"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Closer: Speed Bumps

"Margaritas. One is never enough. Two is too many. And 12, well, you're looking at 12."

Is this the right Brenda? So happy, so horny, so friendly and jovial. After the last episode, which was a heavy duty episode, with the fires and the serial arsonist with the creepy (also very beguiling) smile, this episode found Brenda in a playful mood. I just love a well-rounded character.

It was very romantic the way Brenda was awakened by Fritzie, and for a show that tends to show more of the neurotic Brenda than the sexy Brenda, this was a lovely change of pace. And if you can consider a story in which homeless drunks are run over (and over) by cars -- vehicular homicide indeed -- for insurance money a light, comic turn, then this episode qualifies.

I appreciated that the case involved a lot of the team, especially Flynn who had a beef with the victim, Roy Wilkinson. It turns out that the corpse was a notorious child killer who had only served eight years in prison for his crime. Flynn was offended by the lack of justice. He remained friendly with the girl's parents to the point that when they were "persons of interest" in the homicide, the couple -- nicely played by familiar TV star Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky & Hutch) and Amy Aquino (Everybody Loves Raymond) -- dressed him down. And when Brenda learns that Flynn committed a sin of omission, i.e. not telling her that he'd sent the victim flowers on the anniversary of the girl's death to remind him of the crime -- "Happy Death Day" -- Chief Johnson is rightfully pissed.

Tao also had a wonderful bit in this episode. He's such a geek with his forensics, but the guy is really invaluable. When he calls Brenda back to the crime scene to explain the anomaly in the case -- the multiple injuries on the corpse that could only have been done in a specific way -- he gets her to follow the oil trail, saying over and over, "Walk with me, walk with me, walk with me." The topper, of course, is that Johnson and Gabriel leave Provenza to walk with Tao, only to come full circle.

In true keeping with Brenda's ultimate trump card, the reason she is "the closer," the evidence leads to a confession scene. Something unusual has been happening with the homeless men dying at the shelter and leaving life insurance benefits not to family, but to the ladies who run the shelter. Brenda knows how to get these women to squeal and does she ever. Wendy Phillips (Homefront) and Jenny O'Hara (The King of Queens) really rose to the occasion, as their characters erupted into a cat fight in the interview room. Of course, how many women in their 50's really go for the cat fight option? Wouldn't be my first choice of solving a problem, but it made for a bizarre climax.

There were a couple of really nice touches at the end of the show; first, Brenda reached for a bottle of wine and a glass, thinking that after the day she had, she needed a drink to unwind. But when she saw Fritz, sleeping and flat on his back on the floor from a severe back spasm, she put the bottle away. She got into her pajamas, brought her pillow and a blanket and joined Fritz on the floor. Then, in a shot that matched the opening -- only in reverse -- she embraced him from behind and he smiled and took her hand.

Other points of interest:

Bullsh*t, ass, you greedy bitch... My, my what language! TNT is definitely stretching the boundaries. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the realism.

Why does Chief Pope wear a uniform on occasion and the rest of the time, he's in a suit. Like tonight.

"You can't give Vicodin to an alcoholic," Fritz tells Brenda. Come on, Brenda, even I knew that.

Has Brenda switched her vices from junk food to wine? I would have thought she'd reach for Ben & Jerry's more than a red wine, but then it wouldn't have connected to Fritz's alcoholism.

Why was Brenda so horny in this show? I guess she and Fritz are happy in the new rental bungalow.

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