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The Best Jake Peralta Moments On Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of the most acclaimed comedies to hit broadcast TV in the last decade, a show so beloved that it survived cancellation at one network and was revived at another simply because fans refused to let go of its beloved cast of characters. The series, which follows the professional and personal lives of a group of detectives at the title precinct, is an obvious ensemble piece, full of memorable characters that each bring their own clear contributions to the overall dynamic. If there's a leading role in the series, though, it belongs to Andy Samberg as impulsive and often immature detective Jake Peralta.

Peralta is a devoted detective who's always eager to solve the case he's assigned no matter what it takes, because his devotion is often offset by a near-constant desire to goof off around the precinct. He's a combination of dedicated cop and even more dedicated office clown, a loving husband and friend who's also capable of being an extreme annoyance when he wants to be. It's that combination that leads to some of the most memorable scenes in the entire series. From the funny to the heartwarming, these are the best Jake Peralta moments on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Jake's boy band

Jake Peralta is the character who perhaps best embodies Brooklyn Nine-Nine's endless capacity to pivot between serious and silly, because he loves his job so much that he's always one moment away from launching into something completely goofy even when he's also actively trying to work. Nowhere is this more apparent than perhaps the greatest cold open scene in the series.

The scene starts like a typical piece of police drama. Jake is talking with a witness, who's looking at a lineup of suspects, and notes that she didn't see the person responsible for the crime. She did, however, hear them singing a Backstreet Boys song nearby, so Jake asks the suspects to sing to help his witness. Specifically, he asks them to sing "I Want It That Way," line by line.

Because Jake is Jake, this basically translates to the Nine-Nine's goofiest detective launching an impromptu a capella band with a bunch of potential criminals. Of course it all builds to a twist that takes the mood right back to drama, but this particular bit of goofy improvisation is pure Peralta.

Jake's proposal

There are a few different narrative backbones that have managed to run through Brooklyn Nine-Nine season after season. One of them, arguably the very first one, is the love story of Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago, which began with a rivalry in the first episode and eventually grew into something much bigger. Another is the seasonal celebration of the "Halloween Heist," an annual competition in which the detectives in the precinct compete to end the holiday with a championship prize that gives them bragging rights for the entire next year.

The great thing about the Halloween Heist has always been that all bets are off. Best friends can double cross each other, frenemies can team up, and new players can enter the game at any time. That's why the fifth installment, "HalloVeen," caught us all by surprise with the reveal that Jake had actually engineered that year's heist as an elaborate proposal to Amy. That he went to such great lengths to arrange it was expected, but the heart he put in when it actually happened is what sticks with us.

Jake the parent

One of the most striking things about the more serialized aspects of Brooklyn Nine-Nine as a story is the way it manages to seed little subplots through even the silliest of moments and then pay them off later in a major, often dramatic way. Perhaps the best example of this in the entire series is Jake Peralta's dad issues. They're very often played for laughs, as in moments when he accidentally calls Captain Holt "Dad" and works a bit too hard to impress Amy's father, but through that level of comedy the show also manages to express that Jake has some legitimate emotional damage from his own absentee father. This finally pays off in a massive way when it's revealed that Jake and Amy didn't discuss having children before they got married.

While Amy is definitely interested in starting a family, Jake is against having kids, and the reasons become clear when he agrees to an actual structured debate about it with his wife. Because he had a horrible experience with his own father, he fears messing up parenting his own hypothetical children, and doesn't want to let either them or Amy down. Eventually, though, Jake's love for Amy overcomes his fear, and they agree to be parents together. It's a real show of maturity for one of TV's most famously immature characters.

Jake's Nakatomi adventure

Jake Peralta's love of Die Hard, his pick for the greatest cop movie of all time, is well-documented throughout Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He makes frequent references to it, gets mad when other people are able to reference it better than he can, and loves it so much that his fiancee even had a Die Hard groom's cake made for their wedding. So it stands to reason that if Jake ever encountered a real aspect of Die Hard itself, he'd go a little crazy.

That finally happens in the Season 5 episode "99" when the detectives head to Los Angeles to attend the funeral of their precinct's former captain. Though they're supposed to head back to New York rather quickly so Captain Holt can get to a potentially career-changing job interview, Jake grinds everything to a halt when he spots Fox Plaza, the iconic skyscraper that played the role of "Nakatomi Plaza" in Die Hard.

The team gives in to Jake's desire to visit this "monument," which he is thrilled to discover includes a floor under construction, just like in the film. What follows is a lengthy, extremely nerdy photo session in which Jake re-enacts virtually every major John McClane moment from the film. It's a testament to the level of goodwill he has among his friends that they tolerate it for as long as they do.

Jake in the Box

Despite all the antics and his long history of goofing off at work, Jake Peralta also seems to be a pretty good detective. He has a mind for puzzle solving, for turning a problem over and over in his head until he finds something he didn't notice before that breaks everything wide open. Brooklyn Nine-Nine doesn't always showcase this talent in the most obvious way, but "The Box" is a perfect encapsulation of it.

This bottle episode follows Jake and Captain Holt as they interrogate a murder suspect (Sterling K. Brown) who seems to have an answer for any question or piece of evidence they throw at him. Peralta and Holt keep devising new strategies to get the suspect to admit what he did, and he just keeps proving too smart for him. As the night wears on and the detectives get more weary, they're also faced with a ticking clock, as the suspect's lawyer is on the way to get him out of interrogation. At least, when it seems like they're primed to lose, Jake realizes the key to the interrogation is the suspect's arrogance. At the last minute he bursts in and throws a flurry of accusations that make the crime sound less perfect than it was. The suspect responds by boasting about the real crime and how clever his execution was, thus confessing. See? Jake Peralta is more than just goofs.

