Halloween is just around the corner, ultimate detectives/humans/geniuses! And what better way is there to celebrate than to dive headfirst into Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s signature Halloween Heist episodes? While 2020 may not be as toight as it could be, at least there’s escapism to be found in television. 

The FOX-turned-NBC sitcom initiated this time-honored tradition in its freshman outing back in 2013 with “Halloween.” It all started with a bet: Jake (Andy Samberg) boasted to his Dadptain (dad/captain) Holt (Andre Braugher) that he could easily swipe the latter’s Medal of Valor before the stroke of midnight.

From there, the Halloween Heists evolved from a simple bet to an all-out competition that involved the entire squad. Jake even proposed to Amy (Melissa Fumero) in Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s fifth Halloween Heist installment. While the last two seasons have spun away from hosting these events on Halloween proper (the show’s move to NBC downsized their normal episodic count), Brooklyn Nine-Nine has managed to keep their heists as smort and noice as can be. 

Below, I’ve ranked the Halloween Heist episodes. This is by no means a be-all and end-all ranking — just one fan’s humble opinions. Peruse at your peril. 

7. “Cinco de Mayo” (S06E16)

Still of Terry Crews in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Now, Season Six ushered in a new era of Halloween Heisting. Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s move to NBC meant a midseason premiere as opposed to a fall debut. Thus, the annual Halloween Heist was held on May 5 a.k.a. Cinco de Mayo. Terry (Terry Crews) is stressing over the looming lieutenant exam, so Jake takes it upon himself to distract the former with a heist. I dug this episode, but something felt off, hence its placement of last on my list. I think it’s a matter of technicality — the Halloween Heist is no longer an exclusively spooky event. There was something magical about the first five seasons in terms of holiday-themed episodes. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was able to hold these specials around their respective holidays. But the NBC move also meant less installments than FOX’s standard 22-episode seasons. Less time for these characters to live their calendar year in tandem with us. 

6. “Valloweaster” (S07E11)

Still of Melissa Fumero in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

“Valloweaster” marked the most recent heist episode for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I preferred this one to “Cinco de Mayo,” mostly due to the ingenuity of extending the normal heist over several holidays. I loved how essentially everyone in the squad participated. The Infinite Gobbler, a knockoff of The Infinity Gauntlet, served as the grand prize. Bill, Boyle’s (Joe Lo Truglio) doppelganger, also made a triumphant return. The whole squad was firing on all cylinders. Cheddar made an appearance. Everything is always infinitely better with a Cheddar sighting. My girl Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) won! That’s always a cause for celebration.

5. “Halloween II” (S02E04)

Still of Andy Samberg, Melissa Fumero, Terry Crews and Stephanie Beatriz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

“Halloween II” marks Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s second Halloween Heist episode. At this point, the competition is still condensed to Jake versus Holt. This time, Jake bets he can steal the captain’s watch prior to Halloween’s end. I really enjoyed the heist bits, but Gina’s (Chelsea Peretti) side story with Terry made the episode for me. We were introduced to Gina’s dance team “Floorgasm,” and we were blessed with a duo dance performance featuring Terry and Gina. All in all, this was a great second outing for the show, but my favorite heists involve the whole gang. Not to mention, we were blessed with the start of Scully’s (Joel McKinnon Miller) operatic performances on the show. 

4. “Halloween IV” (S04E05)

Still of Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero and Chelsea Peretti in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Gina does know best. “Halloween IV” finds our crew at an impasse: there’s a three-way tie between Jake, Holt and Amy. Who will be crowned “Ultimate Detective/Genius” for this go-round? Why, Gina, of course! Upon her historic win, she even changes the title to “Ultimate Human/Genius,” which feels more inclusive for us non-detectives. This episode had hijinks aplenty with epic team-ups among the squad. And roller skating! And fake teeth falling out! “Halloween IV” has it all.  Cool. Cool cool cool. No doubt, no doubt. 

3. “Halloween III” (S03E05)

Still of Chelsea Peretti as Gina Linetti, Stephanie Beatriz as Rosa Diaz, Melissa Fumero as Amy Santiago, Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta and Terry Crews as Terry Jeffords.

“Halloween III” finally involved the rest of the squad for some spooky shenanigans. Now, the title crown must be stolen from a locked suitcase in the interrogation room. The gang splits into two teams, but Amy is left out due to being Jake’s girlfriend and Holt’s mentee. However, in true Amy fashion, she surprises everyone by winning the heist while incognito. No one puts Amy in a corner! This episode boasted a boatload of fun costumes as well. 

2. “Halloween” (S01E06)

Still of Stephanie Beatriz as Rosa Diaz, Chelsea Peretti as Gina Linetti and Melissa Fumero as Amy Santiago.

The heist that started a spooky legacy. “Halloween” gets a higher rank because it’s the first. You never forget your first. Season One of Brooklyn Nine-Nine introduced us to this cast of eccentric detectives (plus Gina), and “Halloween” really put their respective personalities on blast. We learned that Boyle fully embraces the Halloween spirit. Amy initially fails to fall in line with all things spooky but, as we’ve seen in the heist episodes to follow, she quickly finds love for the occasion. This episode will always hold a special place in my heart. 

1. “HalloVeen” (S05E04)

Still of Andre Braugher as Raymond Holt, Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta and Melissa Fumero as Amy Santiago.

Here’s my number one, folks. My boo thang. “HalloVeen” encapsulates the very best of Brooklyn Nine-Nine Halloween Heist episodes. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the real reason this outing ranks so high for me — Jake proposing to Amy. We knew it would happen eventually, but the fact that the much-anticipated proposal took place amid a heist felt very on brand for the series. Jake and Amy’s progression as a couple is one of the best I’ve seen on television thus far. From starting out as bickering detectives who fancied other people to fostering crushes for one another to full-on dating, Jake and Amy’s evolution is one for the books. To me, these two are definitely the ultimate humans/geniuses. 

RELATED: Read all of our Brooklyn Nine-Nine recaps here!

How would you rank the Halloween Heist episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Sound off in the comments below!


This article was originally published 10/25/20


Melody McCune
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