Has a character ever loved Die Hard as much as Detective Jake Peralta? Short answer: no. I mean, come on. The guy wears his badge on a chain to be more like John McClane. If that isn’t next-level dedication, I don’t know what is.
It’s a fair obsession to have given the enormous success of the franchise. Personally, I’m a strong advocate for any film with plenty of action sequences, eternally quotable one-liners and a relatively ordinary person doing something extraordinary. When I finally got around to watching Die Hard one Christmas (because it is most definitely a Christmas movie), it ticked all the boxes.
So, yeah. I understand Jake’s obsession with the films. And after repeat viewings of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I’ve decided Bruce Willis needs to understand it, too. Sure, he hasn’t put his name forward for a cameo yet, but maybe that’s because he hasn’t seen the supporting evidence.
Bruce, I’ve got your back. Here is a comprehensive list of every single time Die Hard is referenced in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You’re welcome.
Pilot (S1, E1)
Our first look at Jake’s Die Hard obsession arrives through an ode to John McClane’s accessorising: wearing his badge on a chain.
The Slump (S1, E3)
Jake: “Die Hard is the best cop movie of all time. One cop heroically saving the day while every one else stands around and watches. It’s the story of my life.”
Old School (S1, E8)
Jake: “Welcome to the party, pal.”
Pontiac Bandit (S1, E12)
Jake: “Can’t you read between the lines, man?”
Rosa: “Don’t quote Die Hard.”
The Party (S1, E16)
Kevin: “I head the classics department.”
Jake: “Ah, interesting, classics. Zeppelin, Hendrix, Die Hard. Total classics head over here.”
Full Boyle (S1, E17)
When Jake accompanies Charles on a double date, he’s paired with a woman who is equally obsessed with Die Hard.
Bernice: “I wanted to be a cop when I was a kid. Mostly because I love Die Hard.”
Jake: “Die Hard. Really? Well, that makes sense. Everyone loves that movie.”
Bernice: “Oh, not like me. I sleep in a Nakatomi Plaza security t-shirt.”
Jake: “This beautiful basketball-loving Die Hard fan is tearing down my walls of defences. If we find out she’s half-Jewish, we’re all doomed!”
Jake and Sophia (S2, E6)
Jake: “We went back to her place, watched Die Hard 1 through With a Vengeance, did some adult stuff, and spent the rest of the night debating who’s the better ping-pong player.”
Later, after finding out Sophia is a defense attorney:
Jake: “It’s like if John McClane slept with Hans Gruber. Or even worse, Jeremy Irons from the third one.”
And later again:
Sophia: “I can’t believe I slept with a cop. It’s like I had sex with Hans Gruber.”
Jake: “What? I’m not the Gruber! You’re the Gruber!”
Stakeout (S2, E9)
Jake: “…no talking about Die Hard. Okay. I can do that.”
Charles: “Or Die Hard 2 or Die Hard 3.”
Jake: “What? Come on. So you just want me to talk about the fourth one?”
Charles: “There’s a fourth one?”
Charles: “No judging me for not knowing the Die Hards.”
Payback (S2, E13)
Jake: “Oh also, I put a list of baby names in there. Nakatomi. After the tower in Die Hard. Works for a boy or a girl.”
Windbreaker City (S2, E15)
During a counter-terrorism drill:
Jake: “Does this sound like a game? I am a terrorist leader. My name is Francis Gruber. My brother, Hans, died at Nakatomi Plaza at the hands of John McClane. Also, I’m related to Jeremy Irons from the third one.”
Later, when Jake gets fake-shot:
Homeland agent: “Gun taped to the back. All these Die Hard references gave me the idea.”
Jake: “I got John McClane-d. That is so much worse than any paintball.”
The Chopper (S2, E22)
Holt: “I’m coming along so that you don’t waste time and resources turning this investigation into another Ron McClane movie.”
Jake: “Oh, you know it’s John McClane.”
Yippie Kayak (S3, E10)
Everything about this episode is a Die Hard reference. Literally everything. If you can’t remember the details, please take this as a perfectly valid excuse to watch it again. There’s never a bad time to watch Charles massacre one of the most iconic lines in cinema.
