Spoiler Alerts: May contain spoilers for Season 8 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Fans have been excited about the final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. After first being worried the show was over before NBC stepped in, they are ready to see the beloved characters get the send-off they deserve.
Now that Season 8 is airing, fans are now wondering why Michael Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) is only appearing via FaceTime. It’s funny, but what’s the deal? Fans have theories.
Why is Hitchcock on FaceTime on ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’?
It feels like there’s been a lot in the way of the final season of the cop show. First, it was canceled on Fox. Then it was picked up by NBC, which canceled it, with some believing it was due to the current political climate in the U.S. The showrunners decided to revamp the show to address the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder, but NBC opted to end the show after Season 8.
Then the global pandemic hit, which put a pause on the show too. And it likely added some strange complications. The eighth and final season finally started airing in August 2021, letting fans say their goodbyes.
In the first episode of Season 8, we find out that after decades on the force, Hitchcock retired. He had been with the police force since the early ‘80s. Although he didn’t seem to do a whole lot just before his retirement, he was one of the most decorated officers.
In the show’s storyline, the pandemic was playing out as well, and Hitchcock used that as the segue to retire. Instead of heading to work every day, he moved to Brazil.
If you watch the show, you know that Hitchcock is really close to his partner of 30 years, Norm Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller). And it’s their relationship that has been the avenue for Hitchcock to still be on the show. Even though he’s halfway across the world, Hitchcock calls in on FaceTime and is always close to his partner.
But fans are wondering if this was written in the show as a fun, relatable joke during a time when many of us are relying on video calls to stay close to friends. Or did something happened to Dirk Blocker that prevented him from being on set?
While no officials involved in the show have addressed it, some fans have a few theories. Of course, the first thing that pops in mind is maybe Dirk was exposed to COVID-19, and he was unable to make it to set. One Reddit user wondered this in a subreddit dedicated to the show, asking, “I get that Hitchcock would jump at the opportunity of retiring as soon as possible, but it is really sad only seeing him on iPads. Did he have COVID when they were filming these first new episodes?”
Another theory popped up on the same subreddit but wondering if Dirk has medical issues that make him at higher risk of catching the virus. “He's probably one of the high risks of getting easily infected,” one person answered, “but I still think by the end of the season Hitchcock will show up.” Though Dirk has neither come out to say he had COVID-19 nor said that he has any dangerous medical issues, Dirk is 64, which puts him in a higher risk bracket than the other cast members.
Showrunners haven’t shared too much yet about what to expect on the show, but it's possible that Dirk only appearing on iPads is just part of how they plan to end his story. As the series comes to a close, they have the difficult task of trying to give some closure to the characters. Hitchcock's retirement and relegation to FaceTime could just be a part of that. That said, he does appear in person in the final season's trailer, which means he's bound to show up eventually.
Watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Thursdays at 8 and 8:30 p.m. EST on NBC.