The 10 Best ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Cold Opens

They’re far from just a start — they’re an absolute art form
The 10 Best ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Cold Opens

Brooklyn Nine-Nine by no means invented the cold open. That’s been a hallmark of Michael Schur comedies (and probably other ones, too) since peacocks first evolved, but it elevated it to a height few others have reached. Those first scant minutes set the tone for the episode, and often delivered some of its best laughs. But even among the cream of the crop, some are creamier than others. (Title of your sex tape.)

‘Jake Asks Boyle to Be His Best Man,’ Season 5, Episode 5

Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) loves his unfortunate abbreviations — some of his colleagues no doubt still have his STDs in their special areas. (Like the fridge or a desk drawer. Don’t be a pervert.) In this episode, he’s finally vindicated by Jake (Andy Samberg) both asking him to be his B.M. and calling him his “B.M.” in a stunt more elaborate than most people’s marriage proposals. It’s just sweet, and we’re softies.

‘Tarantulina Jolie,’ Season 3, Episode 3

Who among us hasn’t experienced a stroke of genius that turned out to be a lot more awesome in theory? Maybe it wasn’t specifically “arachnid sidekick,” but even the weirdest spider guy has to admit that tarantulas are really scary up close and troublingly easy to lose, raising the question: Can tarantulas fly?

‘Holt’s Mysterious Injury,’ Season 1, Episode 21

There’s a lot going on in this scene — of course, Gina (Chelsea Peretti) would go straight to “fight club” — but the real beauty of it is the mind fuck. The fact is that Jake has no reason to lie to embarrass Holt (Andre Braugher). He looks up to him, accidentally calling him “Dad” just a few episodes earlier, and it’s later revealed that Holt is perfectly open about his whimsical fitness hobbies. But Holt’s suggestion that no one would believe him is enough to torture him, and that’s hilarious.

‘Jake Thinks Holt Is Pantsless,’ Season 2, Episode 12

Jake’s wacky hijinks make it easy to forget that he’s a brilliant detective — who also happens to be obsessed with his substitute daddy. You know, hijinks like his investigative methods leading to his own pantslessness.

‘Scully’s Kelly: Wife or Dog?’ Season 1, Episode 14

In the hands of lesser writers, this prompt could have easily veered into gross sexism, but Scully’s (Joel McKinnon Miller) answers really do make it hard to tell. Spoiler: She’s both.

‘The First Person to Get Gina to Look Up Wins,’ Season 2, Episode 22

There have been a lot of great Gina cold opens — she auctioned off the Suitcase of Mystery, she built a social media empire, she danced, oh, how she danced — but this one best expresses who she really is as a person: impressively skilled at things that benefit no one but herself.

‘Jake Does the Full Bullpen,’ Season 4, Episode 8

One of the best cold opens of the series is also hands-down its best needle drop. This scene doesn’t work without Jefferson Starship, but it works so well that even Holt’s totally out-of-character response is perfect.

‘Hitchcock and Scully Were Totally Rad in the ‘80s,’ Season 7, Episode 2

Admit it: You would totally watch a whole series about Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Scully being young, hot and good at their jobs and slowly becoming… well, the opposite of all that.

‘I Want It That Way,’ Season 5, Episode 17

At press time, this clip had 32 million views, which is about five times as many as any episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine ever got, and for good reason. Every one of us would pull these puppet strings (wait, shit, that was NSYNC) if given the opportunity. We would also get fired for it because it’s completely unprofessional and insensitive, which just makes it even funnier. Just kidding: No one gets fired by the NYPD.

‘The First Scene Ever,’ Season 1, Episode 1

The number-one cold open of Brooklyn Nine-Nine — that is, the first one — might be the best cold opens of any series ever. It starts out ostensibly misleading the viewer that this is gonna be your run-of-the-mill cop drama, but it’s actually weeding out the ones who don’t recognize the best speech from Donnie Brasco. That, however, is just another misdirection because it makes you think Jake Peralta is the Goofy Screw-Up to Amy Santiago’s Uptight Woman (Melissa Fumero), before revealing that he actually is a hardworking and talented investigator. All of that is conveyed in under 90 seconds. Of course, Amy really is that uptight, but no series is perfect.

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