Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5.14 Recap: Sterling K. Brown Commits The Perfect Murder

by Gary Catig

Peralta has arrived early to work and is making the interrogation room as uncomfortable as possible.  He’s turned up the heat, made the chair wobbly and uneven, spilled soda on the table and worst of all, had Gina greet the suspected perp, Philip Davidson (Sterling K. Brown).  Philip is the main suspect in a murder, but there’s no evidence linking him to the crime.  It’s up to Jake and Captain Holt to break him into confessing.

[*Spoilers for 5.14 Ahead!]

The two veteran cops begin with the basics.  They run through the events of the night in question until Peralta tries to catch Philip in a lie.  Ever the cool customer, Philip has an answer to everything without missing a step.  The interrogators switch up their approach and use the smart cop/dumb cop routine with the Captain playing the former and Peralta convincingly playing the latter.  There’s an extreme game of mental chess being played and so far, it’s been a stalemate.

Jake wants to bluff and say a neighbor ID’ed the suspect at the scene of the crime, but Holt is hesitant as it may jeopardize their credibility and leverage.  Instead they try to get into his personal space to make Dr. Davidson uncomfortable.  This only provides Philip a good view of Peralta’s teeth, and with his dental experience, convinces him to update his fillings from metal to porcelain.  Holt and Jake insult the perp and then make him confront the victim by seeing the crime scene photos.  Nothing seems to work.

Philip turns the tables and tries to pit Holt and Jake against each other.  He emphasizes how the Captain has been micromanaging the interrogation as if he doesn’t trust his detective.  This seems to have hit a nerve and Peralta loses it and tries to intimidate through anger.  It’s ineffective though since it only makes Jake look like a children’s cereal mascot or flailing Muppet.  With no other plan, Jake goes with the neighbor lie.  Unfortunately, Philip calls the bluff because he knows the only neighbor in the area has been dead for three years.

Holt is upset because despite all his objections, Jake still used the lie to get the confession.  The detective admits to his superior that he only went that route because he was sure it would work, and when it did, the Captain would know how great a policeman Jake is.  This gives Jake the inspiration to take one last crack at Philip.

He goes over his version of the events the night of the murder and at each step describes how sloppy and impulsive the suspect was but, in the end, how lucky he was to be able to cover up his tracks.  In actuality, Dr. Davidson was meticulous with his planning to ensure he wouldn’t be caught. He committed the perfect crime and was insulted that someone would think he was a bumbling crook with good fortune. Not being able to put his ego aside, Philip confesses to the murder and how exactly he did it.

This bottle episode packed a lot of entertainment.  For the second straight week, the show was visited by a quality special guest.  Brown is so hot right now as the critically acclaimed lead on This Is Us, and his important role in Black Panther.  The actor fit right into the Nine-Nine universe.  He has the dramatic chops to pull off the quietly confident and cool as a cucumber suspect under investigation but goes all in on the comedic scenes like the one where he confronts his victim. There’s so much intense acting between Brown and Andre Braugher (Holt) during the interrogations, I forgot I was watching a comedy, and was seeing an old episode of Homicide: Life on the Street.  It was also a nice touch to further the father/son relationship between Holt and Jake. Jake’s has gone most of his life seeking paternal approval and gets it from the Captain. Not only is Holt proud of his detective, he also gives him three “Oh damns” when the case is closed.

My favorite three lines:

Holt:  Mm.  Interrogation with a ticking clock and everything on the line?  I better call Kevin and tell him I won’t be attending the opera.  There’s someone else I’d rather hear sing.

Jake:  Ooh, nice dodge.  You’re quick like a cat.

Holt:  Like a dancer

Jake:  Like Great Tiger.  From Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.  He could teleport around the ring.  Most people thought it was impossible to get past him.

Philip Davidson:  I beat him every time.  You just punch him when he gets dizzy.

Jake:  I can feel it here.

Holt:  You’re stomach?

Jake:  No, my gut.

Holt:  You’re gut, or intestines, is lower.  You should point down here closer to your pubis.

Jake:  I’m good.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Sunday nights at 8:30 pm on Fox.

Gary Catig

Gary Catig is west coast raised, east coast educated, and has a touch of southern charm. He has spent most of his adult life making science fiction a reality as an engineer conducting research in the military, microprocessor, and biotechnology fields. While currently living in San Diego, he enjoys all facets of pop culture including but not limited to comics, TV, movies, and music.