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October 31, 2014

The Closer: Serving the King (Pt. 1 & 2)

by Anna Johns, posted Dec 5th 2006 12:32PM
the closer(S02E14&15) I decided to sleep on it before writing this review, and I'm still confused as hell. This episode of The Closer required intense concentration. There were a lot of names -- Russian, Arabic, American -- thrown at us, as well as a lot of terrorist scenarios.

The story/investigation was so complicated that we only got to see hints of Dep. Chief Johnson's unusual personality. I enjoyed the little tidbits in the first hour that showed her restless at her house as she waited for the investigation to conclude about the shooting in her murder room. Like you would imagine, she attempted gardening, but appeared to have killed all the plants. And she tried to go for a jog but ended up at the pastry shop "that I hate!" down the street.

Her team wasn't doing very well, either. Tao and Daniels had been reassigned, while Provenza and Sanchez were also on paid leave for the shooting investigation. Gabriel and Flynn were assigned to Cmdr. Taylor's homicide squad... and what a difference! We saw a stark contrast between Brenda and Cmdr. Taylor, as Taylor ate a rice cake while being debriefed by his homicide team. Brenda obviously made Gabriel and Flynn better investigators, because they ran circles around the homicide cops. Still, because they had betrayed him, Taylor disregarded Flynn and Gabriel's theory about how the teen-ager, Malik, was killed. Brenda would never do that.

As for the case- it was too much information for even two hours! The victim was 16-year-old Malik, a Lebanese immigrant, hard-core pianist, and CIA contact. While Taylor fumbles the investigation, Brenda is given the case--off the books-- from an old friend at the CIA. Brenda has to do two things to get her job back: 1) find Malik's killer, and 2) find the CIA mole. The first hour was spent on her search for Malik's killer, where we're introduced to no fewer than four CIA people and are told about Operation Fireproof, a CIA operation using four Iranians to inform them about what The Army of Allah is up to. Brenda rounds up Provenza, Flynn and Gabriel to help her solve the case. They end up finding Malik's killer and it's a Russian named Voitski who sold separated plutonium to The Army of Allah. Why did Voitski kill Malik? I think he did it because the CIA contact told him to. I'm a little fuzzy on that point.

When Brenda gets to Voitski, she finds him murdered with an ice pick in his ear. Nummy. The second hour is spent trying to find Voitski's murderer (she changed the deal with the CIA because she didn't want to root out moles "anymore", suggesting she used to do that for the CIA).

It turns out that Operation Fireproof was a way to distract the CIA into thinking it thwarted the sale of plutonium to terrorists. While they focused on one operation, other members of the Army received plutonium. Wait, why is this important? How does it help Brenda find the Voitski's killer/CIA mole?

Anyway, it turns out that the new guy in charge of Operation Fireproof at the CIA is the mole. He gets set up by Malik's father and Brenda et al. arrest him. By this point, I was so confused about what was being investigated and why there even was a mole, that I decided to call it a night.

This morning, here's what I still don't understand: 1) Why did Malik's mother flee the Middle East and change her hair?, 2) Why was Malik exchanging teddy bears with his father?, 3) Why did Voitski want to kill Malik's father?

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Dan Chichian

As usual Provenza and Flynn provided my favorite quotes:

P - "007"
F - "Do you need to be held"

My take on the plot is the same as DORV's. Mom fled because she would have been murdered at home for have sex outside of marriage and for getting pregnant her family would have revived her just so they could kill her again.
Malik was communicating with someone he thought would help him get a passport and not (to his knowledge) his dad.
Voitski was simply doing clean up and Malik was part of that. I do not think that Malik's dad was a target at all. He killed Voistski to avenge Malik.

December 07 2006 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kip

Finally an episode focusing on Brenda's prior life!
This was so awesome! And the best part of it is that it was complicated. The spy game ain't simple. Any good spy flick will show you that(see Ronin,Sneakers or any 80's Gene Hackman movie).

December 06 2006 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Xyon

I really enjoyed this special episode and I was glad they waited until December to show it. I found it nice to have a new episode(s) in the middle of the hiatus to help make the wait a bit shorter than the full break with no episode(s). A lot of summer shows are doing this - now I just wish Saved had one too as I got to really like that show when it followed The Closer.

