It has been a rollercoaster year for all 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine" fans. From Fox abruptly canceling the show after five very successful seasons, to NBC picking it up the very next day after massive fan outrage over the devastating news - things were dramatic, to say the least. But the biggest drama was induced when the show's most dramatic character - Gina Linetti - announced she was leaving the show as the face behind her, comedian Chelsea Peretti, had announced her exit from B99 publicly. That led to another session of mourning because, over the years, Gina had grown to be one of the most fan-favorite characters, which only makes one wonder - how would a series show the self-proclaimed 'human form of the 100 emoji' out?
For starters, Gina is already iconic because she is the only civilian amidst the band of detectives. But that doesn't invalidate her significance in the slightest, because of how beautifully the whole show is crafted and presented. Gina was the snarky, sassy, pretty much savage beacon of reasoning to most of the other characters, even though her wisdom didn't quite come out as the most practical thing ever. She's almost a stereotypical weirdo masquerading as the Queen Bee with copious levels of confidence and impeccable style. And of course, dance skills - or so the character herself would like to believe.
In the last five seasons, we have seen Gina act as the assistant to the 99th precinct Captain, Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher), hit on Sargeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) despite his marital status, bully detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) and even engage in not-so-brag-worthy sexcapades with detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio). To a novice, all of this might make Gina appear as a negative character, and have them questioning what's the big deal about Gina Linetti? Here's why: Gina is mean without being offensive - something not a lot of shows in today's climate can successfully portray. The only two people Gina is constantly not messing with are detectives Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), and Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz). And granted, that's because Gina grew up with Jake, and there's an unmissable latest tension between her and Rosa, but the fact remains that Gina is an icon that fans aspire to be like.
Peretti herself beautifully explained her on-screen persona in her official farewell announcement on social media, writing: “I want to thank you for the hours you spent watching Gina be Gina: confident, idiotic-but-smart, pithy, and infused with rhythm and cell-phone radiation. It is hard for me to know exactly what to say.” But it is fans who are finding it harder to frame words that would justify the feeling of loss they are already dealing with even before the show has aired Gina's goodbye episode.
Anticipation has peaked about how it will all play out, especially ever since a press event where Peretti announced that the good news is, there's no death of the character involved. A smidge of a silver lining? The farewell will be played out in a two-episode exit arc. “It sounds cliché but I feel like you will laugh and cry, which I think is the ideal combination of an exit for Gina Linetti,” she said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “She’s very physical. There’s a lot of very silly things that she gets to do in these episodes. But then there’s also some really emotional, connecting scenes with her family and her friends.”
Are these scenes going to demand more than just a box or tissues? Or would Gina's exit be grand enough like the big bang? It has to be the latter because that would be the only justified exit for a character as dramatic as Gina Linetti. And while she has been heard on the show saying "Gina Linetti is more of a frame of mind," Peretti wants to assure fans that nothing about the grand exit is going to be subtle.
She said: “I just always want big comedy moments. I just love physical things. Sometimes Gina is a little dry, and I like when she gets to physically do stuff and the stakes are high for her. That was kind of my request and I got to do that, so that was cool. And then there’s some dancing, which felt appropriate — kind of bring it all together in the end. She’s a brilliant dancer. But also, I always feel like it’s important to show the friendships and the love as well, so she gets to explore her deeper feelings with people, so it’s not just all like, 'Bye!!!!'"
The fact that Gina isn't dying leaves ample scope for a cameo in the future of the series. While Peretti was still very much a part of the show in its fifth season, her character went through a pregnancy and decided to extend her maternity leave into retirement from the precinct. Of course, she came back - neither the other characters nor the fans would have allowed Gina Linetti to leave that easily - but this time the announcement is official, so fans are far more eager to know just how final will this exit be.
Showrunner Dan Goor took this opportunity to tease about the exit a little, assuring that "Gina departs in a very Gina Linetti-esque way," further adding that it will be “funny but also… emotional." Erasing fans' worst fears, he shared that "[Chelsea] is really one of the funniest people in the world and a great actress and I think all of that comes out in her exit.” And Goor isn't the only one, as by now, other cast members have also assured just how 'epic' Gina's exit is going to be.
“It’s f–king epic,” Fumero - who plays Amy - would like fans to be convinced. “It’s such a great Gina episode.. Her grand finale is with Amy and Rosa, as it should be. She has stuff with everybody, but they paired her with us [at the end] and we had so much fun shooting that last week. It was bittersweet and sad and we definitely cried, [but they were] happy tears.” And Beatriz herself reshares Goor's sentiment adding “this is not the last we’ll see of Gina." Beatriz clearly resonates with fans' sentiments as she also said, “Gina still exists in our world. You might not see her every day, but she’s still part of our landscape. She’s part of the fabric of Brooklyn 99 and she always will be.”
So what could the potential exit plot be? So far, there are only two principal elements in Gina's life and that everything about her seems to revolve around: her newborn baby girl, Enigma, and of course, her biggest passion - dance. The low hanging fruit here is Gina putting her career at the precinct to a rest to take care and raise her baby. But knowing Brooklyn Nine-Nine and their progressive portrayal of each character, they won't show such sacrifices which are so susceptible to be deemed regressive. Considering how much ass Gina Linetti has kicked so far, she is fully capable of handling both a job and motherhood. We wouldn't be surprised if one day she reveals her secret talent to be juggling.
Still, it's also quite possible that after years of self-obsession and hilarious narcissism, Gina finally has someone in her life she cannot put behind herself - which would be an equally interesting plot to witness unfold as that has major scope for the portrayal of both character development and wholesome intent. Imagine her finally giving in to the 'basic' life that she is so vocally repelled by and is actually settling down with the father of her child, together as a family - too many feels!
But you know what would be even more awesome? Her leaving the job at the precinct to pursue a career in dance. True, establishing a career in the arts is not an easy feat, but again - is there anything at all that Gina can't do? Let's not forget that she's also an ideal candidate to run for the office, as she herself states she "would make the perfect American president, based upon (her) skill set, dance ability, and bloodlust." Could that mean Linetti 2020?
Well, all we can do is wait - with heavy tears and heavy hearts - as we brace ourselves to bid adieu to one of the most iconic characters in television history, as we cling on to the hope that there will be more of Gina to witness on the screen, at a frequency that would suit our cravings and won't make us feel too deprived of the legendary queen!