the irreverent young white detective to Holt's stern, serious and experienced African American captain.
    • With Santiago, he's a childish, laid back foil to her strait-laced, uptight go-getter.
    • With Boyle, he's the cool guy to Boyle's awkward bumbler. Despite this, they're best friends (although Boyle's Yes-Man tendencies towards Peralta no doubt help here).
    • With Diaz, he's the friendly, sociable one while she's... not.
    • With Jeffords, he's a head-in-the-clouds and immature bachelor while Jeffords is a grounded and devoted family man.
    • 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.
  • Odd Friendship: Jake is a friendly, hyperactive goofball while Rosa is a grumpy and aggressive badass. Despite this, they've been close friends ever since their police academy days (with Rosa even calling him her closest friend in the world) and have an unshakeable trust in each other.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Scully and Hitchcock can actually be competent from time to time. Just don't let the world know.
  • 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...
  • Official Couple: Jake and Amy as of the beginning of Season 3.
  • Once a Season: Each season has a Halloween episode where the detectives compete for the title of Utlimate Detective/Genius. Changed to Human/Genius the year Gina won, since discriminating against non-detectives is, quote, "worse than segregation." The Pontiac Bandit Doug Judy also returns for one episode every season.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: In "Old School", it's revealed near the end that Jake punched Brogan in the face, but the full context of the immediately preceding conversation isn't shown until later, when it's revealed that Jake punched him because he derisively referred to Holt as a "homo".
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: After Peralta arrests an 86 year old and notes it was his oldest arrest, Diaz and Santiago compare their oldest collars. Boyle then walks in and mentions the 68 year old that he had bagged, before Diaz realizes that Boyle's not talking about his oldest arrest.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Mid-Season 3 is particularly guilty of having the characters apparently go several weeks without doing any police work, even if the story-lines take place in the main office set. While Seasons 1 and 2 always incorporated a few episodes based around training days, team building exercises, and the occasional personal day or vacation, Season 3 sometimes seems to be nothing but these, with the rest of the time devoted to characters pursuing their hobbies while nominally at work. Towards the end of the season this gets better again, however, with the introduction of a four-episode arc based around a single investigation to wrap up the season.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Surprisingly averted by a show this comedic. They mine as much humor possible out of Boyle getting shot in the ass for a few episodes before seeming to forget about it, only to reveal he's still feeling pain months later. It's Played for Laughs, but it's still acknowledgement of the long term trauma that can be caused by bullet wounds. In fact, Boyle continues to feel discomfort a year after being shot.
    • Also averted with Gina getting hit by a bus. The situation is seen as very tragic and she's lucky that she survived. She also takes several episodes to recover, although there's a considerable time skip between when the injury occurs and when she returns to the Nine Nine.
  • 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. Of the two of them, as Holt has gradually demonstrated his own quirks and foibles as time as passed, Jeffords has consequently found himself to be the most frequent voice of reason and good sense around.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In the season two finale, Holt gives an emotional goodbye speech to the team. Peralta lampshades how out of character it is for him.
  • 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.
  • Out of Focus: The show's normally pretty good about including every cast member in every episode, but the season 4 premiere, "Coral Palms, Pt. 1" is notable for featuring none of the main characters aside from Holt and Peralta, and for taking place entirely outside of Brooklyn.
  • Paintball Episode: "Tactical Village" features an NYPD training course. They perform so well at the course that they are the only non-federal agency invited to a similar training course in "Windbreaker City".
  • Percussive Maintenance: Rosa can be seen doing this to her computer screen in the opening titles.
  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: At the end of "The Bet". Just as Peralta's "bad date" had tanked and he'd been getting a little closer to Santiago, the stripper he hired early on to cap things off finally shows up.
  • Playing Gertrude: When Capt. Holt's mother shows up in season 4, she is played by L. Scott Caulfield, who is only 12 years older than Andre Braugher.
  • 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.