But staying on topic, I followed the episode pretty closely the first time but it took a bit of effort which I really like. I wish more shows made you think a little bit more. What I found disappointing about this episode, a point I mentioned to my friend who I was watching it with, was that the CIA agent who turned out to be the mole, sorry 'traitor', stood out like a sore thumb. His scenes basically made him look suspicious. At one point I was hoping that Brenda's friend who had been suspended turned out to be the mole just to surprise the audience. As it turned out I was glad that didn't happen I found myself liking the 'raving bitch' by the episode end.

I give the episode(s) 3.5 out of 4 stars. This special episode just made me hunger for more episodes. OH, they made a big deal about Kevin Bacon (real life husband to Kyra Sedgwick) directing the second part but I didn't see anything that made it stand out than most others I have seen. I'm not saying he did a bad job, not by any means, which is probably saying something about the caliber of the staff they regularly use on this show. Just my 2 cents.

December 06 2006 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorv

I don't know... I didn't think it was that hard to follow....

1) Tao and Fritz (I think) had the conversation about how, with the child out of wedlock, the mother would be a target of her own family.

2) Malik was communicating with a man who offered to help him get a passport. This man was his father, but Malik didn't know that.

3) Voitski was ex-KGB working for the Army of Allah through the arms deal, and probably killed the informants at the behest of the AoA (right?).

I thought it was a great episode, though incredibly odd just to be floating out here by itself several months after the season ended.

December 05 2006 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Leslye

I just loved the episode, especially the interaction between Provenza and Brenda. And it's nice to see that even Flynn is loyal to Brenda after all he did in the beginning to discredit her. I thought the episode was kinda hard to follow, but a good one. Loved the scene when Fritz and Brenda were bringing her things back into her office and uprooting Taylor. I laughed out loud.

December 05 2006 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy

I just really enjoyed this special episode. I liked how they changed things up a bit in the first half by having Brenda out of loop and working outside the system. The whole CIA plot seemed a bit far-fetched (most do), but it worked for the episode. I like how the relationships on the show are developing. Considering where and her office started it's interesting to see how the other officers have grown to respects Brenda and show outright disdain for Captain Taylor. I especially liked the interplay between Brenda and Provenza. Anothe great episode. I can't wait for the series to return this summer.

December 05 2006 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TomB

I really love this show, but the first half confused the hell out of me. I'm all for intelligent television but you needed to take notes to keep up.

The second half was better - more of Brenda's personality and the squad being reunited. The story started to make at least some sense. I didn't really get how the CIA guy could have restored her job and her squad when Pope couldn't.

I'm glad I already knew the show and its characters going into this. I'm sure new viewers were confused as hell.

December 05 2006 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Margaret Calvert

I agree that this storyline was difficult to track unless you sat right in front of the TV and concentrated on every word or watched it multiple times. So, what I decided to do was catch what I could about it and let the rest go. The parts that I concentrated on were the storylines involving the personal relationship among the regular series characters because that's really the important part that carries over from week to week. That's what draws me to a lot of the programs I regularly watch anyway. I understood enough of it to enjoy this 2 hour episode, mainly because the cast continues to be so terrific, even when my mind can't quite grasp everything that's going with such an involved story with so many new characters. One of the big keys to my enjoyment of The Closer is the humor that's present in each episode. Terrific writing; terrific cast.

December 05 2006 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cole

From what i understand Malik's mother ran because she had a child out of wedlock, Fritz said that her family were problaby trying to kill her for dishonroing their name.

Malik was exchaing teedy bears with his father because he wanted a passport to compete in some piano competion in,Warsaw?. He's mother wouldn't let let him apply, because she had been lying about where he really came from and who he father was.

And i'm not sure but i think Voitski was just trying to kill the CIA informants, apparenlty he was the one killing all the people involved in Operation Fireproof. I think he was in bed with the Terrorist.

But i get what you're sayign i had to watch it twice just to get that much.

Although it was still a great show.

December 05 2006 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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