Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Pontiac Bandit (1×12)
Summary: Peralta and Diaz work with a criminal who claims to have information on “The Pontiac Bandit,” a car thief Peralta has tried to catch for years. Boyle returns to work after being shot and proves to be a bit too much for his coworkers. Holt tries to give away two puppies in a plotline that was only meant for Andre Braugher to hold puppies and be straightfaced.
BUT NO. A FRESHMAN COMEDY WITH A DIVERSE CAST WON. HELL YEAH.
Alright, enough about that. Let’s talk about the episode.
Boyle returns to the force after taking a bullet in the ass for Rosa in the episode ‘Christmas.’ He hasn’t fully healed up, seeing that he’s in his cast still and awkwardly scooting around the precinct in his scooter, but he seems to be doing well enough. At Holt’s behest, the department tries their best to treat Boyle like the hero he is, but between the Sudanese food, Gina having to help him with his physical therapy, Santiago losing her grandmother’s ring in his cast while fishing out a highlighter, and Jeffords having to help him at the urinal, it just becomes too much for the Nine-Nine and they all make their way to the evidence locker upstairs. Which Gina dubs the “Boyle Free Zone” because of course she does.
While this is going on, Holt is trying his best to give away two puppies that his neighbor’s dog had with his husband’s dog. There is a point to this plot later besides showing how allergic to dogs Santiago is, but mostly, I think this plot line was written just to have Andre Braugher carry around two puppies for the entire episode. I mean, I’m totally okay with that.
When Holt notices the entire department is gone, Boyle tells him that they all escaped into the evidence locker upstairs and that he’s aware of that because Gina has been live tweeting the whole thing. Makes me wonder if her and Donna Meagle are mutual follower on Twitter.
Boyle, of course, picks this moment to reveal that he really wasn’t well enough to return to work. He just missed everyone and was getting bored at home. This leads to Holt going upstairs and chewing out everyone for not giving Boyle the love and friendship he deserves after getting shot. Well, his point is slightly undercut by the two puppies he is continuing to hold, but it does give Jeffords an idea to give them to Boyle. Which, of course, works out perfectly. Minus Santiago needing to go to a hospital for her allergic reaction, but hey, when were things ever perfect in the Nine-Nine?
Which brings us to our main plot.
Diaz picks up a perp named Doug Judy (Craig Robinson) who’s been busted on twelve counts of identity theft. He’s asking to speak to Peralta though about knowledge he has of a man who steals Pontiacs. This immediately catches Peralta’s attention because he’s been trying to catch a car thief known as The Pontiac Bandit for more than eight years. He questions Judy on what he knows about The Pontiac Bandit, and it seems to correlate perfectly with what Peralta has already uncovered. Judy then throws in the extra promise that he can take Peralta to him if they drop the identity theft case. Which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Diaz, who’s already dealing with Judy hitting on her on top of losing weeks worth of work.
The two take their cases to Holt, who lets Diaz make the call since it was her case. Peralta gives her the promise of a thousand pushups, which was their pact to trust each other while they were in the Academy. Diaz agrees, and the case is turned over to Peralta.
Needing to contact the Bandit on one of Judy’s burner phones, they go to Judy’s mother’s house to find it. Which leads to Peralta and Diaz pretending to be a former homeless person named Mangy Carl and Judy’s girlfriend respectively. Much to the annoyance of both, of course. Peralta manages to get a hold of the Bandit as him and Judy bond over An American Tail: Fivel Goes West. The Bandit gives them a place to meet, but they need to make Peralta look less like a cop.
Now, I can’t properly describe the scene that follows in text. It’s really worth watching the episode to see the beautiful editing job they did that’s had me rolling each time I watched the episode. Let’s just say it involves Peralta looking like “a Boys II Men Easter album” and the world’s best use of ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ by LL Cool J.
The three of them go to the spot to meet the Bandit, but instead, one of his associates comes to give him the next location. He’s wary of Peralta and Diaz, telling them that Judy needs to come alone to the next spot or the deal is off. Diaz doesn’t feel right about it and decides to call it off, telling Peralta “a thousand pushups.” Peralta insists that he’s right, breaks off the pact with Diaz, and pushes forward with the case.
At the next location, Peralta puts a wire on Judy and has him go in to meet the Bandit while the strike team waits outside. However, after several minutes of Judy just talking nonsense about cars, Diaz calls the team in and they raid the building. It seems like Peralta’s dreams of catching the Pontiac Bandit are finally coming true, but it seems like the man that he’s been told was the Bandit is actually a barber. Diaz looks in the building and notices that Judy is gone. That’s finally when Peralta figures it out: Doug Judy has been the Pontiac Bandit all along. He tries to set up a police blockade to find him, but Judy informs him on a relay that he will be long gone and that this whole thing was indeed a trick to have him escape Peralta since he was getting close to finding him out. Diaz almost tempts him back with a date, but Judy has decided to go ghost at that point.
Later, Peralta comes to Diaz and asks her to join him on the Doug Judy case. He apologizes for everything, and readies himself for a thousand pushups. It seems like Diaz fakes him out when she tells him that she doesn’t care about the pushups, but more about having Peralta’s trust, but then changes her mind and has him do the pushups. Which takes Peralta all night just to get to 901, which is then when she reminds him he promised two thousand on the case. The episode ends with one last scream of “I SHOULD HAVE TRUSTED YOOOOOU!”
I really loved this episode, and it definitely shows why this show is so critically acclaimed even in its first season. It was extremely funny without being spiteful to the characters. A lesser show would have treated Boyle’s injury meanly, but they actively show them being exhausted versus annoyed by their friend and being reprimanded by their superior officer for it. We see a relationship of trust with Diaz and Peralta that is shown to have actual consequences when that trust is broken. It’s an interesting character study along with being actively funny.
Plus, again, Andre Braugher holding puppies never hurts.