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"The Box" is the 14th episode of Season Five of the FOX television show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It aired on April 1, 2018.

Episode Synopsis[]

Jake embarks on an all-night long interrogation in order to elicit a confession out of a suspect. But when Captain Holt skips the opera in order to stay back and help, the two cops clash over how to get him to talk.[1]


As Philip Davidson, a dentist and suspect in a murder case, is entering the precinct for a scheduled interrogation, Jake intends to break him by making his visit as unpleasant as possible, having Gina greet him, turning up the thermostat, spilling soda on the desk in the interrogation room and making the chair uneven. He has a clear motive, clean means and a nonexistent alibi, yet the DA won't press charges, considering the evidence to be all circumstantial, which is why Jake intends to make him confess.

Intrigued by the high stakes interrogation with a ticking clock, Holt joins Jake and cancels his opera night with Kevin. Philip manages to dodge every question they throw at him and has explanations for every missing link, so Holt spontaneously decides to implement the smart cop / dumb cop strategy, belittling Jake so Philip would dismiss him as a threat. Jake agrees and their strategy proves successful. When Holt pretends to have to leave, Jake stays with the suspect, and asks a series of seemingly trivial questions. Philip, having let his guard down, accidentally reveals that he knew the location where the body was found, even though the information hasn't been made public, yet. They quickly lose their advantage again, however, when Philip explains that the victim's wife mentioned it when he was comforting her and his uncle confirms that Philip hasn't been in the town where he was murdered in over 20 years.

They try to get into his personal space, asking him the most detailed questions about his night out, which he all answers flawlessly. Failing at that, Holt tries to get him to get angry, but ends up riled up himself, discovering that people not considering PhD laureates "real doctors" is his trigger. Even Jake's attempt to break him by playing his guitar whilst screaming at the top of his lungs fails - not that it ever worked before.

Philip quickly gains the upper hand when playing Jake and Holt against each other, accusing him of wanting to micromanage Jake and letting him play the dumb cop and not decide on any strategy, as he supposedly doesn't trust him and thinks he's smarter than him. Seeing through his attempts, Jake gets angry at Philip to the point of throwing a chair against the mirrored glass, knocking himself out in the process. Despite Holt trying to stop him, Jake starts to lie about Vernon PD having called in about his uncle's neighbor having identified him. This, however, backfires as Holt predicted, since the neighbor had been dead for three years. As a result, he calls for a lawyer, and having held him for 10 hours and 45 minutes, they have 15 minutes left to get a confession out of him.

Refusing to release him until that time has passed, Jake figures out that Philip is addicted to the sedative Diazepam and that his boss, Robert, had found out. He confronts Philip, and proceeds to describe what he thinks happened; Robert threatened to report Philip, so the latter snapped and hit the former with the first object he could see, a heavy glass award, calling him lucky that he was in a surgical suite and not his office because the blood was so easy to clean, before panicking and driving as far away as he could go and forgetting his phone in the panic, before remembering his uncle had a cabin. Philip constantly denies Jake's claims, before snapping and blurting out that he deliberately chose the surgical suite, he deliberately left his phone behind so GPS wouldn't track him and that he killed Robert with a dental polymer, not an award which anyone would clearly notice had gone missing.

As Peralta promised, Holt exclaims, "Oh, damn!" three times, before the two are finally released and exit the precinct in order to get some fresh air. Holt asks if Jake knew the weapon was something other than the award and Jake revealed the true extent of his ruse; inspired by his earlier conversation with Captain Holt about how he needed Holt to realise how smart he was, he realised that Philip would become frustrated by Jake's assumption that the entire plan was driven by pure luck, rather than the carefully planned-out scheme it actually was and that he'd have to correct Jake in order to prove his intelligence.

An impressed Holt says that he's proud of Jake for this, and the two then decide to go and get some sleep, only for Charles to greet the two as he comes into work. Realising that sleep is out of the question, Holt and Jake re-enter the building, with the latter declaring, "God, I love this job!"


Actor Character
Andy Samberg ... Jake Peralta
Joe Lo Truglio ... Charles Boyle
Andre Braugher ... Captain Ray Holt
Chelsea Peretti ... Gina Linetti
Joel McKinnon Miller ... Norm Scully
(Deleted Scene)
Sterling K. Brown ... Philip Davidson
Romy Rosemont ... Elaine Nixon


  • This is the highest rated episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine with a rating of 9.5 on IMDb.
  • Amy, Terry, Rosa, and Hitchcock do not appear in this episode.
    • A promotional image revealed that Scully appears in a deleted scene.
  • This episode is considered a bottle episode, due to it being centralized in one place and having a smaller budget.
  • "The Box", the title of this episode is also what the detectives of the homicide unit of the Baltimore police department called their interrogation room in the NBC TV series "Homicide: Life on the Street", also starring Andre Braugher.
  • This episode has several similarities with the Law & Order: SVU episode "Rage" (SE6E17). Similarities in these episodes include:
    • Both have a similar cold open in which Jake purposely makes the perp uncomfortable by raising the temperature and removing a stub on the leg of the chair.
    • Both have similar scenes in which the perp is being interrogated in quick succession by both Holt and Jake and then getting caught up in information that wasn't released to the public.
    • Both have similar scenes in which Jakes tell Holt that he undermined him.
  • This episode also has several similarities with 48 Hours:
    • Both involved Peralta and Holt interrogating a suspect, though in former, the rest of the squad were also force to help by gathering evidence.
    • Both involved the interrogation lasting for a really long time, causing the participants to miss out on plans and their sleep schedule.
    • Both episode had Jake proving the suspect guilty, minutes before their deadline.
    • Both episode featured Jake attempting to annoy the suspect into talking by screaming while playing a guitar.
      • Jake even made a reference to 48 Hours by mentioning "I gotta stop trying that, it never works". As in both cases, the method didn't work at all.
  • The final scene contains an unscripted moment when Jake says "Kevin", and both Andy and Andre laugh. Andy almost looks directly into the camera but both continue the scene in character.[2]
  • Captain Holt confesses that he was going to see the opera "Bugs Bunny sings". This is most likely a reference to the short What's Opera, Doc? (1957); the opera would either be Tannhäuser (1845) or Die Walküre (1870), both by Richard Wagner.


Jake: You know I'm playing hardball, except for that the balls are questions. And here the come. What kind of car did Robert drive? Also, Dana from the bar, what color was her hair, and which night does the cleaning crew sterilize your office, and have ever been up to where the body was found, and when you left your phone at the office, was it plugged into your computer or an outlet, and did you kill him, and what did your cab driver look like?
Davidson: This seems like a huge waste of time. But, here you go. Robert drove a Saab, Dana's hair was blonde, they sterilize on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I haven't been to Vernon in 20 years, the phoen was plugged into that wall, no, I didn't kill him, and the cab driver had a beard and an earring- I sorry I didn't get his license number.
Jake: Jacked up the thermostat, got the table all sticky, made one of the chair legs too short, and worst of all, I had Gina greet him.
Holt: What did you have her do?
Jake: Be herself.
Holt: Poor son of a bitch.
Holt: Oh damn, Oh damn, Oh damn!
Jake: That's three "Oh damn"s! Oh damn!


Video & Clip[]