(I apologize for the lateness of this post. Suffice to say, I’ve had a long day.)
To continue with the summer season premieres, today let’s take a look at The Closer.
Like Rizzoli & Isles, The Closer (also on TNT) is a police procedural/crime drama with a strong female lead: Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, played by the inimitable Kyra Sedgwick. Deputy Chief Johnson leads the Major Crimes Division of the LAPD, a time that deals mainly with high-profile murders. Johnson’s backstory is full and fascinating, including: 7 yrs as a CIA interrogator, 4 yrs with D.C. police (during which time she had an affair w/ her married boss, William Pope), and 3 yrs with Atlanta Police (during which time she married, was falsely-accused of an affair, and divorced). Her old boss, William Pope, now Assistant Police Chief of the LAPD, is responsible for bringing her to LA and giving her her current job.
The crimes in this show are always intense, strange, and complicated. It is a joy to watch the Major Crimes team muddle their way through a case each week. But the real delight of this show is Brenda, portrayed perfectly by Kyra Sedgwick. Brenda is highly intelligent and a little cutthroat at times, a fact often strategically hidden behind her “honeyed Georgia cadence” and her femininity. She is a obsessive about her work, often to the detriment of her relationships, though she now married to FBI agent Fritz Howard. She is also a junk-food addict, keeping sweets hidden in various drawers around her office and in her purse. She is sometimes defiant of authority which is ironic considering she often is the authority, and she is more than willing to bend the rules in the name of what she thinks is right.
The writers really knew what they were doing when they crafted this character. And the casting director made a brilliant choice in casting Kyra Sedgwick (I really can’t tell you how awesome she is in this part!).
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!!
This season, its seventh and (unfortunately) last, opens with the murder of seven: a rapper, his brother-manager, two escorts, and two bodyguards. The evidence immediately suggests gang activity. However, one of Brenda’s subordinates knew the rapper and insists he could not have been involved with a gang. As the Major Crimes team attempts to find out what happened, Brenda is also confronted with a civil lawsuit against her, her team, and the police for her actions in last season’s finale. She is accused of knowingly taking a suspect home where gang members waited to kill him for making a deal with the police. Brenda’s superiors take the accusation seriously and begin an audit into her conduct.
What the brilliant things about this episode was the fact that during the course of the current case, Brenda continues to deftly maneuver around the restrictions placed on her (in ways that never reach full-out insubordination). At one point she tricks a suspect into attacking someone to incriminate himself a move rather similar to what she is being accused of in the lawsuit but gets away with it because, this time, no one is killed, and it leads the team to the killer. It was a smart idea to place Brenda in a situation that mirrored last season’s finale, for a few reasons: it allowed Brenda to show others and herself that she could do it right, without getting anyone killed, it showed everyone how easily she could out-maneuver pretty much everyone, and it showed the audience exactly how defiant she could be if she knew she was doing the right thing.
The sudden cliffhanger ending of the episode, however, was a little strange: in the middle of his apology to Brenda for overacting about the lawsuit, Police Chief Delk suddenly collapses in what looks to be a stroke. WHAT? It felt very tacked-on, and it seemed like a cheap way to make sure people returned for the next episode. I think the episode spoke for itself, and garnered enough interest to make viewers return without the trick ending. But that’s just me.
However, while I was slightly miffed by the ending, it did little to mar what was otherwise a fantastic episode. I’m sad this is the last season for The Closer, but I’m sure it’s going to be an awesome finish.
If you haven’t seen The Closer you should take a look. If you have, what did you think of the premiere? Was I only the one bothered by the ending? And seriously, isn’t Kyra Sedgwick simply awesome?
Please stop by on Monday (yep, I said Monday, I know that’s new for me), for my discussion of the season premiere of Eureka and the series premiere of Alphas.