From Bill Hader playing a hot-headed captain to Neil deGrasse Tyson lifting weights, the sitcom has had some of the wildest minor characters.
From Captain Holt to the Pontiac Bandit, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has had its fair share of memorable characters. Like every sitcom, the show also includes some memorable guest stars, most of whom ended up playing minor yet influential characters. Such has been their impact on viewers that it’s a shame they couldn’t reappear in future episodes.
These characters include close relatives to the main cast, such as Amy’s father or Boyle’s ex-wife. At the same time, they can be as random as the cannibal inmate Caleb or Adam Sandler appearing in a cameo as a heckler.
Caleb The Cannibal
Mean Girls alumnus Tim Meadows is one of the best guest stars on Brooklyn Nine-Nine with his “friendly cannibal” character. During Jake’s temporary stint at prison, he befriends Caleb who seems to be a very kind-hearted man on the surface. However, the casual way in which he suggests his cannibalistic ideas evokes the gruesome nature of his crimes.
The contrast between his crimes and personality makes him a darkly hilarious character, as can be summed up from the times when Jake gets weirded out by his over-friendly nature. A cherry on the top in the characterization of Caleb is introducing him with a Hannibal mask that Anthony Hopkins famously wore in The Silence of the Lambs.
Even though Victor has his reservations about Jake, he eventually takes a liking for him. Given how much audiences have seen Bradley Whitford as Jake’s dad, it would have been great if both dads could appear together in more episodes.
Apart from the Firefly saga, Nathan Fillion’s most famous role might be that of Castle, the crime-fiction writer who himself becomes some sort of amateur detective. His character on Nine-Nine gets slightly meta as here too, he plays a fictional detective. More specifically, he plays a popular daytime TV star who appears in a police procedural show.
There’s a certain plot twist towards the end that reveals his true intentions. But because of Fillion’s on-screen presence and the self-aware humor that his character carries, he could have been a good fit for a recurring character.
Sterling K. Brown is known for his dramatic depth with roles in shows like This Is Us and American Crime Story. Here too, he plays a pretty serious character called Philip Davidson who plays mind games with Jake and Holt. The duo is assigned to interrogate his character for one night only. And it proves to be quite a challenge as the dentist/murder suspect appears cool on the surface.
While he breaks towards the end, Brown’s character proves to be a worthy and quite intimidating foe to the team. His return on the show could have added a certain freshness, away from the usually goofy villains from Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson
When it comes to actual scientists who appear on sitcoms, noted physicist and TV personality Neil deGrasse Tyson is no stranger to the most random of cameos. So, it is no surprise that he appears in the very episode in which Gina prepares for an astronomy exam. As he’s gym buddies with Terry, the latter gets Tyson to visit the precinct. However, Gina is unamused and doesn’t even know who he is. Tyson’s reactions make for some good deadpan humor.
Apart from a minor flashback in the gym, viewers still don’t get to see much of Terry’s friendship with the astrophysicist. The feel-good nature of both friends would have added to some heartwarming scenes.
Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson is easily one of the best characters in Parks & Recreation and modern television in general. Seeing him in another iconic sitcom like Brooklyn Nine-Nine is definitely a delightful surprise. Playing Captain Holt’s ex-romantic partner, Offerman emulates the same deadpan charm that made him popular as Swanson.
Despite his tough persona, Swanson can also be very petty and naïve at times. Similarly, even Frederick is petty enough to break up with Holt over the fact that Holt threw away his wooden duck. Finding him returning to the precinct over another foolish grudge would have been a treat for Parks & Rec and Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans alike.
Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler have collaborated earlier for movies like Hotel Transylvania and That’s My Boy. However, some might have forgotten that they shared screen space in an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In Season 1, Jake goes undercover in an auction where Adam Sandler (playing himself) is also one of the attendees.
As Jake serves as the auction’s host, Sandler heckles him insulting his hosting skills. It is fun to see him badmouth Jake with his trademark over-the-top insults and raspy voice. The short yet memorable cameo is definitely bound to excite fans of Adam Sandler’s best movies.
The US Marshall overseeing Holt and Jake’s witness protection in Florida engages in undercover meetings with the duo. These encounters are intended to be serious but turn out to be quite funny. For instance, there is a scene where the Detective and the Captain make up their aliases. Karen goes on to quiz them about these aliases’ backstories in with absurd details.
Played by comedienne and SNL alumna Maya Rudolph plays Karen for two episodes. Given how many times the show’s characters have gone undercover in the future seasons, there was potential for Karen to return but she was limited to being just a guest character.
Playing the cocky Agent Kendrick, a homeland security officer who engages in a terrorist rescue activity with the Nine-Nine team. The way the character engages in aggressive banter with Jake is works as a hilarious nod to other Nick Kroll movies and shows in which he plays similarly annoying or insecure characters (the biggest example is Nick from Big Mouth).
Kendrick’s competitive attitude contrasts well with Peralta’s harmless nature. While he is not as scheming as the “Vulture”, Kendrick isn’t too pure either. This drives even Peralta to be more competitive in the drill exercise.
Captain Seth Dozerman
Bill Hader has some serious anger issues when he plays Seth Dozerman, a new captain who replaces Holt for a brief period. A stickler for rules with a heart condition, Dozerman keeps on yelling at members of the precinct for their unprofessionalism. His outbursts eventually reach to the point where he just gets a heart attack and passes away.
The hilarious cameo meant that Hader would never return in any other season. But his short-lived presence on the show still happens to be quite memorable for dedicated fans.