'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Season 8 Episode 3: Holt and team address bad policing in quirky manner
Before the start of the final season of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, it was revealed that the writers threw away all the previous drafts of the script to incorporate serious issues like police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the issues that took centerstage was people’s distrust of all law enforcement agencies and their officers.
The first two episodes were fairly funny and did not talk about these issues at all, but the third episode tackles these issues in a manner that has never been seen before on comedy television. The latest episode starts with a news report saying that a police officer had a nightmare encounter when he found a rat wrapped inside a tortilla as soon as he took the first bite of his burrito.
The news becomes a sensation and Frank O’ Sullivan, president of the Patrolman’s Union, says that this is an “act of political violence” organized by radical ANTIFA anarchists. The usage of ANTIFA shows how boldly the makers are trying to touch on issues that are sparking debates and fights all over the country.
However, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) believes that this is bogus news because the order was given by the name of Tom and no one in the restaurant knew that the order was actually made by a policeman. He also believes that the union has made a power move by labeling the accident as intentional. Holt refuses to comment on the issue and says that most of the policemen believe the issue is non-sense. Just then, Terry (Terry Crews) arrives and says a lot of uniformed policemen have left the station and are staging a walkout.
When someone from the station asks how all the uniformed policemen are able to stage a walkout, Terry tells them that they are an excuse for being sick and using the ‘Blue Flu’ excuse. For the uninitiated, ‘Blue Flu’ is a type of strike action undertaken by police officers in which a large number simultaneously use sick leave. Blue flu is a preferred strike action by police in some parts of the United States where police strikes are prohibited by law. They all make a plan to prove that all the police officers are making excuses and also, they would need to prove that the entire “burrito” incident was a media stunt.
Terry gets really sick but as soon as the word gets out, the uniformed policemen ask him to join the protest. Terry tells this to Holt and he says that Terry can mix with them and know who is responsible for milking the 'rat-in-burrito' incident. Diaz finds the surveillance footage which shows that a policeman brought the mouse and used it to stage the incident. Holt shows the footage to Sullivan, but he is not convinced. He continues to believe his men are under attack.
The entire scene shows how policemen are willing to do anything to make themselves look like the victims. There have been a lot of instances where policemen or policewomen have done something wrong and played the victim card when directed by their seniors. Sullivan is not ready to believe that one of his men is actually the culprit. He turns the narrative around and puts the blame on Braugher for calling one of his men a “liar” and when he says he doesn’t know how to talk to someone like him, Sullivan calls him a “racist.”
Terry manages to record why and how these men planned the entire thing, but because of his stomach problems, the entire sound recording is full of weird noises coming from Terry’s stomach. Peralta also does some digging and it is revealed that one of the medical labs faked blood reports. Braugher calls Sullivan and he confesses that the policemen were not sick before, but someone with a bad stomach showed up at the protest, and now, everyone is sick.
However, there are some things that got better because of all the Blue Flu shenanigans. There were fewer 'bad' arrests since many officers were on leave, and the number of complaints against police officers went down by 32%. Most importantly, it was revealed that they didn’t make people feel “less safe.” According to Braugher, “Nine-Nine” became a case study of how police can work efficiently with a smaller workforce as well.
Holt says that he might be thinking of laying off some policemen, but Sullivan says no and reveals that he will end the Blue Flu. In the next moment, he says he won’t. To which, Holt replies, “Then, I would have to make some decisions.” Sullivan finally gives in and the Blue Flu is over, just like that.
The entire episode focused on how police actually work and how they take advantage of Blue Flu to stage a protest when they are the ones who are wrong. Most importantly, it tells us that firing some policemen isn’t a bad idea because the force can work with fewer on-call officers. This is the first time that this issue has been dealt with in such a quirky manner. But in the end, the episode also makes us realize that not all policemen are bad. Some are always working to make things better.
‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Season 8 returns with a new episode every Thursday at 8 pm EST.