A review of tonight’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine coming up just as soon as I’m not allowed within 500 feet of Taylor Swift…
“Mr. Santiago” does two very smart things with its title plot — above and beyond the casting of Jimmy Smits, who proves more delightful with each passing day of his wily ol’ character actor incarnation. The first is for Amy’s father Victor(*) to seem not only untroubled by the discovery of Jake’s secret binder, but flattered and impressed that Amy’s boyfriend would go to such a Santiago-ish degree to impress him. The second is to reveal that the first reaction was mostly a lie, because Mr. Santiago had already prepared his own binder on Jake, and was understandably dismayed to discover that Amy’s boyfriend is so disorganized and immature. Brooklyn tends to be at its best when it allows its characters to be as smart as possible (well, everyone but Scully and Hitchcock), and also when it sidesteps dumb sitcom cliches, so to have Mr. Santiago be two steps ahead of Jake the entire time — and then for Jake in turn to prove smart enough to actually solve the case that Victor never could — proved far more satisfying than if there had just been a big misunderstanding based on the original binder.
(*) A tip of the cap to Smits’ star-making role as Victor Sifuentes on LA Law?
It was also a lovely comic touch to have Amy’s attempt to insist she has agency in this whole dispute between the men, only for that to be the clue that solves the puzzle for Jake. It begins and ends as a story about the two guys, but Amy gets to point out how stupid this is, and she gets to inadvertently close the case even while she’s mostly distracted by the turkey subplot.
The larger Brooklyn/Parks creative sphere has had plenty of room for memorable animals, from Lil Sebastian and three-legged Champion to Holt and Kevin’s missing dog Cheddar. Turkey Nikolaj was a fine addition to the menagerie, and fit Boyle’s history of being weird and gross around food, as well as Gina’s history of taking big stands without thinking anything through.
Holt teaming up with Pimento was mainly carried by Holt’s smug dog show expertise, and also by my relief that Pimento won’t be rejoining the NYPD, and thus will have fewer excuses to appear. The scene where he got too invested in acting out scenarios involving potential future careers was on the one hand a good workout for Jason Mantzoukas, and on the other the kind of thing that felt more like a Perlalta joke, since thinking too much about alternate identities has long been one of his passions.