Thursday, March 26, 2020

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - Holt Brings In the Best Detective He Knows to Solve a Prank Done to Jake in 'Dillman'

NBC's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 7.09 "Dillman"

When a prank goes disastrously awry, things at the Nine-Nine take a distinctly Agatha Christie turn.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of NBC's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

"Dillman" was written by Paul Welsh & Madeline Walter and directed by Kyra Sedgwick

Across seven seasons, the comedy has featured some incredible guest stars. It's a difficult narrative to incorporate major guest stars though. The regular cast is incredibly stacked and can be paired in so many different stories. That can often leave prominent guest stars feeling like they are minimized too much. They have to make a big impression in a condensed amount of time. That's why some of the most effective guest stars have been the recurring faces - Doug Judy, Madeline Wuntch, Adrian Pimento, etc. They each serve a specific narrative purpose but the show has found ways to reinvent that narrative drive on several occasions. It's also a common storytelling technique on police procedurals for the most prominent guest star to be the culprit of whatever crime needs to be solved. This show has done that on occasion when it takes its mysteries seriously. It doesn't always. A lot of the time it's about the detectives themselves and how they respond to the crime or the investigation. But it's also nice and welcome when a familiar face pops by for a guest stint. It's unclear if Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons will ever return as Detective Dillman. However, this is a strong story that immediately makes good use of his skills while never taking away from the core cast. There is that threat because Holt thinks he has to bring in the best detective he has ever known in order to save this case of a prank gone horribly wrong. However, Jake is still the entry into this story because he has something he wants to achieve through this story. No matter what happens he needs to impress Holt so that he can land a spot on an important task force. That's the core objective. It's not something he gets by the end of this episode though. Instead, that honor goes to Charles. He actually solves the case. That proves that all of the characters at the Nine-Nine are great detectives even though the show doesn't always feature them at their best in the workplace. They are defined by so much more than what one typically thinks of regarding police officers. Charles is so often the second fiddle or hype man to Jake. He will come in to rap with no qualms whatsoever. He wants to discourage his son from making new friends in order to spend more time with him. He loves Jake and Amy as a couple and the fact that they are expecting a child together. However, he is the one who notices things that others in this workplace do not. That is a crucial and vital skill. It may seem odd that Holt has chosen him to be the Nine-Nine's representative on this task force. But the episode more than makes the case for why Charles deserves it. It also shows that Jake still has some shortcomings in this friendship. He can still be too caught up in his own life when he should be happy for his best friend. He is continually working on that. He is too distracted by Dillman's presence and the belief that something more suspicious is going on with him. Neither Jake nor Dillman committed this crime. It was actually a uniformed officer who had a bit of dialogue early on. That should have tipped off some viewers who know that uniform officers rarely get to be important during the various hijinks in the bullpen. A piece of evidence being destroyed also had to be relevant at some point because the show doesn't have the luxury to just waste time on plot details that don't matter in the end. But again, it's just so much fun to see Dillman enter this space and immediately deduce every vital detail of importance in these characters' lives. Sure, Holt loses respect for him by the end with the reveal he no longer works for the police force in San Francisco. But it's still a delight to see all the weird knowledge Dillman has accumulated and showcases in order to prove why Terry and Rosa couldn't possibly be guilty of this crime. That may mean that Terry misses the twin's musical concert. But it also reveals Rosa's love of soap operas. Learning more personal details about her life is always a winning premise for a joke that still works despite the show airing for seven seasons. That proves that this cast is still capable of making some ridiculous situations work to entertain the audience and have it be earned in the end.