BROOKLYN NINE-NINE goes full meta in this week’s episode, “Serve & Protect.” With a cop show within a cop show (guest starring Nathan Fillion, who also starred in a cop show) happening in this hilariously dizzying episode, the show doesn’t hold back from its completely self-deprecating sense of humor. The episode does a great job of surprising viewers, making sure that the two big reveals of the episode – the laptop thief and Terry’s break up mistake – are completely unexpected, adding to the value of the jokes.
The show starts with an introduction to the precinct’s new auditor, Veronica Hopkins, who claims to be completely unbiased and one hundred percent an appropriate person to be auditing the nine-nine. Unfortunately, she claims these things in a manner and tone that suggests otherwise, and the entire precinct realizes that they’re in deep trouble if they want to keep the precinct open. Despairing and desperate, the gang splits up to try and solve their mutual problem in different ways; Jake and Rosa take on a high-profile case, Amy and Gina try to help Terry figure out what he did to make Veronica so angry at him, and Boyle and Holt go on a mission to get Veronica removed as their auditor.
When Veronica and Jake get the call to investigate a missing laptop on the set of their favorite cop show, the two are ecstatic. Well, mostly, Jake is ecstatic, and Rosa has a slight hint of a smile on her mouth. Right away, Rosa is suspicious of the series’ executive producer, who doesn’t seem too happy to see the two cops on set, and immediately starts pampering them and offering them an incredible opportunity of a lifetime to work with the show as cop consultants. Rosa thinks the EP is trying to buy them off so they’ll stop investigating, because he’s the laptop thief. Jake, meanwhile, is so incredibly starstruck by the set and the show that he can’t see beyond the Hollywood “glamor” dangling itself in front of him.
Speaking of dangling right in front of him, Terry just can’t seem to figure out what he did wrong to make Veronica so angry with him, and after a failed attempt to go straight to the source and ask, Amy and Gina decide to grill Terry, making him walk them through his break up with Veronica step-by-step, trying to analyze where he went so incredibly wrong. Unfortunately, Terry is a pretty great boyfriend, even when he’s breaking up with a woman. He walks them through his break up with Veronica and claimed that he did everything right – her reaction when he broke up with her was even accepting and gracious. Amy and Gina aren’t buying it though.
Holt’s and Boyle’s attempt at a plan isn’t going much better. The two find the man they’re looking for, but he’s on vacation with his mistress, which Holt and Boyle also see. Holt and Boyle decide to just go for it, using a strong eyebrow game to communicate that they may or may not inform his wife, as a means of blackmailing without actually or officially blackmailing.
Meanwhile, Rosa finds evidence to back up her suspicions about the Executive Producer. Not only did he have the PA let him know when the actress in question left her trailer for the night, but there’s security footage of him going into the trailer and leaving with a bag. However, when Jake and Rosa go confront the EP (quite badly on Jake’s part, too), not only do they discover that the reason he was acting suspicious and wanted the actress’s bag was because the actress has a pill problem and the production is trying to help keep her from falling off the bandwagon, but Jake also manages to piss off the EP and get his and Rosa’s offer to be consultants revoked.
After a detailed discussion about everything Terry did, said, and gave Veronica during their break up, Amy and Gina finally help Terry realize exactly what it is that he did to deserve Veronica’s hate. Terry had been planning on breaking up with Veronica when her mother died, so he put off the break up for a year and a half (a ridiculous amount of time, by any standards) so that she wouldn’t be doubly hurt. However, he bought her the break up gift when he first realized he wanted to break up with her, and he kept it, along with a gift receipt that had the date he bought it recorded. So when he gave her the gift a year and a half later, she realized that he’d strung her along for that long, having wanted to break up with her since right before her mother died.
Before Captain Holt can actually get the blackmailing point across to his superior, Boyle stops him. He tells Captain Holt that Holt’s integrity (next to Jake) is the thing he loves most about working at the nine-nine, and he doesn’t want to sacrifice that, even if it means losing the precinct, which will likely be the case now, as Terry is too late with his apology. After Gina and Amy help him discover what it is that hurt Veronica so badly, he tells Veronica that she doesn’t have to forgive Terry, but asks her not to punish the rest of the precinct with a terrible audit review just because of him. She agrees that that isn’t fair and tells him that she’d love to give the nine-nine a glowing review, but she’s already sent in a scathing audit report.
Meanwhile, Jake and Rosa finally catch their actual thief: Mark, the male lead co-star (Nathan Fillion) who was jealous of the growing spotlight his younger, more recent co-star was receiving. He was planning to release her personal photos to the public to taint her image and guarantee his continued place on the show. And, once the case is solved, Jake and Rosa go back to the precinct to discover – in one of the laugh-out-loud, funniest jokes the show has had – that a horrible, disgusting villain on the show has been named after Jake, shot brutally, and then told to “rest in hell” by the lead actress. Jake could not be more ecstatic about it.
Season 4, Episode 14 (S04E18)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Tuesdays at 8PM on Fox
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor