That Fox's Brooklyn 99, now in its fifth season, remains fresh is a testament to the excellent cast led by Andy Sandberg, who turned 39 this year but seems perpetually 25 years old on camera. It's mostly, however, a tribute to the writers, who have created a show that manages to spoof Law and Order while often revealing more truth about the nature of police work than the long-running "serious" show manages.
In one episode, for example, a black detective (a muscle-bound softie played by Terry Crews) is stopped and frisked by two white cops while off-duty and doing nothing more suspicious than walking from his front door to his minivan. And two older detectives in the precinct's bullpen aren't hard-boiled and street-wise—rather, they uselessly bumble through desk work, counting the days until they can retire and collect their pensions.
The detectives on Brooklyn 99 do (generally) catch the bad guys. But they are flawed and human, often more consumed with their personal issues than with the case of the week. As usual, good comedy smuggles in a lot of truth.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brooklyn 99".