A local pizza restaurant beloved by Peralta is burnt down, bringing Peralta and Boyle into immediate conflict with the obnoxious and dim-witted Fire Marshall Boone, who suspects the owner of arson. Determined to clear his friend and solve the crime (and update the rankings on Boyle's local pizza email blast in the process), Peralta and Boyle launch their own investigation, which ends up bringing back unhappy memories. Meanwhile, Santiago becomes jealous of Diaz after the latter reveals she turned down a job as captain of a local New Jersey police force, and Jeffords interviews candidates for the precinct's I.T manager, with Gina providing typically idiosyncratic help.
- Bad Date: Santiago admits she wanted to mix up her boring date life, and a Flashback Cut reveals she went out with a magician who used a puff of smoke to appear in front of her in his underwear. She is understandably repulsed.
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: Boone from the fire department warms up to Peralta the cop after he hears why Jake cares so much for Sal's pizza place. Jake's father was a baseball coach and always took the team to eat pizza after every game, but he left his family... and one of the worst things about it was that he couldn't go with him to Sal's anymore. Turns out Boone's father also left his family.Boone: Sorr... I'm sorry. I'm sorry that happened to you. I mean, what kind of dad just... Just leaves his son like that? Look, you're... You're a cop and... And I'm a firefighter, but underneath all of it, we're just two boys whose dads abandoned them. And you and I, we're gonna solve this thing, together. Okay?
- Cat Up a Tree: Jake Peralta is getting more and more frustrated that he can't investigate a case of arson because the fire department is in charge. He distracts them with a story about kitten stuck up in a tree.Jake: These firemen are not moving. We gotta distract 'em. Tell 'em your little boy's cat got stuck up in a tree.
Charles: Ooh, undercover work. I love it. I need more back story. First off, can it be my daughter's cat?
Jake: Okay, but if you get made because of that, it's on you.
Charles: Fine. Let's talk about the cat. Short-hair, long-hair? Tabby?
Jake: Short-hair, calico. The son is adopted. Your wife is in a coma.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Gina, when interviewing the candidates for the I.T job with Jeffords. But...
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: ... It turns out she has good reasons for all of her actions; she grilled one guy because some of the less savvy detectives would ask the same tech questions over and over again, she startled another because a police precinct (especially one with Rosa Diaz working in it) is a scary place, and grossed out the last applicant because a police precinct can see some gross stuff. She then taps a much better choice for the job.
- Digging Yourself Deeper:Holt: Finish up the paperwork as soon as possible.
Amy: (happily) Your wish is my command!
Holt: No, that was actually a command. So, my command is your command.
Amy: Well then I guess you still have three of your wishes!
Rosa: Youre not a genie.
Amy: I know that. Okay. Were leaving.
- Disappeared Dad:
- It's the episode where we learn Peralta's dad walked out on him and his mom.
- Turns out Boone from the fire department had a similar childhood experience of his dad leaving the family, and kind of bonds with Jake over it.
- Don't Explain the Joke: The firefighters in "Sal's Pizza" have a tendency to spell out their insults to the police officers:Firefighter: [Having presented Peralta with a donut squashed into a file] It's a donut! Because you're cops!
Peralta: Are you sure?
- Donut Mess with a Cop: The firefighters in "Sal's Pizza" seem to believe this, as most of their insults center around this trope, despite the fact that we rarely actually see any of the police characters (except for Scully and Hitchcock) eating donuts. This ends up with the firefighters playing a prank on the cops that involves a donut squashed into a file ("Because you're cops!"):Scully: [About the file] D'you want me to file that for you, Jake?
Peralta: [Resigned] Just ask for the donut, Scully.
Scully: Can I have the donut, Jake?
- Ear Ache: One too many petty and snide comments about Diaz's promotion offer sees Santiago on the receiving end of this as Diaz pulls her ear, and it looks quite painful.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: After learning about Rosa's promotion offer, Santiago attempts to 'casually' push herself back to her own desk without getting up out of her roller-chair. Unfortunately, her push isn't quite hard enough and she ends up at least a foot away from her desk, and is forced to sheepishly scoot the rest of the way there.
- Freudian Excuse:
- Peralta's Disappeared Dad explains his obsession with solving the arson case, and it appears that Boone's own deadbeat father has caused more than a little of his Jerkass tendencies and is a reason he's in therapy.