  • Power Walk: Done by the main cast in the opening credits, and also whenever they assume cover identities.
  • Precious Puppy: One Season 1 B-plot has Holt somehow winding up with two of these that he tries to pass to someone in the team. Anyone.
    • In Season 3, a similar thing happens to Rosa after she attempts a Replacement Goldfish for one of Boyle's dogs that has passed away. He responds angrily that he can't just replace the dog, but Rosa ends up adoring the puppy, Arlo, herself.
  • Prison Episode: "The Big House (Pts. 1 & 2)", the first two episodes of Season 5, take place largely inside the walls of the fictional Jericho Supermax Prison in South Carolina after Jake and Rosa are framed for the Golden Gang's bank heists by crooked 'hero cop' Lt. Hawkins at the end of Season 4.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Dirk Blocker (Hitchcock) and Joel McKinnon Miller (Scully) in Season 2.
  • 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.

  • Rail Enthusiast: Terry and Holt both loved model train sets, but unfortunately find out that no one else does, not children or even Kevin.
  • Randomly Reversed Letters: Parodied in episode "Tactical Village", where Gina claims that the addictive computer game "Kwazy Kupcakes" has a reversed w.
  • 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 he hasn't solved is how to grow 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.
    • When Jake is briefly forced to give up his badge and gun he wants to slam it down on the captain's desk and shout "The system stinks!", but instead has to go and fill out Form 452_J and then give them to the inventory clerk.
  • Rewatch Bonus: "HalloVeen" once it is revealed Jake was using the heist to set up his marriage proposal to Amy.
  • 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...
  • Rule of Three:
    • One episode has one Cutaway Gag after another when different members of the team mention how Holt simply cannot emote. The fourth one is when Hitchcock comes in with his own Cutaway Gag, where he claims he can't read Holt either even when Holt was clearly on his last nerve and yelling at him at the time.
    • While trying to give relationship advice near the end of "New Captain," Boyle punches Jake three times, twice for saying something stupid and once because he's already really worked up.
    • Three flashbacks at the end of "HalloVeen" - - Terry claims he gave Jake the idea to propose to Amy via a metaphor about mixing yogurts. Boyle claims he gave Jake the idea to propose to Amy when he introduced them in 2009. Jake then flashes back to when he knew he wanted to propose to Amy for real - when she freaked out about a typo in the crossword puzzle six months prior.
  • 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.
      • When arresting a perp, Holt has a tendency to call them a punk, to the point that when Jake arrests a serial killer in front of him he insists Jake call the perp a punk as well.
    • Related to this, every perp Holt has ever arrested seems to have a cool Serial Killer nickname (the Disco Strangler, the Brooklyn Broiler, etc.).
    • Peralta taking things Santiago says out of context and claiming they'd be good titles for her sex tape. Taken to its natural conclusion when Jake makes the joke while in bed with Amy.
      Amy: I hope it wasn't a mistake.
      Jake: "I Hope it Wasn't a Mistake": Title of your sex tape. [beat] Title of our sex tape!
    • 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.
      • "Terry loves [X]."
    • Whenever the team has to put on new outfits or assume new identities, they will be introduced with a Power Walk set to blaring rap music.
    • 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. They also tend not to be incredibly bright and terrible liars.
    • Boyle inevitably finds the grossest, weirdest or creepiest ways of expressing his thoughts.
      • Related to the above, in the second season, whenever the subject turns to romance between the detectives Boyle is constantly advising that washing your partner's hair is the most romantic thing you can do.
    • The members of the Nine-Nine using bird-calls to 'secretly' communicate with each other while enacting their various schemes. They will usually be indoors in rather incongruous locations while doing so.
    • Any time that Jake is prompted to do a Big "NO!", a Big "WHAT?!" or a similar Big Word Shout (which is quite often), the episode will somehow intervene to cut him off before he finished (either by cutting to commercial, beginning the credits or ending).
    • Gina has a tendency to throw things that aren't hers into the garbage.
