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October 8, 2015

The Closer: Ruby

by Anna Johns, posted Jul 10th 2007 7:25AM
the closer(S03E04) Wow. Just... wow. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe during this episode. I held my breath as Brenda and the Priority Homicide team looked for a kidnapper. And then I held it as Brenda, and then Sgt. Gabriel, interviewed the creepiest sex offender ever shown on television. And then again, as they found the kidnapped 8-year old they were looking for. Let's just say my brain didn't get a whole lot of oxygen tonight.

And let's talk about that sex offender for a second. Was he scary or what? I am going to have nightmares about that guy tonight. I kept muttering, "Oh my God" to myself as the guy said, "You see, everyone pretends kids don't want to have sex. But they do."


That was some ballsy dialogue on the part of the writers. I can't even imagine hearing something that extreme on Law & Order: SVU.

I was actually very thankful when the focus of this episode shifted from the kidnapped girl/sex offender to the covering of Sgt. Gabriel's ass. Besides Lt. Tau, Gabriel is the one in the squad room who is a rule follower. We know he has been simmering a bit lately and hasn't been seeing things in black and white (legal vs. illegal), and this kidnapping was the last straw for him.

I honestly didn't know how on earth Dep. Chief Johnson was going to save Gabriel's job and her case, but Dep. Chief Cmdr. Taylor sure came to the rescue, didn't he? Of course, Taylor was doing it for Gabriel and not for Brenda... but still. He cleverly offered to book Roger, the sex offender who had a confession beaten out of him by Sgt. Gabriel. And, oops!, he put the guy in with the general population of prisoners and let the word slip that he was a child molester. Prisoners may be bad dudes, but they all hate child molesters and beat Roger to a bloody pulp... covering up any evidence of what Gabriel had done. Sort-of sick and wrong, but in the grand scheme of things, much less sick than Roger.

That opened the door for Brenda to do her thing. She knows that Roger has a mother complex and she comes in as the mother figure--the protector--and gains his trust. And when she catches him in a lie, she gets real stern with him. And gets him to confess... not just to the murder of the one kidnapped girl, but also to two other murders. She also drove him to suicide by gaining his trust and then being so disgusted by him, like his own mother is disgusted by him.

I don't know about you guys, but this struck me as an Emmy-worthy episode. Brenda's quirks and weirdness were completely gone and she was just in all-out detective mode. She had to switch from being angry to being sympathetic, and finally to delivering some tough love to both a sex offender and Sgt. Gabriel. It has become obvious that Brenda's role in the squad room has become 'mother hen' and I get the feeling she doesn't like that very much. Watching her in this episode made me feel exhausted. Kyra Sedgwick truly was spectacular tonight, and she was backed up by a terrific script that let her show a very large range of emotions.

Did Sgt. Gabriel deserve to be punished?
Yes179 (77.2%)
No53 (22.8%)

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Michael Moncur


I really underestimated this show. It started out as an amusing show that I watched mostly for comedy... And now it's the closest thing we have to a modern version of "Homicide: Life on the Street."

Kudos to the writers and to Kyra Sedgwick. Her acting when she had to be the "mother hen" and hide her disgust was perfect.

July 12 2007 at 3:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While I didn't care for the trite SVU-type storyline, The Closer came through with its amazing writing and awesome cast. SVU should be so lucky.

So sick of Gabriel. So, so, sick. Here's hoping he doesn't come back.

I don't think Provenza should have been reprimanded. He knew that keeping the tape rolling not only hurt Gabriel, but everyone around and up the chain of command. His response to Brenda ("I thought it was best thing to do [?]") was spot on. No need having that damning evidence out there for the world to scrutinize.

Excellent work. Oh my God, Taylor and Brenda are the dream team. They have to work together again. That was just awesome! It was good cop/bad cop taken to the next level.

July 11 2007 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is an excellent summary of the episode and why it was so chilling. It was grounded in the ugliness that working cops have to face regularly.

I agree with other posters that viewers were supposed to question whether the perp really committed suicide.

