Actor Andre Braugher who played the iconic role of Captain Holt in the much-loved comical series Brooklyn Nine-Nine passed away at the age of 61 after a brief illness.
I want to stand on my work desk and say, “O Captain. My Captain” as I have to unwillingly and unfortunately bid farewell to Captain Raymond Holt. The news jolted me, the loss feels personal. After all, Captain Holt has been one of BNN's most impressive and impactful characters. I am aware that Brooklyn Nine-Nine itself has been deemed problematic. Protests against police brutality have been commonplace in the USA. However, since George Floyd’s murder, and in support of Black Lives Matter, the calls to defund the police have increased, and rightly so. Since Brooklyn Nine-Nine revolves specifically around cops, the show's creators hinted towards ending the show for the same reason. However, this article does not look at Captain Holt as a police officer but as a loving yet sassy parent. He was a proud dad not only to Cheddar and Jake but also to a lot of people. God knows that the teacher’s pet in me saw myself as Amy to Holt.
As a teacher’s pet who is forever curious about learning, I am always looking for a mentor. And every time, I watched Holt and Amy together, I wished Holt was my mentor too. He made you earn his mentorship but it would be worth it. And Amy was not the only Holt mentee. Jake always wanted a father in Holt, but he also found a mentor in him. Right from episode 1, Holt disciplined Jake, but he also knew when to join in the fun. The same Holt who made sure that Jake wore a tie every day, also bonded with Jake over silly alias names and called himself 'Velvet Thunder'.
Holt was a family member to everyone in the Nine-Nine squad, the backbone of the family. He was a perfect and empathetic senior to Terry, a sassy friend to Gina, a patient boss to Hitchcock, Scully, and Charles, and an ally to Rosa. Being the first openly gay police officer in the New York Police Department was not a cakewalk. However, he still supported Rosa when she came out as bisexual to her parents. His words, “Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place. So thank you,” ring very true.
this scene where holt encourages rosa after she comes out is still so important to me... two queer characters affirming their right to safety and love in a world that demands conformity. thank you andre braugher <3 pic.twitter.com/Z26rfJ8TW8— nell (@lesIiebens) December 13, 2023
Moreover, he was not your average parent. He was passionately serious about his job, values, and grammatical errors. But he could also say “Bone!” and “Yass, queen” very dramatically. His ability to switch from a robot captain to a drama queen seamlessly could make anyone envious. He was the epitome of maturity but he also acted petty without refrain. He knew when to follow and when to break the rules. He was one very cool parent who knew when to and when not to take himself seriously. Plus his arguments with Wuntch will never not be iconic!
While most fictional characters bank on being relatable, sitcom characters hit closer. They are funnier and more relatable, and they stay longer with us. We get to know their smallest quirks and their greatest achievements. We accept them with their charm as well as flaws. We use their jargon, we copy their quirks, and they somehow become a part of our personalities. Sometimes, they describe us better than we ever could! You can point at them and say, “This! This is something I struggle to describe but it’s exactly how I think I am.” And to have this feels quite secure and validating. And this is why today, I’ll grieve the demise of Captain Holt, the mentor, the parent that I longed for.
I still have that safe space. One good thing about cinema is that you can always go back to it. However, I don’t think I have the courage to. Holt will always be witty, but looking at him will make me cry. I will go back to binge-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but only once the tide of sadness ebbs. Until then, I am sticking to my pessimism and feeling exactly what Holt once said, “Paaaaaaiiiiinnnnnn.”
Rest in peace Captain Holt, you will be missed.
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