Recap: Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Undercover” (2×01)

It has been a long, quiet summer at my house without Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Nary a guffaw to be heard, the rarest giggle from my husband. Because Mike, he is amused by nothing so much as this TV show.

The episode opens at a wedding with Peralta undercover as a disgraced former cop. Jake has been undercover for six months and he’s been able to infiltrate the mob through a combination of charm and Billy Joel karaoke. Jake signals the team with a comment about the dry meatballs – and just like that, his deeply successful undercover operation is complete.

Jake returns to the office and little has changed. Three things happened while he was gone: Terry chipped his tooth and had a lisp briefly, Santiago and Boyle wore the same outfit to the office – a light gray suit and salmon colored button down, and the captain banned headphones after Gina failed to notice a perp assaulting several officers at once.

Jake comes back and tries to talk to Santiago. After Santiago tells him she is still with her boyfriend Teddy, he tells her that he didn’t mean it when he said she liked him. No one believes him and it’s clear he’s chickening out.

Santiago and Diaz have to deal with a series of drills that the captain has initiated. Sergeant Jeffords has pretended to be a variety of different characters to drill the team on potential situations (a confused old woman, an angry prostitute, and my personal favorite: a calmly ticking unattended backpack). Diaz, unsurprisingly, has little patience for these drills and is more than happy to say so. But Santiago, in her compulsive need to please the captain, drags her along through each drill.

Eventually though, even Sergeant Jeffords loses his patience for the drills when the captain won’t explain their purpose. Turns out, there is a new police commissioner coming and the captain hasn’t been kept in the loop about what is happening at headquarters.

One of my favorite things about this show is the way that it handles the captain’s sexuality. In the same scene, he casually mentions his husband and how out of the loop he is. While that forced ignorance may not be rooted in sexual orientation-based discrimination, it would not be the first time that the show has touched upon it. Where some shows would hone in on these two points and focus on them, they’re simply informative to the larger story. The joke is not that the Captain has a husband – it’s that his husband has complained that his previously constant smile has vanished under the stress of this situation at work. Using Andre Braugher’s straight face for laughs may be old hat for Brooklyn Nine-Nine but it never gets old. Braugher sells it every single time.

Peralta, upset that he can’t deal with the situation with Santiago, insists on going back undercover to catch the one bad guy that got away.

Gina is very concerned that Jake’s return will lead Boyle to share information about their tryst six months previously. It certainly didn’t lead anywhere (Every time she hears Boyle speak, Gina hears the sound that plays when Pac-man dies). Of course, Boyle tells Jake everything. But it’s all of little consequence. Sometimes there is just stuff you just can’t control. And Jake’s feelings for Santiago are just one of them.

Odds & Ends:

– Boyle is sexually aroused by nature documentary of bees.

– Mike was hoping for more amusing anecdotes from Peralta being undercover.

– I was surprisingly pleased with how the show handled Peralta’s confession to Santiago.