The Fox sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” dropped some big information about one of its characters during its 99th episode Tuesday night: tough-as-nails detective Rosa Diaz revealed that she’s bisexual and dating a woman.
When co-worker Charles attempts to support her, she brushes him off at first, only to apologize later and say she didn’t think who she dated was anyone’s business.
Diaz’s revelation might surprise some fans, but not Stephanie Beatriz, the actress who plays her. She told Entertainment Weekly there were hints as far back as the first season. (The show is now in its fifth season.)
“There’s a great episode [Season 1’s ‘The Vulture’] where Jake and Rosa mention Tonya Harding, and Rosa off the cuff says, ‘Yeah, she’s thick,’ as a compliment to Tonya,” Beatriz explained. “Ever since the episode, which was pretty early on, I thought, ‘Oh, Rosa is not heterosexual. She’s much more open to being bi or queer than I would have thought before.’”
Before the current season, Beatriz had planned to suggest her character might also be bisexual, only to find out the show’s writers were on the same page.
“I was really excited about it,” she said. “I hadn’t really seen much of that representation in television that I personally watch. I know it’s out there, but often times it’s written in a specific way. ‘Let’s introduce a gay character and quickly kill them off,’ so you have the ride of the complexity of this amazing character, but also [you do] not necessarily deal with them over the course of our entire show.’”
Beatriz said because her character is already an established part of the show, the writers won’t be able to fall back on other tropes that befall bisexual characters, such as being “hypersexualized and sometimes duplicitous.”
“That’s not to say that every bi character on TV is like that, but … a lot of them are, and that’s disappointing to me as somebody who identifies as bi or queer, because I’m not duplicitous or villainous,” she said.
Executive producer Dan Goor told Variety that Beatriz’s own choice to come out did influence the plotline.
“That idea was definitely generated by the real life fact that [Beatriz] came out recently as bisexual,” he said. “It felt like an interesting journey for the character to take as well, and a story we were really excited to tackle.”
Viewers will learn more about Diaz’s life away from the police station on next Tuesday’s episode, but Goor said in the short term, the writers will likely have her date different people rather than one significant other.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” airs Tuesdays on Fox at 9:30 p.m. ET.