"The Strong Box” is the fourteenth episode of the ninth and final season of Seinfeld, and the 170th episode overall. This episode first aired on February 5, 1998. It was written by Dan O'Keefe and was directed by Andy Ackerman.


George tries to break up with his girlfriend, Maura, only she doesn't agree. Jerry has purchased cuff links worn by Jerry Lewis in Cinderfella. He plans to use them as a conversation starter with Lewis when he goes to an upcoming roast at the Friar's Club. George insists that all he needs as a conversation starter is the fact that they share the same name "...Jerry". Elaine's new boyfriend puzzles and intrigues her with his secretive behavior. Jerry jokingly suggests that perhaps he is a superhero concealing his secret identity. The exterior of the apartment of Elaine's secretive new boyfriend is actually located in Manhattan's East Village at 4 St. Mark's Place. Neighborhood landmarks like Trash and Vaudeville and the St. Mark's Hotel can be seen in the shot.

With burglaries occurring in the building, Kramer has obtained a strongbox to hold his valuables. He needs to find a place to hide his key. A place that no one knows, except him. His first place doesn't work. George lays out all of the reasons that they should be officially broken up (talking to her food to name one); Maura still doesn't agree "to turn the key." Elaine gives up on her mystery man when he runs from a woman that Elaine deduces is his wife. She returns to Jerry's Apartment. Jerry's apartment to find that his intercom is broken. So she shouts to him from the street, about the mystery man, while she waits for the opportunity to get into his building. Jerry inspects his intercom, only to find Kramer's strongbox key hidden inside. Kramer hides his key again. Jerry finds the key again and decides to go down to let George in. While downstairs, a neighbor who's forgotten his key and is unknown to Jerry asks to be let in. Jerry politely denies him entry. Elaine goes to the mystery man's shabby apartment and discovers he is poor and on welfare. The woman he ran from is his welfare caseworker. Jerry discovers the keyless neighbor, does in fact live in his building, and to add more discomfort to Jerry, he also lives on his floor, and right next door to Kramer.

Elaine tells Jerry about Glenn being poor, and they suggest that she could just pay him off to get out of the relationship. However, this plan backfires when she discovers how much she means to Glenn. George decides that cheating on Maura might be his ticket out. Kramer lets Phil, Jerry's "new" neighbor, keep his parrot in the hallway. Kramer also hides his key at Phil's. Jerry needs his cufflinks for the roast, only to find out that Kramer has locked them in his strongbox. The key to the strongbox was hidden in the parrot's food dish, only now the parrot is dead (because he choked on Kramer's key) and buried in a pet cemetery. The Godfather Part II is referenced here when Jerry accuses Kramer of Fredo's death; to which Kramer exclaims, "Fredo was weak and stupid! He shouldn't have eaten that key!!" George tries getting caught with the other woman, only both women agree that they can work with George through this incident. Elaine discovers that Glenn is, in fact, married and poor. Kramer and Jerry go to the pet cemetery to exhume the key; his neighbor catches only Jerry. George asks what's in the cooler (strongbox) as he easily opens it up. Kramer then claims, "This is one for the books, huh, Jerry? Really one for the books!"

Notes About Nothing

  • This is the second of only two episodes in which Jerry can be seen using the computer in his apartment; the first was the season five episode, "The Stall".
  • When George asked if Elaine's boyfriend was a DC Comics superhero he suggested "Blue Arrow"; however, Blue Arrow is not an actual superhero in DC Comics and the episode was likely referencing Green Arrow. However, whether this was intentional due to copyright or a mistake by the actor is uncertain.
Season Nine Episodes
The Butter Shave | The Voice | The Serenity Now | The Blood | The Junk Mail | The Merv Griffin Show | The Slicer | The Betrayal | The Apology | The Strike | The Dealership | The Reverse Peephole | The Cartoon | The Strong Box | The Wizard | The Burning | The Bookstore | The Frogger | The Maid | The Puerto Rican Day | The Chronicle | The Finale, Part 1 | The Finale, Part 2
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