- Santiago defends her jealous reaction over Diaz being offered the captain job due to her being the only girl in a family with seven brothers.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Santiago spends most of the episode seething over the fact that Diaz got offered the job of captain of a small New Jersey police force instead of her.
- Hidden Depths:
- Peralta's quest to solve the case before the fire department turns out not just to be competitiveness or because of the pizza, but because Sal's Pizza is one of the few remaining links he has to his Disappeared Dad. Even Holt admits that he didn't expect that as a reason.
- Boone has a Disappeared Dad, which apparently explains a lot of his Jerkass tendencies.
- Gina's Cloudcuckoolander actions in the job interviews turn out to be hiding a very shrewd, insightful mind.
- Insult Backfire: Turns out the residents of Ropesburg, N.J aren't too fazed by their town being openly referred to by visitors as "the most boring place on Earth".Police Officer: You gotta be known for something.
- Jerk Jock: The firefighters we see seem to have a very "jock" vibe going on, being muscular not-very-smart "bro" types. This is particularly contrasted with Jake and Charles, representing the more 'intellectual' detectives, who are both rather dorky types.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Between the NYPD detectives and the local fire department. In this episode, they argue over who gets to investigate a crime scene of arson.
- Lame Comeback: The various members of the fire department who get into slanging matches with Peralta and Boyle tend to come up with these — although oddly, they seem to view them as being the height of wit:Peralta: What are you two doing here?
Firefighter 1: You're a detective; you detect it out!
Firefighter 2: Good one, bro!
Firefighter 1: I know, bro!
Firefighter 2: Yeah, bro!
Peralta: Wow, it's like watching Meet the Press.
- Recruiting the Criminal: Gina recommends that they hire Savant, the hacker who infected the precinct's computer system with a virus, to act as the IT and computer security guy. Played with, in that Jeffords is skeptical it's a good idea and makes it clear in no uncertain terms that if Savant does anything to abuse his new-found access to the precinct his fate will not be a pleasant one:Jeffords: [Holding a magic 8-ball] Savant, you're part of the 9-9 now. We look after each other. [To the 8-ball] Hey, ball. If Savant was to do anything to harm this precinct, would I destroy him?!
[Jeffords crushes the 8-ball with one hand; Savant gapes in terror. Jeffords looks at the remains of the 8-ball.]
Jeffords: Answer uncertain. Try again.
- Secret Test of Character: Gina is assigned to help Jeffords interview candidates for the precinct's IT manager, only to annoy him by acting like her usual goofy sense; she bugs one candidate about his favorite Jay-Z song until he snaps, gives a clearly nervous candidate a jolt for what seems like no reason, and grosses out a third by flossing her teeth right in front of them. At the end, however, she reveals to him and Holt that she was secretly testing them to see how they'd cope with the kind of pressures that working in a police station would involve — the short-tempered one would hardly cope well with IT-ignorant cops bugging him for access to their computers, the nervous one wouldn't be able to stand the stresses of working in a police department, and the squeamish one would hardly be able to cope with the kind of disgusting things that might happen in a police station.
- Self-Serving Memory: Boone claims to Captain Holt that Jake overstepped his boundaries and started the fight. While the former is true, in reality Boone threw the first punch.
- Shout-Out: A burnt out Brooklyn pizzeria named "Sal's" — seem familiar?
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Turns out both Boyle and Captain Holt consider 'mouth feel' an essential component of a good pizza.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: Played with, in that in this case the interviewees all seem okay and it's the interviewer — Gina — who's the terrible one. Until the end, when Gina reveals that her antics in fact revealed that, despite apparently being good for the job on the surface, none of the interviewees would have been able to cope with the various stresses and issues of working in a police precinct.
- We Need a Distraction: Jake assigns Charles to tell a story about a cat stuck up in a tree. That should distract the firemen just enough so that he can sneak into the crime scene they are guarding and investigating. It works and Jake gets in, but Boone turns out to be there, too.
- Your Mom: Boone attempts to defy this when, in a war of words with Peralta, he makes a comment that leaves a perfect opening for a 'Your Mom' joke but then instantly points out that his mother happens to be dead "so let's tread lightly on the response." Peralta, who apparently had one ready to go, finds this unfair.