Madeline Wuntch was one of the best recurring villains in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as Captain Holt’s nemesis – so why did the NBC sitcom suddenly kill her?
Madeline Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick) was one of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s best recurring villains, but the show killed her off in season 7. Since he became the captain of the 99th precinct, Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) has been mostly level-headed and pragmatic, with his lack of apparent emotion being a running joke among his subordinates. That changed when his arch-nemesis Madeline Wuntch was introduced in Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 2. While Holt has remained stoic most of the time, he just couldn’t help but be petty around his long-time rival.
Holt and Wuntch’s dynamic became the center of several episodes on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The pair apparently started as good friends, but a string of misunderstandings drove them apart. It all started when Holt was up for a big promotion that would’ve fast-tracked his career; Wuntch was supposed to write him a positive letter of recommendation, but after she realized that he’s gay and therefore unattracted to her, Holt was led to believe that she sabotaged him. From then on Holt operated under that assumption, kickstarting a long history of the pair trying to make each others’ lives miserable. Despite all this, they – together with the 99th precinct – came together to take down John Kelly, giving hope that they could finally leave the past behind. However, Wuntch managed to pull off her biggest scheme yet, demoting Holt to a beat cop at the end of season 6.
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Wuntch died rather suddenly in Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 7, episode 7 titled “Ding Dong.” The 99th precinct was shaken by the news that she had passed on, with Holt was initially suspicious that this could very well just be another one of her schemes. Eventually, he’s convinced when he’s tasked to give a speech at her memorial service. While it was difficult for him to be genuine about it, he ultimately admitted that he’s going to miss her and their prank wars. Wuntch’s death came out of nowhere and Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn’t exactly provide a good reason for the plot twist, but there are several possible reasons behind the move — one of which may have something to do with Kyra Sedgwick’s schedule.
In March 2020, the actress was confirmed to play the leading role on the upcoming ABC sitcom, Call Your Mother. Slated to premiere during the 2020-2021 midseason, filming was slated to begin back in March, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic — the same month Brooklyn Nine-Nine revealed Wuntch’s death. Since Sedgwick is set to play the headlining character on the upcoming sitcom from a different network, it’s possible that she signed an exclusive contract that would prohibit any additional appearances on the NBC show. Given this, the creatives behind Brooklyn Nine-Nine decided to wrap up her arc in the show instead of dealing with her prolonged absence. In any case, it would be odd to resolve Holt’s demotion without the need to bring her back. There’s also the possiblity that Wuntch’s arc on the show was simply done. After all, she had done the worst thing she could possibly do to Holt by demoting him.
That said, since the specifics of Wuntch’s death are murky, Brooklyn Nine-Nine can still pull another plot twist by revealing that she’s not actually dead. In fact, it’s highly possible that this was intentional just to give them an opening in case Sedgwick can return to the show again. Perhaps she was put on witness protection and, since she’s quite a prominent figure in the NYPD, they have to go to great lengths to keep her safe. Whether or not Wuntch will return to the 99th precinct is uncertain, but Captain Holt shouldn’t be too confident that he’s already free from her scheming ways.
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