This BROOKLYN NINE-NINE review contains spoilers.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7 Episode 9
It feels like it’s been some time since we’ve had a good bottle episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but “Dillman” essentially keeps our main cast cooped up together, though with an outsider in their midst. J.K. Simmons pops up to play the titular master detective, made out by Holt to be some sort of Hercule Poirot. Simmons’ no-nonsense persona is not only a compliment to Holt’s own dryness, but an added foil for the rest of the squad, particularly Jake.
Jake is desperate to get a referral from Holt to join a new emergency task force that the Captain is starting, but before he can start schmoozing Holt for the referral, an explosion goes off on the Nine-Nine bullpen floor, grabbing everyone’s attention. By appearance, it looks like a glitter-bomb prank left for Jake malfunctioned and, in the process, caused significant property damage and destruction of some evidence. Holt is pissed and immediately wants to know who is responsible, and luckily, the best detective that he knows is in town from San Francisco visiting and willing to take the case on.
Detective Dillman has the quiet intensity of all of Simmons’ best characters and he immediately starts stepping on Jake’s toes. Jake thinks that if he can solve the case before Dillman, he’ll prove to Holt that he belongs on the task force, but Dillman makes a show of stomping out Jake’s theories. It’s yet another example of Jake being made to look less than competent this season, which is getting a little old. Dillman decides to start looking into the officers one by one, humorously sparring with both Terry and Rosa before clearing them. He then turns his focus to Peralta and deduces that Jake was responsible for the glitter bomb himself.
Desperate to clear his own name, and with some added encouragement from Amy, Jake pulls out all of the stops and uncovers that Dillman is a fraud, fired from the San Francisco P.D. and visiting Holt only to find his way back into police work. Before Jake can incorrectly tie Dillman to the crime, Boyle steps forward to crack the whole thing himself. It’s a great look for Boyle, giving him the credit he deserves to being a quiet, dutiful worker and extremely competent detective. Better than that, it allows the episode to address the inequity in Jake and Boyle’s friendship.
Seven seasons in, Jake and Boyle’s friendship has started to look more one-sided than ever, with Jake routinely negging his friend or complaining about Boyle to others while Boyle stays steadfastly loyal to a fault to Jake. Halfway through the episode, Jake learns that Holt has already offered the task force role to Boyle, but Boyle immediately says that he plans on turning the gig down, not because of Jake, but because of his responsibilities as a father. Jake never once thinks to congratulate his partner, only thinking about himself. It takes Boyle clearing Jake’s name for Jake to not only praise his friend’s skills, but for him to admit that Boyle was a great choice to take the task force job. He encourages Boyle to reconsider the position, as Boyle hilariously still tries to differ to his best friend/idol. This was a great and necessary reminder that Jake cares about Boyle almost as much as Boyle cares about him.
“Dillman” works both as a great little “who has done this?” and as a necessary exploration of Jake and Boyle’s relationship. As always, I also appreciate Brooklyn Nine-Nine staying focused with just one plot that includes all of the characters. A bottle episode during the time of social distancing? How appropriate.