Andre Braugher, known for his unforgettable performances in shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Homicide: Life on the Street, passed away at the age of 61 on December 11th, 2023.
Braugher’s portrayal of the stoic yet deeply humane Captain Raymond Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine garnered widespread acclaim and fanfare. The man loved his corgis and hated metaphors but caved into the charms of the eccentric Nine-Nine. Eventually, as Andy Samberg’s Detective Jake Peralta managed to melt through his stoic exterior, Holt even came up with his alter ego, ‘Velvet Thunder,’ a jazz saxophonist persona.
As the de facto father figure in Jake Peralta’s (Andy Samberg) chaotic world, Captain Holt effortlessly assumed the precinct’s favourite mentor role. The self-professed teacher’s pet, Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), went looking for a guide and found a philosopher in disguise.
Holt would have done anything to protect his eclectic squad. In Holt, the audience finds an authority figure who won’t let them down. He became a beacon of reliability for thousands. Plus, he made us laugh silly!
As we celebrate Braugher’s remarkable career, let’s take a look at the five best moments that showcase Braugher’s brilliance in bringing Captain Holt to life.
Five best Captain Holt moments from ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’
Captain Holt calls out society’s heteronormative, child-centric ideals
In season five, episode one, Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) is undercover in prison. She asks Terry (Terry Crews) and Holt to ride her bike once in a while because she doesn’t want it to sit idle.
Terry tells Holt to do it as he believes motorcycles are death machines, and since he has three kids, he doesn’t want to take any risks. This is when Holt drops a massive truthbomb and unabashedly plays “the gay card”, as Terry puts it. This is one of the smoothest mic drop moments in sitcom history.
Captain Holt needs to “bone”
In the eighth episode of the fourth season, Holt argues with his husband Kevin (Marc Evan Jackson) over the classic brain teaser, the Monty Hall problem. But realising the tiff is more about intimacy and less about being right, Rosa simply suggests Holt and Kevin need to have sex, aka “bone.”
This leads to a full-blown meltdown for almost an hour. Of course, he takes Rosa’s advice, and things are sorted the following day.
Captain Holt correctly guesses why Amy is late for the first time
Amy’s unusual tardiness in a cold opening scene that Brooklyn Nine-Nine often did so well sparks speculation among the squad. Upon her arrival, she reveals a banking mishap, vindicating Holt’s earlier assumption that she was late for a bank-related issue.
In an unusual display of delight at this point in the show, Holt joyfully exclaims, “Hot damn!” that allegedly made the whole cast laugh so hard that they had to cut away from the scene quickly.
Captain Holt’s straight alter ego is a dirtbag
Captain Holt never shied away from being out and proud. But whenever he went undercover as a straight man, he really brought out the inner dirtbag who was all about macho exuberance—from loving big-breasted women to having mistresses he agonised over.
Heterosexuality was always funny for Holt to play, be it when he lived as Greg in Florida under witness protection in season four or when he became Joe Wozniak in season five.
Captain Holt encourages Rosa to embrace her bi-identity
Holt was not just a mentor and father figure to Amy and Jake. He showed up for all of his squad in crucial moments. One of the most pivotal story arcs in Brooklyn Nine-Nine deals with Rosa coming to terms with her bisexuality and opening up to her parents about it. In a touching moment, when the otherwise terrifying Rosa is obviously afraid, Holt shows up to support and encourage her to live freely as who she is.
He tells her, “Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.”
Captain Holt’s sick burns for Wuntch
Like most heroes, Captain Holt also had a nemesis. He found his in Captain Madeline Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick), who has actively tried to sabotage his career, and there is an oddly intense sexual tension between the two like any electric hero-villain duo should have.
Their arc, however, poignantly ends when Wuntch dies, and Holt realises that he would actually miss this part of his life. Holt and Wuntch were, after all, “star-crossed haters”, and that does not come by so easily in life and is what makes it so interesting.