    • Boyle seems to find Terry's body disgusting, in contrast to literally everybody else.
    • Peralta, whenever someone discusses something he finds either confusing, weird or doesn't understand will often respond along the lines of "Mmhmm, mmhmm, [word he doesn't get] and whatnot."
    • Peralta will occasionally buy an extremely expensive cup of coffee for someone, only for them to turn it down.
  • 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).
  • Secret Test of Character: While interviewing IT consultants, Gina repeatedly asks one what his favourite Jay-Z song is until he yells at her, she screams at another and flosses in front of the third. The candidate will have to deal with Hitchcock asking how to log into his email every day, Rosa's constant angry outbursts and police stations are fairly disgusting places to work in with all the criminals being brought in. She recommends hiring the guy who hacked them in the first place.
  • Self-Deprecation: 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, really? Who does Kevin James play in it?
    Adam Sandler: Ha ha, it's a serious movie.
    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 apologizes for Peralta starting a brawl between the Fire Department and 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).
  • Sequel Episode: Once a Season: "Halloween II", "III", "IV", and "HalloVeen"; there's also "The Pontiac Bandit Returns", "The Cruise", and "The Fugitive, Pt. 2".
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: In a flashback, Wuntch does this to Holt. Holt's reaction is a No-Sell, between his stoicism and homosexuality.
  • Share Phrase: Peralta and Holt saying "Bingpot!" when they find what they're looking for.
    Jake: BING...pot! ...Nope, I was gonna say bingo, but then I was like, "Jackpot's better", but then it was too late, I was halfway through the word.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Whenever Boyle talks about his family life or his father shows up it becomes obvious that eccentricity is a family thing.
    • Season 2 shows beyond a doubt that Boyle and Gina are both essentially Generation Xerox of their same-sex parent, though Gina's mother is arguably a bit more mellow than her daughter.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Boyle, during a painkiller-induced truth bombing spree, gives Jake a pep talk about how Jake is too immature to properly admit his feelings for Amy. When he learns that they've kissed in the Season 2 finale, he becomes the uncontested captain of the Jake/Amy ship, squeeing unabashedly and insisting that they tell him everything!!.
    • Terry is rather gleeful upon finding out that Jake has feelings for Amy and suggests they get drunk so that Jake can at least temporarily forget about how Amy is dating Teddy.
    • Rosa also seems to ship Jake and Amy, as on more than one occasion she gives Jake advice about the best way to get Amy's attention.
    • And as for Captain Holt... "He approves!" Though in a later episode he does, apparently seriously, question Amy's life choices when faced with one of Jake's Felony Misdemeanor personality traits.
    • Let's be honest, the Belligerent Sexual Tension between Jake and Amy is so blatant that they've actually been shipped by perps they were in the middle of arresting... (see Comically Missing the Point, above). Even Doug Judy, Jake's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis, is openly supportive of them as a couple.
    • Jake/Amy may be the main ship in the show, but it's also clear from early on that everyone in the 99 is very much shipping Holt and Kevin as well.
  • Ship Sinking: The first season initially hinted at making Boyle/Diaz a thing, but it became increasingly clear that almost no one was on board with it. The creators eventually torpedoed it by having the other characters disapprove of it, Rosa herself bluntly tell Boyle that nothing was going to happen, and Boyle himself eventually move on to other people.
  • Ship Tease:
    • The first and second seasons frequently tease Peralta / Santiago. From the very first episode, 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 hinted that Diaz, despite her attitude, might be more fond of Boyle than she lets on. As of the second half of Season One, these hints diminished, and they've been solidly established as Better as Friends.
    • 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.
    • And is put on hold for the Amy/Teddy romance, but comes back up late in Season 2, particularly in "Det. Dave Majors". We find out that Amy does a "Double Hair Tuck" when she's in to someone, and although she tells Jake that she doesn't want to date cops, we see her do the Double Hair Tuck when he leaves the break room.
