Screenplay by Brian Reich.
A previous episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine developed the rivalry between the City of New York Police Department and other services – at the time, it was Fire Department, City of New York. While that instance was featured as a peripheral narrative element, USPIS brought it to the forefront, with investigation into Giggle Pig requiring cooperation from the United States Postal Investigation Service.
There seems to be a comedic tradition of this show’s universe, that public service bosses are the most boring employees – Precinct 99 has Cap. Raymond Holt, while USPIS has Jack Danger, pronounced “Donger”. It’s not a problem, though. The symmetry of that is part of the comedy – the two services consider themselves rivals, even though they’re actually just the same. In fact, it’s a shame that Danger and Holt never meet.
And the comedy of that symmetry comes across from a scene in-which Danger describes the history of USPIS to Peralta and Boyle in the most monotonous fashion, despite claiming to have a passionate interest in the service. The thing is, you know he really does, because Holt also has a passionate interest in the NYPD, even though he’s exactly the same.
So the comedic aspect of this episode was in the unironic hypocrisy expressed by each party to each other, while the narrative wasn’t distracted by it. The cooperation was necessary due to communication involving Giggle Pig through the postal service, and that’s USPIS’ jurisdiction. The whole thing worked like a crossover resembling an alternate universe where the characters worked for the mail instead. Although we never saw it, there were probably versions of Precinct 99’s workers, ala the scene in Shaun of the Dead where they meet another group of survivors who are just like them. At least that’s what it reminded me of. In this ever-changing television landscape, where shared universes are a big thing, perhaps FOX should give USPIS a spin-off, along with FDNY. They could have big crossover events every season. That could work. Plus, the style of comedy would be the same for each, so the writers could be re-used.
The comedy worked, because it was internally unironic but externally self-aware, while the narrative also worked, because it advanced the story-arc without letting the comedy distract itself. The pairing of Precinct 99 with USPIS was like a buddy cop comedy, but without agencies, not people. There’s a romcom in there somewhere. A man from the police meets a woman from the mail – can their love thrive in an environment of rivalry? A Romeo and Juliet for government divisions.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: USPIS — comedy and narrative capably blended 7/10.