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The Best Brooklyn Nine-Nine Holiday Episodes, Ranked

While better known for their Halloween Heist episodes and incredible cold opens, Brooklyn Nine-Nine also has a great selection of holiday-themed episodes. The dynamic between the squad's radically different characters is what makes the Nine-Nine perfect for holiday special comedy. Despite their differences, the Nine-Nine is still a team that deeply cares for one another, and each of their holiday episodes have either highlighted that or helped a team member realize just how much the squad needs one each other. There are also winter and holiday-themed laughs to these episodes, ranging from gift-giving gone wrong to Jake as an unhinged undercover Santa Claus.

Although there have not been holiday episodes after the show moved to NBC, there are still plenty of holiday episodes to choose from, starting from the show's first season. We also can only hope for more holiday episodes once the show comes back in 2021.

What separates the good from the great holiday episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, however, are impeccable joke frequency and how well the various character's plots come together. Memorable holiday-themed cold opens were also taken into consideration for this list. Here is our definitive list of the best Brooklyn Nine-Nine holiday episodes, ranked. Nine-Nine!

Jake helps Rosa come out in Game Night

Season five didn't have a full dedicated holiday episode, but "Game Night" still makes the list thanks to its holiday-themed cold open. As the squad gathers in the break room to draw names for Secret Santa, Jake (Andy Samberg) requests for Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) to give him a gift card to a restaurant that serves nachos. When the rest of the squad asks how he could possibly know who drew his name, Jake correctly breaks down his deductions for everyone else.

The scene delves into each character's signature traits, such as Jake guessing Amy (Melissa Fumero) had Captain Holt based on how her expression was one Jake had only seen inside their bedroom, and Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) refusing to participate in the present exchange. After Jake's speech however, Holt suggests that the team redraw names and leave Jake out before the scene cuts to the show's opening.

Although "Game Night" is at the bottom of our list for its lack of a holiday theme, it's still an entertaining and meaningful episode. After Rosa comes out as bisexual to the squad, she enlists Jake's help to come out to her parents. While her father eventually comes around and accepts Rosa for who she is, he tells Rosa that her mother still needs time. To make Rosa feel better, Jake brings the squad to her apartment for game night with her chosen family.

Charles is a heroic father in Captain Latvia

After Detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) adopted his son, Nikolaj, from Latvia at the end of season three, Nikolaj's heritage became the source of several running gags (and many lines of poorly spoken Latvian). In this holiday-themed episode, Charles attempts to get a hold of a "Captain Latvia" superhero figurine as Nikolaj's Christmas present. In their search, Charles and Jake quickly become entangled with the Latvian mob, which puts Jake into the side-kick realm for once.

Charles' mama bear persona shines in the A-plot of this episode, and Charles' motivation for the extraordinary lengths he's willing to go for the toy are equally compelling: his relationship with Nikolaj is still delicate and new, and he doesn't want to lose his son's trust. However, this episode struggles in the B-plot, where Captain Holt tries to get the squad to sing holiday carols in the name of crushing the MTA's carolers. The squad's reasons for hating the MTA aren't as clear cut as other rivalries (i.e., the fire department), and their scheme to recruit a singer from lock-up is a little too far-fetched to be believable from the squad's more level-headed characters.

Still, it's a great holiday episode with an even greater cold open. "Captain Latvia" is worth watching just to witness Terry (Terry Crews) leap through glass to escape a "Jumbo size" inflatable tree.

Jake and Doug Judy reunite in The Pontiac Bandit Returns

Any episode with Craig Robinson as Doug Judy is automatically a win, and "The Pontiac Bandit Returns" is no exception. The cold open sets the tone for the episode, with Jake in a Santa costume yelling to a group of children, "This is what happens when you're naughty!" while holding Judy at gunpoint.

While Rosa and Jake are forced to work with Judy to track down a Giggle Pig drug lord, Jake and Doug Judy quickly fall back into their singing and '90s pop referencing ways. Judy tries to get Jake to trust him again over Lobsters Thermidor and cushy hotel robes, and he teaches Jake how to steal a car in order to gain the drug ring's trust, which he of course does with metaphors for dancing and French kissing.

"The Pontiac Bandit Returns" also has a strong B and C plot. Amy attempts to find a loophole in Captain Holt's no-gift policy, but accidentally finds a mistake in his police work in the process. Meanwhile, Charles and Gina (Chelsea Peretti) frantically try to stop their parents' blossoming relationship.

The episode ends with Judy predictably burning the Nine-Nine, and Jake reciting a Doug Judy-influenced reading of the Miranda rights. As for Gina and Charles' parents, they reveal at their holiday gathering that they're moving in together, much to Gina's dismay. Amy's present ultimately pays off, as Holt respects her more for pointing out his error.

The team comes together in the Nine-Nine's first Christmas episode

Brooklyn Nine-Nine's first Christmas episode is one of its best. When Captain Holt receives a death threat, he assigns Jake to protect him. Meanwhile, Amy attempts to get everyone to take a group holiday photo, Charles prepares to go on a singles holiday cruise, and Terry has his psychological evaluation to return to the field.

"Christmas" is a great episode because it's holiday lesson results in massive character development for Captain Holt and the squad, but it's also one of the first times audiences saw the Nine-Nine work together to handle a larger threat.

While Jake and Holt are able to figure out who is sending the death threats, several other larger plotlines are also resolved in this episode, which acted as a mid-season finale for the show's first season. Charles has a heroic moment after 10 episodes of pining after Rosa, and Terry finally is able to overcome the fear of field work that debilitated him after his kids were born in order to protect his team.

Part of what makes "Christmas" so special is that we see Holt finally start to trust his detectives after decades of discrimination within the force. While Holt may still see himself as a lone wolf and an outsider, the team's takedown of the villain proves that they work best when they trust and watch out for one another.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine pays tribute to Die Hard in Yippie Kayak

It's only fitting that our favorite Brooklyn Nine-Nine holiday episode matches with Jake Peralta's favorite Christmas movie (and favorite film overall) — Die Hard. Jake had been hyping up his love for the classic Bruce Willis film for so long that it was only a matter of time that Jake would find himself in his own Nakatomi Plaza. Thankfully, "Yippie Kayak" is everything we wanted it to be and more, down to the hilarious butchering of John McClane's catchphrase.

When Jake forgets to buy a Christmas present for Charles, he enlists Gina's help to find a last minute gift. Charles also tags along for a late night stop at a department store, thinking Jake actually forgot Amy's gift. While the trio finish their shopping, they find themselves trapped in a hostage situation as a gang of Canadians attempt to rob the store.

It's an altogether perfect episode that not only highlights the deep friendships between Jake, Boyle, and Gina, but also how the rest of the squad is willing to pull up to protect one another. Once Amy finds out Jake is in danger, she runs into the freezing ocean to tell Holt and Rosa; Terry takes on the Vulture in order to stop law enforcement from storming the building and putting the team in danger. There's also plenty of jokes to go around, from Gina's newfound obsession with DIY flamethrowers to Amy's intense hatred of the cold.