July 11 2007 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, too. The first 3 episodes of The Closer have been stunning. Their dramas have been perfect. Their comedies too. Acting, writing, acting, even extras and everything has been pitch-perfect. This might not be the last we've heard of this week's story - as we know, Brenda has been brought up before the Ethics committee before and though she tried to handle it right without completely compromising herself and her detective, this story might rear up its ugly head in the future. This episode was so gripping! Amazing job by The Closer team.

July 10 2007 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was an amazing episode - one of the best ever. I have never felt sick to my stomach watching scripted television before. Definitely Emmy worthy.

July 10 2007 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

The performances were great, but I had a few problems with the episode. At base, it considers the question, much discussed in recent years in concerning different events, of whether exigent circumstances justify torture. But the example we're given is flawed, because there really isn't a genuine moral dilemma.

Even after requesting an attorney, the perp continued to be a chatterbox; indeed, before requesting an attorney, he was playing games with DC Johnson, while after, he implied his guilt and started to justify his actions. All that was needed was to keep him talking, and DC Johnson would have known that if she had stayed. Per Miranda, his admissions could not have been used against him, but neither could they when beaten out of him, and ostensibly at the time they were primarily concerned with finding the missing girl. So why did she leave the room and have Sgt. Gabriel stay, knowing he was agitated, when in may other circumstances we have seen the perp left alone in the locked interrogation room? I suppose there is some possibility she subconciously wanted Sgt. Gabriel to punish the perp, but I think the real answer is, she wouldn't have made that mistake; it was done for the writers' convenience, and that's a big hole in this plot.

It was dramatically convenient; it set up continued conflict between Johnson and Gabriel, required Johnson to seek assistance from her nemesis Cdr. Taylor and keep secrets from Asst. Chief Pope, and complicated relations between Johnson and Provenza and Johnson and Daniels. But for all the great acting and dramatic fireworks, the situation just seemed hollow to me.

The best bits of the episode to me concerned Buzz the video tech; he knows that what's happening is procedurally and morally wrong, yet allows himself to be cowed by Provenza, because he's a tech and Provenza is a "real" cop as well as a Lieutenant, his superior. Then later you see how he reacts to DC Johnson being angry that he didn't follow her rules ("only I say when the tape gets turned off!")-- he's sad because he disappointed mommy.

July 10 2007 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The actor that played Stimple is Heath Freeman - He was in a few "Bones" episodes. He was amazing last night. I was feeling a little sick. Man, Brenda handled him well, but I love the scene in the bathroom afterwards.

This episode was by far the best episode I've seen...for any TV Series. Very well written, acted, etc...They should just hand Kyra an Emmy now.

July 10 2007 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who was the actor who played the perp/child murderer? Even my husband said " Man, that actor is good!" Gave us chills.

July 10 2007 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show just knocks my socks off. In this day and age of boring, cookie-cutter television it's almost a shock to watch a series steadily become better and better as each season progresses. The Closer is one of those rare shows that only gets better witch each successive season; sure that will come to an end eventually, but it's still one hell of a ride.

There are so many reason to like this show. First, there's Kyra Sedgwick; the woman deserves and Emmy for these first three episodes alone. Second, there's the writing; again, it just keeps getting better. Third, there one hell of a supporting cast surrounding Sedgwick, and with each successive season we see something new come from these characters.

I think what got me in this episode was the raw emotion. When Sgt. Gabriel and Brenda discover Ruby dead their raw emotion came through the television. This episode did best what this show often does very well, and that's show what it's really like to be a police officer. I can't imagine what people must go through with cases like this. I think the only mis-step of the episode was when Detective Daniles came to see Brenda at her home to plead for Sgt. Gabriel. It just seemed out of place with the rest of the episode and I still don't get that smile between Daniels and Brenda in the next scene.

July 10 2007 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Wow" pretty much sums it up for me. Some powerful television drama here. Loved how Taylor fixed things.

Got a chill when Brenda left the interrogation room with "Oh, I understand. I just don't care."

July 10 2007 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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