Brooklyn Nine-Nine tackles #MeToo in “He Said, She Said” in a typically hysterical and surprisingly sensitive half-hour.
This recap of Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 6, Episode 8, “He Said, She Said”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
As is probably to be expected from a #MeToo-focused episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “He Said, She Said” left us with a lot to unpack. The show’s usual, consistently hilarious antics are one thing, and its hopeful undercurrent of positivity and teamwork is another, but a half-hour dedicated to not only institutionalized sexism but also whether or not it is actually in the best interests of women to try and help other women is something else entirely.
Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) are given the case of a woman who broke a man’s ***** after she was sexually assaulted; the former because he thinks the broken ***** of a hard-charging finance executive is likely to cough up some Wolf of Wall Street-style shenanigans, and the latter because, as we learn later in “He Said, She Said”, she has a personal connection to the case. (And is also “ahead on her paperwork”, and so can just become a detective for an episode. Don’t worry about that.)
The victim, Keri (Briga Heelan), is obviously telling the truth, and the episode never tries to make her story ambiguous. The accused is a blatant bro pastiche who says things like, “I think Kathryn Bigelow should direct the next Star Wars, and I’ve said that aloud to other men.” That, you’ll recall, is the exact same device deployed by Bradley Whitford in Get Out when he was trying to convince Daniel Kaluuya he wasn’t a racist, despite his black-person brainwashing side gig. So the focus of “He Said, She Said” becomes not trying to determine who’s telling the truth, but what to do about the truth once it’s out there.
In the best scene of the episode, Amy admits that her old mentor tried it on with her in exchange for fast-tracking her career, which Brooklyn Nine-Nine plays admirably straight. But as such she’s the idealistic voice who wants to bring the perpetrator to justice without necessarily considering the potential consequences. Keri’s firm offer her a substantial fee to sign a non-disclosure agreement and continue working, which to her, and to Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz), who plays the pragmatic, oppositional role in the debate, is a better outcome than enduring a very public trial that she might not win.
This is a surprisingly nuanced angle to take in a 20-minute workplace comedy, and “He Said, She Said” also shares time with a B-plot involving Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) stubbornly – and, as it turns out, correctly – refusing to believe that his old, oft-mentioned nemesis the Disco Strangler has died. It’s an exaggerated diversion designed to offset the social commentary, and it is extremely funny, but it only makes it all the more impressive that “He Said, She Said” managed to be so surprisingly sensitive without ever letting the goofiness slip.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.