When Brooklyn Nine-Nine returned from hiatus, the precinct was in danger. This isn't the first time that the gang has been shaken up by a new boss or a changed work environment, but they were almost shut down completely. What struck me most about that turn of events is that the person most affected by a potential shutdown was Rosa, though she cultivates a tough and stoic reputation. In an interview with Bustle, actor Stephanie Beatriz discusses how Rosa loves the Nine-Nine most of all, and might be just as surprised by that as the audience.
"I just love that Rosa pretty much thinks that she's got herself figured out," Beatriz says, "and in a way, she does — but I also love that she's continually surprised by herself and her relationships with her coworkers."
One of my favorite things about Rosa Diaz as a character is how she guarded she is, because it makes every vulnerable moment and personal reveal a treat. Beatriz also says she loves a flashback, for a similar reason. Any glimpse into Rosa's past is always surprising and hilarious — and often an excellent takedown of gender expectations. Viewers know that Rosa was a gymnast and a ballerina — what other unexpected experiences are in her past?
That said, at the end of the day Brooklyn Nine-Nine is about a family, not an individual.
"Out of anybody," Beatriz says, "I think it's hard for her to make any kind of personal connection to people, you know? Especially at work." It seems fitting that the person who shuts people out the most might be the worst off without that family.
"I think she is surprised by how much she feels for [her co-workers]," she says. "She feels really protective and loving toward all of them and would absolutely take a bullet for any one of them."
Rosa has had great moments and individual relationships with all of the characters on the series, with the possible exception of Scully and Hitchcock — who Rosa doesn't really consider human, according to Beatriz. Fair. Of the rest of those relationships, one will be more fully explored before the season is out.
"There's a really great storyline that we'll see as we head into the end of the season with Jake and Rosa," teases Beatriz. "What's been really fun about that is seeing the further development of their relationship as friends. Rosa and Jake have a really strong male/female friendship and I find that is something that's lacking on television shows."
Often, relationships between men and women on television sort of exist to become a romance, and Beatriz says that "although that is really interesting and fun to watch I'm also interested in relationships between men and women that can just be sort of platonic, wonderful, healthy friendship. As healthy as Jake and Rosa can be in their own weird way."
I like a workplace 'ship as much as anyone else, but it's good to have variety. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is really good at showing variety in the ways that people are in each other's lives. Platonic friendships are also a good way to reveal character without defining anybody by their relationship to any one person in particular. Rosa may protect her feelings, but she also might be the heart of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It just took the precinct being threatened to reveal that.