    • The first episode of Season Two begins teasing Boyle and Gina.
  • Shout-Out:
    Jake: How many times do I have to say it? She's like a sister.
    Charles: That's what Luke said about Leia.
    Jake: Hey, Luke didn't know! No one knew!
    • In "Fancy Brudgrom" Jake considers Charles's wedding to be the second worst wedding of all time, right behind the Red Wedding.
    • From the same episode:
    Holt: Detective Diaz, I gather that once again, things did not go well with Officer Deetmore.
    Diaz: With all due respect, sir, it's how I was trained. You mess up, you get made fun of. It's like a scientist zapping a rat when it messes up in a maze.
    Holt: Oh, I get it. When I was a young officer, I was that rat that got zapped. And all I wanted was to be captain and throw some lightning bolts.
    Diaz: Emperor Palpatine. (holds hand up in a claw shape and makes zapping noises)
    Holt: I do not know who that is.
    • 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).
    • A burnt down pizzeria in Brooklyn called Sal's?
    • During "The Bet", Peralta attempts to reenact the steerage dance.
    • This line from Halloween II:
      Jake: We're doing it, Boyle! We're "Tokyo Drift"ing!
    • From "The Night Shift"
    Jake: Lohank is happy and confident? Everything's off. Oh no. We're in the Upside Down.
    • In "Captain Latvia," Boyle's suggestions on Jake getting Amy pregnant are from The Big Lebowski.
    • same episode has Gina "discover" Hamilton, claiming that it's going to be the next big thing now that she'd discovered it. The episode was released in December 2016, after the show had already one several Tonys after opening a year earlier.
    • By Season 4, Amy has finally convinced Jake to start reading Harry Potter. He's surprised by how much he likes it and says he was heartbroken when Cedric dies at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
    • In "HalloVeen", one of Jake's ploys involves the use of a group of The Handmaid's Tale cosplayers. Amy nicknames him "Ofamy" for doing it.
    • Terry spent time abroad in Japan where he had dreadlocks and a girlfriend named Chiaki. One can't help but wonder if he didn't have a best friend named Soichiro.
  • Shown Their Work: In the very first episode, Santiago expresses hope that Captain Holt will be her 'rabbi'. It is real-life police slang to refer to an older police mentor as a 'rabbi' that helps a new cop learn the ropes after joining the force.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
    • The Vulture serves as this for all the detectives, due to his irritating demeanour and annoying habit of swooping in to steal their cases at the last minute.
    • Season 2 introduces Madeleine Wuntch, a fellow cop with whom Holt has had a bitter rivalry for decades. It's initially played for laughs but then played for drama near the end of the season, when she forcibly re-assigns Holt to a different department out of spite.
  • Sitcom Character Archetypes:
    • The Square: Terry.
    • The Wisecracker: Jake, Rosa.
    • The Bully: Rosa, Gina.
    • The Dork: Amy
    • The Goofball: Jake, Charles, Gina (on rare occasion, when she's not being the Bully).
    • The Sage: Holt.
  • 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.
  • 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 expects, 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.
  • Staggered Zoom: Onto Holt in Season 4 premiere "Coral Palms" part 1, when he realizes that if they don't investigate the case they might be left indefinitely in witness protection in the worst place on earth, Florida.
  • Story Arc: The Jimmy Figgis story arc spanning over 7 episodes, starting from "Paranoia" and ending with "Coral Palms Pt.3."
  • Straight Gay: Holt takes this to extremes, being as he is The Stoic to such a degree that his coworkers consider his face to be completely unreadable. His husband Kevin is only slightly softer by virtue of using a variety of expressions and vocal inflections on a regular basis. It is also Played With here, in that Holt does have several features of stereotypical camp gay characters, they're just harder to notice because he is so reserved. He is fussy, neat, and cultured, for example, and is an amazing ballroom dancer. Not to mention the pride flag on his desk. He is, in fact, the head of a gay police officer's advocacy group, and has been out since the 1970s. When his sexuality was revealed in the first episode, the joke was not, as with many of these characters, simply that the character was unexpectedly gay, but that all the professional detectives that work under him didn't notice the really obvious signs. Like the framed newspaper article about how he was the first openly gay captain in the NYPD.
