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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Closer: Split Ends

"Oh, goodness. Is this where they do Dancing with the Stars?"-- Willie Ray Johnson, Brenda's momma

Here was an episode that epitomized what I like about The Closer. This was an excellent mystery. It was complicated and drew you into the chase. Like Brenda, I was wondering how it was done, why and by whom. Of course, it didn't seem like it was going to be a heavy duty episode, not when the opening was all about Willie Ray and Clay's unexpected visit. That damn RV has brought Brenda's parents cross-country, even with gas at $4 a gallon!

Don't get me wrong, I like Barry Corbin and Frances Sternhagen. They're great actors, but the roles are so broadly drawn. The show uses them for comic relief, even though they can do drama brilliantly. The scenes at the film studio were too jokey to me, especially in light of the heinous crime scene that Brenda was investigating.

The murder reminded me of the O.J. Simpson case. It looked like Ryan -- an actor with anger management issues -- was the murderer. He lied and had a history of beating his wife. The sight of him with the gym bag and then those black gloves were all vaguely reminiscent of O.J. Of course, since he was the prime suspect, I never thought that he was the killer. Too obvious.

I noticed that when Brenda's light bulb went off, noticing the script pages. When the squad approached Kelly's home, the mood shifted dramatically. The big close ups on the actors' eyes, the shot of Brenda reaching out her hand, was very effective. Still, the jarring moment when Kelly's spouse grabbed her from behind and threatened to kill her was intense. It captured the terror of a violent domestic attack. It was interesting to note in that scene that Sanchez froze. As Brenda mentioned earlier in the show, he is still not all there because of his brother's death.

Finally, I loved Pope's apology. Ryan, the narcissistic actor, didn't deserve a sincere apology. He wasn't interested in his wife's death, just how it affected him. He didn't shed a tear for Rachel. He had lied and been completely uncooperative. I'm all for the police admitting when they're wrong and apologizing to a wrongly accused person, but this character deserved to be disrespected.

Other points of interest

Was the TV show Trauma Unit supposed to be NBC's ER? That would make sense because Warners is one of the only lots where I think you can still take a tour. It was good to give Momma and Daddy something to do. Willie Ray's get up reminded me of a Democratic convention delegate, minus the Obama-Biden buttons!

How on earth does Brenda stay so thin? Did you see that breakfast? The junk food? I want her metabolism.

I like that Sanchez isn't recovered. He should be grieving and struggling with crime scenes after losing his brother Oscar.

The L.A. Times continues to be a big political thorn in Priority Homicide's side. Ramos has an ax to grind with Brenda's unit. Look for the upcoming episodes to deal with his story getting published.

Pope and Taylor have come to not only admire Brenda, but they're protective of her. You could see that in Will from the start, but Taylor's come a long way in terms of how he feels about Chief Johnson.

It was wonderful that Brenda finally stood up to Daddy, thanks to some coaching by Fritzie, and probably the after-effects of the case. I was all for her telling him to stop with all the wedding talk. Even better was Fritz turning the tables on Brenda and demanding that she get ready to set a date for January or February 2009.

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