World, meet Mac—McClane "Mac" Santiago-Peralta.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine just ended its seventh season with the birth of Jake and Amy's baby, who is obviously named after John McClane, from Die Hard (and not Shirley MacLaine, sorry Charles), and who was obviously born in the Nine-Nine precinct and not in a much cleaner, much less Hitchcock and Scully'd hospital. Mac was also, of course, born amidst chaos, because the power had gone out in New York City and the squad had a lot to do. Jake and Charles were all over the city dealing with typical blackout crimes and drunk bachelorette party attendees, while Amy was in charge of the precinct, since Holt and Terry were stuck in the elevator.
Amy pretty quickly went into labor, and yet she continued her work right up until she couldn't possibly continue her work anymore because a baby was literally coming out of her, with Rosa by her side as a very reluctant sort of labor coach.
With some surprising help from Hitchock and Scully, who set up a pretty nice birthing suite in their napping room, and from Holt and Terry, who performed the dance to "Push It" that they learned while trapped in the elevator, Amy made it through labor, and Jake escaped on horseback (welcome back, Lieutenant Peanut Butter) from the bachelorette party pedaler and the crazed elderly woman to be there just in time to see Mac's birth.
It might have been the show's best finale ever, while also pulling off one of the most inspiring (and least annoying) pregnancy storylines on TV, especially in the comedy world. And if it weren't for Melissa Fumero knowing her character as well as she knows her own self (and for being pregnant in real life), we might not have even gotten a Peraltiago baby at all, as showrunner Dan Goor explained to E! News.
How It Almost Didn't Happen
"We had been thinking about it for a while because, you know, there are natural stepping stones in a relationship—not that our relationships have to go in that direction, but after marriage, having children is one direction it could go. And I really was firmly of the belief that it's a workplace show, and their relationship exists in the workplace, and I wasn't keen on them having kids," Goor tells us. "I just felt like that wasn't necessary."
Then, in between seasons six and seven, Goor had a conversation with Fumero, even before Fumero herself was pregnant.
"I said, I can't think of a compelling reason, and she had one," he says. "Her reason was 'I feel like Amy—this is Melissa speaking—is a person who wants to get an A on every test, and getting pregnant is a test you can't study for, so if she has difficulty getting pregnant, it could drive comedy and be really compelling.'"
Fumero, of course, was right.
"Immediately, I was like, oh yeah. She knows that character so well, and that is so true. And so we decided, at that point, before the season started and before I knew she was pregnant, to make her and Jake decide to try and have a kid," Goor says. "And obviously there were several different directions we could then go in."
The first, which was quickly eliminated, was that they had no trouble at all getting pregnant, and another option was that Amy would be pregnant at the end of the season. They ended up going with the option where Jake and Amy had a lot of trouble but it eventually worked, partly due to Fumero's real-life pregnancy.
"We broke that episode "Trying"—which is one of my favorite episodes that we've ever done, and it felt like we could have the best of both worlds if, after that, we did have her get pregnant," he says. "And probably a little bit, it was a thing where we could start to see that the actress was pregnant, and in a storyline where we weren't trying to say they couldn't get pregnant, but that could become disconcerting in one where we were really focused on it."
However, if they needed to, Goor would have happily found a new way to hide Fumero's pregnancy.
"One of the things I'm most proud of that we've ever done as a show was how we hid her pregnancy the first time when she was pregnant, when she went undercover as a pregnant lady," he says. "So I never felt like we had to [incorporate the pregnancy]. The main consideration was the kind of story we wanted to tell."
"Trying" was an unusual episode in a lot of ways. It took place over six months and chronicled Jake and Amy's attempts to have a baby, while other shenanigans went on around them. Holt struggled as a uniformed officer while guinea pigs were breeding in the break room, and Hitchcock fell in love, got married, and got divorced.
"We wanted to make sure that we really paid tribute to the idea that they had trouble, and couples have trouble, and that that can cause tension between them, but they weathered that tension."
Originally that episode was supposed to end with a joke instead of a meaningful look between Jake and Amy, but that was soon changed.
"Andy [Samberg], to his credit, who gives notes on every episode, said 'I really think we should cut that joke. I think we should end it on that look,' and that's what we did, and I think that's the most powerful part of the episode."
Guinea Pigs and Holt's Demotion
The guinea pigs were a way to play with the passage of time and the idea of trying to get pregnant.
"It seemed especially appropriate given that Amy couldn't get pregnant and they couldn't stop getting pregnant. That felt comedically book-ended."
The writers also didn't want to have to spend too much more time with Holt demoted, while still making Holt spend a suitable amount of time in his new role.
"We feel like every year we have a cliffhanger and we always resolve it within two or three episodes, and we wanted to actually make the consequences of the cliffhanger from last season last longer and be harder to overcome...so this was really an effective way of accelerating him through the whole year of being demoted."
Amy discovered she was finally pregnant at the end of the next episode and tells Jake, which immediately cuts to Charles awake in bed, knowing. But by the time Jake and Amy told the rest of the squad, they had all figured it out and nobody cared anymore.
"We spend so much time on them trying that them succeeding...it's hard to make a big deal out of them succeeding because the audience already knows what went into it," Goor says. "And I think that the moment that she tells him that she's pregnant is a really sweet and tender moment, it's kind of the moment for the audience as well. And maybe it felt like if we try to have that moment and then also have them tell everybody, it would be milking it."
The pregnancy mostly did not factor into the rest of the season. There was a whole episode about a party to reveal the baby's sex (and not its gender, notably), but that was more about Jake and his dad and grandfather and his extensive daddy issues. Last week, Amy tried to win a stroller, but that was about it. Then we arrive at the finale.
Amy, The Badass
Amy spent the majority of the episode both in labor and in charge, and yet she kept her cool, focusing entirely on her job and leaving Rosa to read pregnancy books and be the one freaking out. This sort of superhuman feat was inspired by Fumero herself once again.
"When Melissa actually gave birth the first time, she was shooting the week before she had the baby. We shot the finale of season three a week before, and there was something that was so badass about it, and it felt like I wanted to see Amy doing the exact same thing. And also, these are people whose job means that there are times where they just have to make sacrifices like this. Like they can't do the birth plan that they always wanted to do. And just as an Amy fan, I always like how badass she is. I love that this felt a little bit like part two of the takedown in the wedding dress in season five. Plus it just seemed funny."
And as for the baby's name?
"In a true act of love, Amy was on board," Goor says of the name Jake clearly chose. "I was pretty certain that was the right name right away, though Gruber Peralta would also have been interesting."
What Comes Next
So what's next for the Peralta-Santiago family? That's TBD right now. The show has already been renewed for season eight, and the writers met earlier this week for the first time. Goor could only really say what interested him most about Jake and Amy as parents.
"One is that Amy and Jake both love their jobs. They truly both love their jobs and Amy's career is very important, and they both want to be great parents, so that's obviously going to cause tension and conflict between them and the rest of the world," Goor says. "And the other thing that feels interesting is being a parent is also, to some extent, a test you can't study for. You can read all the parenting books you want, but sometimes you just can't shush a kid when they're crying, and it can be very frustrating."
But in the end, not much will change.
"I think in general we'll be telling the same kinds of stories. It will mostly be at the 99, and we will not ignore that they have a kid, but I think the bulk of the kid stuff will be about how it impacts them at work and with each other, but it's a source of stories for sure."
We've got no doubt those stories will be extremely toit, just like that finale.
Stay tuned for more from Dan Goor on the future of the show tomorrow!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs on NBC.
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