Step aside, Jake Peralta! These nine single-episode guest stars are about to steal the show.
In an upcoming Hulu limited series, Jason Mantzoukas guest stars as the voice actor for one of Tommy Lee’s body parts. Of course, this begs the question: is this the strangest role Mantzoukas has ever played? The answer is, shockingly, no. Adrian Pimento of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, played by Mantzoukas, remains one of the whackiest characters of all time.
While Adrian Pimento was a recurring character in the series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was jampacked with memorable characters who appeared in only one episode. Here are ten of the best single-episode characters on Brooklyn Nine-Nine based on the amount of impact they made during their finite amount of time on the show.
Seth Dozerman (Bill Hader) S3 E1 “New Captain”
Captain Seth Dozerman excels at being the worst. Within minutes of meeting the precinct, he tells Sargent Jeffries, who needs approval, that he doesn’t care who he is. He burns Jake, the class clown, with a joke and insults the teacher’s pet Amy’s intelligence. He homes in on insecurities and immediately uses them to his advantage. His full effect shines when his unrelenting dozer-pads tyrannize the precinct for the entire episode. What is remarkable about Dozerman is that he brings the whole precinct onto the same level. Rather than having different reactions and approaches to Dozerman as the cast does to most situations, everyone from Rosa to Amy feels horrified at Captain Dozerman’s approach to structure. He is the great unifier. Captian Dozerman has a high, negative impact on the show.
Duncan Traub (Moshe Kasher) S2 E 2 “Chocolate Milk”
Duncan Traub plays the hipster, chocolate-milk-shop-owner that Sarge and Peralta interview about a stabbing. Duncan stands out primarily for his stance on chocolate milk. However, even more impactful is the mirror he serves as for Terry and Jake. During the investigation, Terry and Jake are at a crossroads. Through the friendship mirror held up by Duncan and his work friend, Terry and Jake consciously take their friendship to the next level. The bromance between these two characters is not the most intense (Jake & Charles) or the funniest (Jake & Doug Judy), but it is the most steady and provides a platform for Jake to mature and grow a person time and time again. As a result, Duncan Traub has a positive impact on the show (despite the negative effect his milk has on tastebuds).
Steven (Pete Davidson) S1 E3 “The Slump”
Steven appears as the cool class clown in the precinct Junior Officer program. He mocks Amy Santiago, which is par for the course, but he also mocks Rosa Diaz. Rosa is the precinct’s resident badass, and no one makes fun of her! Steven is somehow oblivious to Rosa’s intimidation and manages to get under Rosa’s skin.
She’s affected by the teasing, much in the same way that Amy is. He forces Amy and Rosa to compromise. Everything they do is ineffective, and the legendary Gina Peretti ultimately rescues them. Still, it leads to one of the few instances in the series when two extreme opposites learn from each other. Steven’s disruption in the show begins as funny and leads to a surprising moral lesson.
Bianca (Jenny Slate) S2 E1 “Undercover”
Bianca is the mistress of an on-the-run mobster. She very charismatically plays the part of a mistress and quickly escalates her persona by pulling a gun on Jake. She quickly breaks the stereotype of a manipulated woman and takes her fate into her own hands. Bianca defends her boyfriend when it benefits her and turns her back on him once she learns he is unfaithful. Bianca stands out for being outrageous and genuinely devoted to one person only: herself. She makes choices that benefit herself only, and somehow, despite egregious character flaws, it’s refreshing.
Rob Rulubnik (Rob Riggle) S6 E6 “A Tale Of Two Bandits”
Rob Rulubnik is the firefighter that leads the FDNY side of the competition for the precinct’s favorite bar, Shaw’s. Due to an intense rivalry, neither side is willing to coexist with the other. To heighten the situation Rob Rulubnik, the most vocal of the firefighters, does something far more profound than challenging the Nine-Nine. He brings out the competitive side of Boyle. This is one of the rare instances when Charles gets tough, without Jake being in jeopardy. Obnoxious Rob Rulubnik has a high impact on the show by triggering both a tough Charles and a drunk Amy in one episode.
Brett Booth (Akiva Schaffer) S5 E20 “Show Me Going”
Within a second of being on screen, Brett Booth crashes into an obstacle in front of him, revealing that his vision is still affected by the accident Jake caused. Beyond the visual humor, Brett Booth sets Jake up to be reflective. This theme of analyzing oneself pulls through to the a-plot, which involves Rosa’s life being in danger. Jake’s desire to be the hero is strong, but he is powerless. Jake once again looks at himself and accepts no as an answer. He becomes a comforting presence rather than an action hero. It is one of the most significant leaps in emotional maturity that Jake shows in any single episode. Brett Booth forces Jake to accept things he cannot change, including responsibility for his role in a situation.
Pam (Julia Sweeney) S6 E12 “Casecation”
Pam is full of surprises. She begins as a kind but intrusive presence and quickly becomes a key agent in a bomb plot! She is the main driver behind the episode’s action and profoundly impacts Jake & Amy’s relationship.
Pam’s endearing lack of boundaries causes Jake and Amy to realize that they are not on the same page about having children. While Amy was saving for their future children, Jake was saving for a trip to a waterpark. Jake and Amy have their first fight as a married couple. It tests their commitment and also reveals insecurities within Jake. He opens up to Amy about his fear of being a bad father. They can grow as a couple thanks to Pam’s lack of boundaries.
Mean Marge (Kate Flannery) S3 E13 “Adrian Pimento”
Mean Marge is an absolute treat of a character. She oversees the janitorial services for the 99th precinct and has the entire force terrified of her! What makes Marge’s character so memorable is that the concept of a ruthless janitorial overlord is hilarious. The NYPD is so afraid of her that they would often prefer to do the cleaning than ask her for a favor. She also helps establish Brooklyn Nine-Nine as a feminist show. She is one of many guest stars and a recurring cast of ruthless, powerful women.
Kate Peralta (Nasim Pedrad) S5 E17 “DFW”
Kate Peralta is Jake’s younger sister. Having just punched a flight attendant, she occupies much of the episode with her antics, including sleeping with a golden-painted “statue” from Time Square. Jake grows tired of her behavior, and he ultimately gives up on her and tricks her into flying back to her hometown. When Kate realizes that Jake wants to get rid of her, Jake recognizes his father’s neglectful behavior in himself. He chooses to confront this passed-on characteristic and actively reverses the cycle. He accepts his sister, flaws and all. Practicing forgiveness in a familial relationship allows Jake to eventually choose forgiveness with his father and feel secure enough to become a father later in the series.
While the main cast of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine gets credit for much of the laughs and affection that the series evokes, the secondary characters often give the main characters a chance to shine and grow.