The passing of actor Andre Braugher, aged 61, leaves a void after eight seasons of contributing some of the most memorable moments to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Braugher’s portrayal of Captain Raymond Holt, the show’s central police chief, was a cornerstone of its success.
Braugher’s skillful depiction of Holt showcased the character’s multifaceted personality, making him one of television’s most fully-formed and well-rounded figures. While infusing heart and humour, Braugher’s deadpan delivery and tough exterior endeared Captain Holt to the show’s dedicated fan base.
Amon Warmann, contributing editor at Empire magazine, emphasised Captain Holt as the show’s highlight, praising Braugher’s ability to deliver gravitas in serious moments. Braugher’s talent lay in maintaining a straight face while delivering sharp lines, creating a balance of humour and depth.
One standout moment from season four, where Holt constructs a balloon arch for a colleague’s wedding, reflects Braugher’s comedic timing. The scene, shared widely on social media after Braugher’s passing, exemplifies Holt’s rare expressions of relief and delight.
Beyond comedy, Braugher brought seriousness and authority to the character, notably in pivotal scenes such as Captain Holt’s suspension of Jake Peralta. Warmann acknowledges Braugher’s Shakespearean background, emphasising his ability to seamlessly transition between comedy and profound moments.
Holt’s character, encompassing race and sexuality, stood out for its nuanced representation. Braugher skillfully avoided stereotypes, making Holt’s identity just one facet of his character. The groundbreaking portrayal resonated across diverse audiences, showcasing Braugher’s commitment to authentic and balanced representation.
While Holt occasionally leaned into gay stereotypes for humour, these instances were handled with self-awareness and sass, showcasing Braugher’s ability to infuse humour when necessary. Warmann highlights that Holt’s character, played as a person first with real ambitions and desires, contributed to its universal appeal.
Andre Braugher’s legacy extends beyond his role as a comedic actor, leaving an indelible mark on television through Captain Raymond Holt—a character that broke barriers and set a standard for authentic and inclusive representation.