Jake's reaction to sexism

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a series that's managed to build an immense sense of comfort for its viewers over the course of seven seasons. The more time we spend with the cast, the more we feel we know them, and the more we feel that the show can get serious without losing us.

The episode "He Said, She Said" is a key example of this, and it presents a great opportunity for Jake to show some maturity. In the episode, Jake and Amy catch a case in which a woman at a high-powered firm is accusing a co-worker of sexual harassment. It's frustrating for both detectives because they believe the woman but have trouble gathering enough evidence, and Amy in particular is driven to anger by it because she knows all too well how institutionalized sexism works. In a moment of vulnerability, she confesses certain sexist incidents from her past to Jake. He responds not by placating or by trying to tell her he knows how she feels, but by admitting that his status as a man in a male-dominated field has allowed him to remain ignorant of much of the problem. Then, when Amy tells him it's always going to be a bigger problem than he knows, he gathers himself together and offers to do whatever he can to help. It's a great moment driven by a genuine desire to be an ally.

The unsolvable case

Jake Peralta is a goofball who does everything he can to make his job fun, but he's also dedicated to being a detective, and he prides on himself on being able to solve even the most difficult cases through a combination of tenacity and smarts. The comedic sensibility of Brooklyn Nine-Nine means that we're much more likely to see Jake succeed than fail, which means that when the show actually does seriously challenge him, it makes for something memorable.

In the season 6 episode "The Crime Scene," Jake and Rosa take on a murder case that leads Jake to vow to the victim's mother that he will find the perpetrator no matter what. That promise, coupled with the extreme difficulty level of the case, sends Jake into a bit of a spiral, as he and Rosa spend hours in the victim's apartment going through the same clues over and over again.

Over time, watching Jake's increasing level of madness as he tries everything from eating the same food found at the scene to talking directly to the room itself proves to be a great vehicle for Andy Samberg's comedic performance, but it's also memorable because it underlines the dedication Jake has to solving this case for the victim's family.

Rosa's game night

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a show that's often been praised for the diversity of its characters, but it's not just a matter of casting the right actors to play those roles. The show's success in that department is also built on the way it responds to various pieces of information, and evolves its storytelling as a result. In season 5, this manifested when tough-as-nails Detective Rosa Diaz decided she was ready to come out to her conservative family as bisexual. Jake, as Rosa's best friend, gave her advice on how to break the news and agreed to accompany her to talk to her parents. Of course, not everything went as planned, and Rosa's parents were not immediately accepting of her sexuality.

What follows is one of those moments that cements the concept of family that anchors Brooklyn Nine-Nine as a piece of ensemble television. Rosa was hesitant to tell her parents, in part, because they'd been enjoying weekly game nights together, and she didn't want to ruin that. When it becomes clear that her parents need some space, Rosa is forced to give up game night, and Jake springs into action. He organizes the rest of the detectives, and they show up at Rosa's door with pizza, beer, and games, to show her that even if her parents aren't ready, she will always have a family who loves and supports her.

Jake's real-life Die Hard

Jake Peralta makes it abundantly clear over the course of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that his favorite movie is Die Hard, the action classic starring Bruce Willis as a cop in over his head during a hostage situation at his estranged wife's company Christmas party. The fact that Jake loves this particular film explains a lot about his style of policing. He can be reckless, he's quick with one-liners, and he's always trying to make the situation a bit more complicated than it needs to be in service of a good stunt.

The entire series is peppered with Die Hard references, but it was only a matter of time before Brooklyn Nine-Nine did a full-on tribute episode, and season 3's "Yippie Kayak" fits that bill. It follows Jake, Boyle, and Gina as they find themselves trapped in a store while it's being robbed at Christmas time, triggering Jake's desire to live out a "real-life Die Hard." To that end, he spends the entire episode referencing the film, doing everything from quoting the tagline to writing the names of the "terrorists" on his wrist just like John McClane does. It's a perfect Jake Peralta episode, including the moment when Boyle steals his chance to utter a signature catchphrase and butchers it by shouting "Yippie kayak, other buckets!"

Jake's best man proposal

Jake's most important relationship is with his wife, Amy. His second most important relationship is with his best friend and fellow detective, Charles Boyle. Charles is, by and large, a great friend. He's loyal, dependable, and willing to go the extra mile to make the people he loves happy, but with that level of loyalty and love also comes... well, other stuff. Charles can also be overly aggressive in his friendship, which manifests as being desperate for attention and needy to the point of annoyance. Jake knows this all too well, and while it sometimes means he has to keep Boyle at arm's length, it also means he can occasionally use it to his advantage.

After Jake and Amy get engaged at the end of the Halloween Heist, Boyle is quickly convinced that the next proposal will be to him, as Jake will definitely ask him to be his best man. Instead of simply asking directly, Jake appeals to Boyle's sense of the dramatic, draws him into the meeting room to ask a seemingly unrelated question, and then springs a surprise Best Man proposal on him with the help of the whole precinct. It's a beautiful moment of friendship, because it shows just how well these guys understand each other.