‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Takes on #MeToo in ‘He Said, She Said’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 8 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “He Said, She Said.”]
Brooklyn Nine-Nine boasts a sizable library of “real-world issue” episodes; “Moo-Moo,” which dealt with racial profiling; “Show Me Going,” which tackled active shooter situations, and “Game Night,” which saw Rosa coming out as bisexual to less-than-receptive parents. Now, “He Said, She Said” can be added to that list.
As one might infer from the title, “He Said, She Said” takes its primary storyline from the #MeToo movement. A woman injures a male co-worker in self-defense after he sexually assaults her, but the man claims nothing happened.
It’s a story at home in today’s headlines, and perhaps too unsettlingly familiar for comfort, but not too complex for Nine-Nine to tackle.
He Said, She Said
The episode opens with Holt assigning Jake a new case. There’s a man with a broken penis and a controversy around how that particular, uh, appendage ended up busted: it was hit by a golf club by a female co-worker, who claims he sexually assaulted her.
Amy volunteers to work the case with Jake, and it gets very complex very quickly. The man denies any wrongdoing and instead calls his co-worker, Carrie, “crazy.” Carrie, on the other hand, says her attack was self-defense and that he called her into his office and tried to take her clothes off. Jake and Amy advise her to file for sexual assault, but she is loath to do so at first.
A Win Is Still a Loss
Their company, she says, has offered her millions of dollars to keep quiet about the situation — and she believes no one would convict Seth on her word alone. Incensed, Amy says she thinks they can find proof of the assault and urges Carrie not to take the deal.
Later, Amy and Rosa debate the merits of taking the deal versus trying to get Seth convicted. Rosa explains how hard it’ll be for them to find physical evidence of the assault and that if evidence is found, Carrie would need to go through a public trial where her name would be dragged through the mud. “Even if she wins, she loses,” Rosa says. Amy, on the other hand, insists that the risk is worth getting a sexual predator off the streets.
A Personal Connection
But the longer the case goes on, the less likely it seems they’ll be getting Seth off the streets. When Jake and Amy visit the lavish offices of Carrie and Seth’s company, none of their co-workers are willing to speak out against Seth. They’re informed the lucrative offer Carrie was given had been rescinded.
All of this weighs heavy on Amy’s conscience, and when Jake finds her at the precinct one morning after she spent the night at work trying to solve the case, she tells him why she’s so affected by Carrie’s situation. Her first captain and mentor, she says, always gave her the best cases to help her rise in the ranks, but when she made detective, he took her to dinner and tried to kiss her. “He said he felt like he deserved something in return for my career,” she says.
Speaking Up (For All The Wrong Reasons)
Amy says she never told anyone because she worried she didn’t deserve her promotion, or that if she spoke up she wouldn’t get any more promotions; she just wanted to make things better for one woman who was in that situation. With that, Jake vows they’re going to find the necessary evidence and solve the case.
The pair arrive at the conclusion that Seth’s co-workers might be more willing to talk outside of work, and it turns out they’re right. A man named Steve — who they previously questioned as “Bumper,” which was his work nickname — came forward with evidence of a text conversation that proved Seth’s guilt. Unfortunately, “Bumper” wasn’t stepping forward out of a sense of honor. He just wanted Seth’s job, and he knew it’d go to him if Seth was fired.
A Bittersweet Ending
Even more unfortunately, Carrie ends up leaving her job even though the verdict is in her favor. She tells Amy and Jake that even though she could stay, she’d be left out of all the inner workings of the office and wouldn’t be able to advance because she came forward with what Seth did to her and didn’t take the money. Amy apologizes for what happened, but Carrie says that exposing Seth was worth it. “If I had to do it all over again, I would,” Carrie says.
Amy’s upset about how Carrie was negatively impacted by a positive turnout, but Rosa encourages her to see the fallout differently. She reminds Amy that she got the guy who assaulted Carrie, and draws her attention to another woman in the precinct: one of Carrie’s co-workers. Because Carrie came forward with what happened to her, this woman felt she could as well. Amy and Rosa go to take her statement together.
The Disco Strangler Dances His Last?
While Jake and Amy are working on their #MeToo case, Holt struggles to come to terms with the fact that his nemesis, the Disco Strangler, has seemingly died in a prison transport accident. In fact, he refuses to accept it at all — he sees “evidence” in a hair at the coroner’s office, a yo-yo string that ends up being a lanyard and the bus driver, whom they visit in the hospital and Holt decides was “seduced” by the Strangler.
Terry has a far simpler explanation for Holt’s inability to accept his rival’s demise; their captain is desperate to re-live his glory days. Holt vehemently denies it (though it ends up being true), and in the end, his tight clinging to the past ends up being a good thing. The Stranger did indeed escape — not die — and Holt and a larger team of officers track him down.
- This might be my favorite episode of Nine-Nine this season. The show is often at its best when it’s dealing with real-world issues through the lens of its unique characters and “cop show comedy” format, and it really worked here. “He Said, She Said,” manages to be informative without being exclusive, sensitive without being weepy and powerful without being preachy.
- How great was Stephanie Beatriz’s directorial debut? It’s been said that the best directors are often actors, and that clearly showed this episode.
- Holt’s storyline added just the right amount of comedic relief to balance out the often-unsettling sexual assault investigation. This was a B-Story that felt like it could have been its own A-Story in a different episode.
- Does anyone else miss Boyle? I feel like we haven’t heard much from him lately, though he does at least make appearances.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC