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

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Closer: Live Wire

"You didn't do it for the justice system. You did it to close your case."

Nobody would ever doubt that Chief Brenda Johnson is a smart woman, but how smart was it of her to use Fritz the way she did? That's the question I came away with after seeing this episode. Is closing a case so important for the closer that she'd mess up her personal relationship?

Fritz was rightfully incensed by Brenda's tactics, and yet I could see it from her point of view, too. I guess that's why The Closer remains such a good drama -- the conflicts are real and there are no easy answers.

The killing of Benjamin Masters was a good mystery, especially with the wired camera showing whodunit -- sort of. It was a good twist, seeing the killing, but not being able to ID the killer.

Turns out that Ramos is a slimy character. It seemed very coincidental that he happened to discover -- and tamper -- with the body. In a nice switch, Brenda uses the L.A. Times reporter to plant a story in the paper that flushes out the killer. I get the impression that Ramos will be back again, although instead of accidentally getting involved in a murder case, he should be assigned to the beat.

There were a lot of great moments in the show. Tao's magic forensics with the ring was like a great improvisation, especially getting the Q-tip to turn red. I wonder how many criminals are entrapped by cops doing stuff like that?

Certainly Brenda's interview with Dean Murphy stacked the deck against his making a deal with the FBI; I assume there are all kinds of turf wars between cops over who makes what collar -- or so it seems in movies and TV. I think Brenda really thought she'd lost Murphy when she turned him over to the FBI, to Fritz. She seemed genuinely surprised later when Fritz told her that Murphy chose not to take the FBI's deal.

The whole Gabriel-Daniels romance exploded in a very nasty way. I was sort of stunned that these cops would air their dirty laundry in the office, especially since they know that Brenda frowns on love in the workplace. No doubt Brenda's feelings date back to her history with Pope, which nearly screwed up her career. I thought it was great that when Gabriel pulled one of his political moves, trying to get Daniels transferred out of Priority Homicide, Brenda wouldn't be played. He looked shocked and pissed that he may have to transfer out of the unit.

I liked the way Brenda handled it, tearing up the transfer papers and after they both promised to never bring their problems to the office again. She told them, "Then neither one of you will mind complying with my direct order: work it out!"

But the ending was a real knock out and I think the ramifications have to be developed over the next few episodes. Fritz believes that Brenda chose her professional victory over their personal relationship and that's fundamental. He didn't accept Brenda's apology -- which was lame -- and he stormed off with all his addiction triggers having been set off by her actions. He was going to an AA meeting, or two. That's not good.

Kudos to Kyra Sedgwick and Jon Tenney. This was top notch stuff by them.

Other points of interest:

Brenda's back on the junk food. Didn't you love her going for the chocolate when she was stressed out? Then after throwing the candy in the trash, she actually retrieved it and was ready to finish eating it. Reminded me of George on Seinfeld.

While searching the parking garages, Flynn did that thing with the key and said, "I'm using my head as an antennae," said Flynn. Was that hilarious or what?

Good catch by Provenza with the orthopedic shoes to ID the victim.

I loved when Brenda asserted her authority with Daniels and Gabriel, saying, "I don't come to work everyday to watch soap operas. I mean it." She did.

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