Terry Kitties (S3, E19)
When Jake babysits three kittens for Terry:
Jake: “I stayed up all night working on your case and Hans, John and Nakatomi made for great company. I gave them all Die Hard names.”
Skyfire Cycle (S4, E8)
Terry: “You once took a train to Toronto to get a Canadian VHS copy of Die Hard.”
Jake: “There was a rumour it was better sound quality.”
Captain Latvia (S4, E10)
Jake: “Trust me, it’s gonna be fine.”
Charles: “Really? ‘Cause you said that about Die Hard 5, Jake.”
Jake: “Oh. It’s not gonna be fine.”
The Last Ride (S4, E15)
Charles: “You’re going get a new partner. His name’s going to be Heath or Ryan. He’s going to know everything about Die Hard and he’s going to be super cool. Jean jacket cool.”
Chasing Amy (S4, E18)
Amy: “No. Jake, you are not Die Hard-ing off this roof.”
Jake: “I am definitely Die Hard-ing off this roof, for you and only for you, and also for me ’cause I’ve always wanted to do it.”
The Venue (S5, E6)
Amy: “Did you make that cake I called you about?”
Pastry Chef: “Yes, I wasn’t entirely sure if you were joking or not, but …”
Jake: “A Nakatomi Plaza cake? The groom is on a licorice hose!”
Amy: “Welcome to the wedding, pal.”
99 (S5, E9)
Jake: “Nakatomi Plaza. It’s the most important monument in all of America. The building from Die Hard. Can we go in? Can we pay our respects?”
Later, inside the important American monument:
Jake: “This is the floor that John McClane ran on with his bare feet. Take my picture with it! This is the window where John McClane said, ‘Welcome to the party, pal.’ Take my picture with it! This is the vent where John McClane said, ‘Come out to the coast. We’ll get together, have a few laughs.’ Take my picture with it! This is the space where, even though it’s not really evident in the dialogue, you can tell that John McClane realises that he should’ve been a better husband. Take my picture with it!”
Bachelor/ette Party (S5, E19)
During Jake’s bachelor party, when Jake finds out Charles had set up the best surprise of all time:
Charles: “Isn’t Reginald VelJohnson the best?”
Jake: “Reginald VelJohnson? From Die Hard? Sergeant Powell was a part of my bachelor party? …is what I said when upon meeting him.”
Later, at Reginald VelJohnson’s apartment:
Jake: “It’s Reginald VelJohnson!”
Reginald: “What’s going on? Who are you?”
Jake: “I’m Jake Peralta. You were part of my bachelor party tonight.”
Reginald: “Oh, you’re the jerk who didn’t show.”
Jake: “He knows who I am!”
And later again:
Jake: “Look, Sergeant Powell — oh, I’m sorry. Is it okay if I call you by your character name from Die Hard?”
Jake: “Okay. Look, Reginald. Do you know why Charles hired you? Because I love Die Hard more than any other movie, and I loved you in it.”
And finally, on “the corner where John McClane met Zeus Carver in Die Hard 3“:
Charles: “I can’t believe you pissed off Reginald VelJohnson just to find me.”
Jake: “Oh, please. He’ll get over it.”
Reginald: “No, I won’t. You’ve made an enemy for life. And I’m telling Bruce Willis you suck.”
Jake & Amy (S5, E22)
In which Cheddar the dog eats the Nakatomi Plaza wedding cake.
Honeymoon (S6, E1)
Much like Yippie Kayak, you’re going to want to watch this whole episode to get the full effect. It’s littered with Die Hard references, all revolving around Amy’s transformation into Holly Gennaro (you really need to watch this one).
With the seventh season underway, it’s safe to say we can expect this list to grow considerably as Jake’s obsession with Die Hard continues. Bruce, if you’re reading this (which of course you totally are), join one of the greatest writers’ rooms in show business and get yourself the ultimate cameo for Die Hard and Brooklyn fans everywhere.
But, you know. For Jake, mostly.
Image via NBC.