  • 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.
    • Often played for laughs; in general, most of the crooks who show up on the show aren't exactly the brightest sparks out there.
  • 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.

  • Take Our Word for It: In "Fancy Brudgom", after Diaz apologizes to an officer she humiliated for mislabeling the weapon in a case, she takes him to the second floor to show him how to fix his mistake. But before stepping into the elevator:
    Diaz: Oh, one more sorry. You're about to see a drawing I did of you in the elevator. Just remember, I was really pissed at you at the time. (elevator door opens, and Officer Deetmore stares at the elevator with increasing horror and shock)
  • Technician Vs Performer: Amy Santiago vs. Jake Peralta, with the two of them even having a bet to see who can catch more criminals in a year. They both follow the two sections of this trope nearly perfectly, with Amy as the perfectionist By-the-Book Cop technican who always tries to do things properly in contrast to Jake, who desperately wants to be a Cowboy Cop and is quite frequently a Manchild.
    • To a lesser extent, Charles Boyle is also the technician in contrast to Peralta and to a lesser extent Rosa Diaz. While he is not as smart as Amy, as clever as Jake, or as intimidating as Rosa, he works harder than everyone else and is more than capable of keeping up with them.
  • 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).
  • Thanksgiving Episode: Played surprisingly straight here. There's the overeager family member trying to make it all perfect (Double Subverted: looks to be Boyle, turns out to be Santiago) and bonding in the B-plot (Peralta and Holt).
  • They Do:
    • Subverted in the last scene of Season 1's last episode. After a Will They or Won't They? plot that's been going on for the whole season, the penultimate scene with Diaz and Boyle suggests something might actually happen between the two. The final scene then shows Boyle in bed, the camera slowly panning to what will obviously be a Bedmate Reveal... Except that said bedmate turns out to be Gina!
    • After 2 seasons of relentless UST Jake and Amy finally get their Big Damn Kiss at the very end of season 2.
  • Token Minority:
    • Averted. Of the nine members of the main cast, three are female, four are ethnic minorities, one is a religious minority, and two are LGBT+.
    • 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.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Diaz and Santiago, for a given value of 'Girly Girl' at least given that they're both police officers, not a typically 'Girly Girl' profession. Santiago is more fashionably conscious and quite often seen dressed up for a date or party. Diaz is perpetually sour faced, wears black leather and has anger issues.
    Santiago: (talking about her planned first date that evening) Dinner and a movie. (Diaz makes a farting noise) Dinner and a movie is the perfect first date.
    Diaz: For me: cheap dinner, watch basketball, bone down.
    • Often, this is the dynamic between both Diaz and Santiago vs. extremely high-maintenance Gina.
  • Town Girls: High-maintenance dance enthusiast Gina is the femme, stone-cold badass Rosa is the butch, and Amy is neither.
  • Trash of the Titans:
    Holt: One of these pictures is of your locker, and the other one is a garbage dump in the Philippines. Can you tell which is which?
    Peralta: [pointing at the right side one] That one.
    Holt: They're both your locker!
  • True Companions: The precinct is this to one another, to the point of Terry and the rest (even Gina) traveling to Florida to help Jake and Holt catch Figgis.
  • Truth in Television: Holt points out that the 1970s was a lot harder on ethnic and sexual minorities than the present day.At one point he talks about one of his best partners, a man who was homophobic but not racist, which was pretty good back then.
  • Turn in Your Badge:
    • Subverted when 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.
    • Invoked 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.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Diaz and Santiago, both Latina women with Diaz also being bisexual. Both were in fact written ethnicity-neutral.
