There’s a lot to be said for keeping your emotions in check. Think about it, when someone makes a bad decision, they blame it on their emotions, either directly or indirectly. That’s why it’s important to look to a guy like Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher), the hard-edged police Captain on FOX’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Stern, articulate, and seemingly emotionless, at least until you get to know him a bit, Holt’s a shining example of how effective a leader can be when they bypass that whole “having feelings” thing. So, here are a few Captain Holt quotes for the next time you need to remember to keep you emotions in their cage.
“He was a great partner. Smart, loyal. Homophobic, but not racist. In those days, that was pretty good.”
There’s nothing quite as solidly unsentimental as Captain Holt reminiscing about the good old days. Having put up with a lifetime of discrimination as a cop who was both a black man and a gay man, Holt always speaks of his former fellow officers with a kind of accepted detachment. When speaking about his former partner, Holt really spells it all out, remembering the man’s good and bad qualities. When emotion gets involved, so do the narrative embellishments, so try and present your memories accurately and in the proper context.
“Their components have a long shelf life, they’re cost effective, and they’re so simple a child could make them.”
While Holt would prefer a diet of nothing but beige smoothies to meet his daily nutrient count, he enlists the help of Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) when he decides to cook a nice breakfast for his husband, Kevin (Marc Evan Jackson). Should you find yourself needing to develop a fine appreciation of something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, take a page out of Holt’s book and use simple facts as praise. At the very least, no one will be able to argue with you.
“Attention, squad. Quick announcement. Overtime is reinstated, and you are each allowed two personal photographs, two trinkets and three assorted knick-knacks.”
Just because you like to keep your emotions to yourself doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have a little fun, and after Holt spends a few days in a particularly bad mood (getting lightly stabbed will do that do a guy), he still realizes that he should allow other people have a little fun. At least in terms of the what the acceptable number of desk trinkets is.
“I went to Barbados with my husband. We wove hats out of palm fronds and swam with the stingrays. I’ve never been happier.”
To be able to keep your feelings locked up is one thing, but to do so in a precinct full of cops takes some genuine skill. When the gang at the 99th precinct is still trying to get a read on their new boss, his lack of emotion makes it tough for them to figure him out. For example, when Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) tries to gauge his mood and ask if he’s had a bad day, he describes an idyllic weekend in paradise with his husband. Even if you didn’t spend the weekend in Barbados, it never hurts to have a response like that ready — to throw people off, if nothing else.
“Hello, Deputy Chief Wuntch. You’ve aged.”
As Holt gradually became closer to the crew in his precinct, he learns to loosen his tongue a bit, and gets comfortable speaking from his heart, particularly against his longtime nemesis, Deputy Chief Madeline Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick). Of course, this wasn’t always the case, and early on, Holt would limit his scathing insults to succinct observations like this one, showing that you don’t have to be worked up emotionally just to you throw a little shade.
“I want to say, it has been a pleasure to have worked alongside all of you for the past twenty-one and a half months.”
No one likes to say goodbye, and when Holt’s forced out of his job as Captain of the 99th Precinct, it’s clear that the key to holding it together is framing your memories in distinct, unconventional increments of time. After all, why use years when months are so much more accurate? When you start to feel a little overcome with emotion, don’t forget that nothing will keep it in check better than specifics.
“It’s been a pleasure talking with you about the duration of your flight. Good day.”
As the world seems to become more divided, you can be a beacon of light by restoring the lost art of common courtesy. As Holt does with two Interpol agents (Anders Holm and Riki Lindhome), who come to his precinct to help solve a case.
“Look at that. You’ve helped me find my smile.”
Sure, keeping your emotions in check might be slightly alienating, but like Captain Holt constantly reminds us, it doesn’t matter if your smile isn’t visible on your face, so long as you can accurately describe its theoretical existence.
The new season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine debuts on September 20