  • The Unfavorite: Santiago feels this way towards Holt, who spends more time with Peralta while she is constantly looking for his approval. The truth is that Holt doesn't bother Santiago because she is already a disciplined cop who does all her paperwork perfectly, he spends time with Peralta because he is so flippant towards protocol and paperwork.
  • Unfolding Plan Montage:
    • At the end of "Halloween", Peralta explains to Captain Holt his plan to steal Holt's medal of valor, while in flashback we see the other members of the squad executing the plan.
    • Happens again at the end of Halloween II, only this time it's Holt explain his plan to Peralta.
  • 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.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: When Peralta reveals his heist plan merely a few minutes into "Halloween II", you just know something's gonna go wrong.
  • 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.
    • By the middle of the first episode of season 3, that tension has been, shall we say, resolved.
  • Vanity Plate: For Doctor Goor Productions. "Not a doctor, shh."
  • Wangst: invoked
    • 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 if 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.
    • A more serious example from the cold open of "Charges and Specs": "My name's Jake Peralta, and I just got fired from the NYPD." Followed by a How We Got Here / Once More, with Clarity!.
    • Also from the same episode: "I kinda wish something... could happen, between us, romantic-stylez."
    • From "The Chopper": "Say goodbye to the Nine-Nine, Raymond."
    • From "HalloVeen": Amy reading the new inscription on the belt.
      Amy: "Amy Santiago, will you marry me?"
      Jake: Surprise.
  • 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.
  • When She Smiles: Diaz is normally scowling or smirking sarcastically. But when she genuinely smiles it's like she's another person entirely. Trying to get her to smile for a Christmas photo takes up an entire subplot of one episode.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "The Jimmy-Jab Games", in which the gang get into some silly office games while Captain Holt is away, is a retread of an Office episode, "Office Olympics", in which the gang get into some silly office games while Michael Scott is away. Michael Schur was a writer on both shows.
  • Women Are Wiser: Subverted. Of the female characters, Santiago initially seems like one of the most mature characters in the cast, particularly compared to her partner / love interest Peralta, but when you look closer she's actually just as immature, competitive, socially awkward and childish as he is — just from a different direction (whereas he's the class clown who never grew up, she acts like she's constantly striving to be high school valedictorian), thus leading her to get into just as much trouble. Diaz also seems like she's got a good head on her shoulders, but this is contrasted with a very short temper and tendency towards violent solutions to problems, which also doesn't always help. And as for Gina, she's a raging Narcissist who barely cares about other people at all. The most sane, stable and common-sense character in the cast is arguably the male Terry.
  • 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.
  • Values Dissonance: In-universe. Holt remembers his former partner, fondly remarking that he was homophobic but not racist and "in those days that was pretty good".
  • 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.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: In the pilot Sgt. Jeffords mentions Scully, Hitchcock and Daniels as worthless detectives, who make decent coffee. Scully and Hitchcock go on to become series regulars later costars, Daniels is never even mentioned after the pilot.
    • What happened to Bernice in "Full Boyle"? She and Peralta got along really well but she just sort of disappeared at the end of the date.
  • Working Through the Cold: Rosa in "Road Trip". Subverted in that it isn't successful, Gina locks her in a room and she sleeps for ten hours.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Wuntch pulls a clever one on Holt in "The Chopper". On the trail of a murderer who stole $21 million, Wuntch offers Peralta, Boyle and Holt any resources they require to track him down. Holt is cautious about using this offer too liberally, as he correctly realizes that if the team fails to catch the murderer, it will be all the more embarrassing for Holt given the resources at their disposal, which Wuntch is banking on. What he doesn't realize is that when the team successfully catches the murderer, it's such a masterful collar that Wuntch uses as an opportunity to "promote" Holt to the department of public relations. Either way, Wuntch comes out on top.
  • 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 everyone, especially Peralta and Rosa. 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 realizes that it actually only ever seems to be Boyle who keeps telling him this. In "Thanksgiving", Boyle admits that he's a chronic people-pleaser and that "it's a serious problem."