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October 14, 2015

The Closer: Round File

by Anna Johns, posted Jul 17th 2007 1:15PM
tnt; the closer(S03E05) Not my favorite episode so far this season, but still very entertaining. That's because The Closer does quirky very, very well. Brenda is usually the freakiest freak of the bunch, but this week she got overshadowed by her real estate agent and by a surly old man who claimed to have killed seven people.

Let's start with the real estate agent, named Gary (played by French Stewart). He works his catch phrase, "Gary Doesn't Lie" into almost every conversation with Brenda and Fritz as he helps them look for a new home. I don't know what these two professionals are doing with this slimeball-- as interrogators for the FBI and the LAPD, don't they know creeps when they see them? French Stewart did a marvelous job of playing an LA-type real estate agent who was working his gimmick the whole time.

The other freak of the bunch ended up being less freaky as the episode went on. Don Baxter got Brenda's attention by claiming he killed 7 people by poisoning them. He refused to give up his name at first, so Brenda called him Rumplestiltskin. Baxter's character was the one who helped the story unfold in a very unique way. He claimed to have killed people in his retirement home and then started pushing the investigators to look into his claims, knowing it would become evident that he did no such thing.

It turned out that the manager of the retirement home was the one poisoning residents near the end of the month so he could fill their rooms and get a bonus for high occupancy rates. The interrogation at the end, where Brenda gets a confession out of the guy, was pretty damn entertaining. She tells him she knows he killed those people and then tells him that 'mercy killings' aren't as serious as murder. Well, that's his in and he spills his guts about how he puts old people with no money and no family out of their misery.

Sidenote: Brenda and Sgt. Gabriel's relationship seems to be getting back on track. He was on suspension for beating a suspect (something Provenza made great joke about) and when he returned, I think Brenda didn't know how to behave towards him. She was the reason for his punishment and I couldn't decide if she felt guilty or if she was still mad at him. Anyway, things seemed to be better for the two at the end of the episode when Brenda invited her old wingman in to help interrogate the manager of the old folks' home.

While the episode was goofy-- with Rumplestiltskin and Gary-- it also had a tender message about the way Americans treat their elderly. We put them in homes and forget about them. The proof that no one cared about the dead people was in the way that their families kept their ashes in shoe boxes, coffee cans, and with the family pet's ashes.

A great episode: both for its quirkiness and for its social relevance.

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Toby OB

I've been a fan of Orson Bean's since the early sixties when I used to watch him on 'To Tell The Truth'. I was glad to see he had a good role in this episode as Don Baxter. Maybe they could call on him again sometime in the future when they need a personal perspective on some old case they're re-investigating since he was the police beat reporter decades before.

July 18 2007 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show had me hooked for two seasons -- no more! The writers have abandoned any effort to make it seem realistic (within the confines of TV, even) and have taken up moralizing. The confessions now come easily, much like confessions dependably obtained from-the-witness-stand by Perry Mason so long ago. I am willing to suspend my disbelief, but I am not willing to watch what has become just one more, run of the mill cop show.

July 18 2007 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved this episode (especially as it showed my parents how fortunate they are because I take care of them at home). I especially like the way G.W. Baily and Anthony Dennison's characters interact with each other. They always have me in stitches. How did Chief Pope become the chief when he is so easily manipulated by Brenda? She got him to approve the overtime for work that was already done.
I love the entire cast - Corey Reynolds is absolutely gorgeous. He almost made me cry when he came back. He looked so uncertain but things worked out great.
I can hardly wait for next week's episode. Thank you cast and crew.

July 17 2007 at 11:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ha ha! I see what you're saying about the photo. She actually has her hand on her hip, but there's something dark in the window behind her that makes it look like she's missing her hand. I found a new photo to make you guys happy.

July 17 2007 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Although this episode was more fluffy than most of the other episodes, I still believe the writing was strong as usual. I particularly enjoy the moment in each episode when someone in a secondary story line says or does something that uncovers for Brenda the solution to the crime in the main story line. In last night's episode, Fritz's observation that Gary, the realtor, was making money "coming and going" regarding escrow accounts reminded Brenda of the nursing home's incredible occupancy rates and the death dates of the victims.

During each episode I wait for this "reveal" but it always seems to catch me by surprise when it comes. And frankly, that's refreshing when compared to most other shows on TV, particularly the other police procedurals such as L&O and CSI. (Nonetheless, I'm a huge L&O fan).

One other aspect of The Closer that I believe is superlative is the fine quality of the "day players" be they victims, witnesses or perps. Again, last night's episode was a bit weak in that regard. The best performance from any of the episodes I've seen in three years would likely be the British gentleman who killed his two Japanese wives and was lining up the third. Masterful performance. That said, I believe Brenda Johnson (and Kyra Sedgewick's portrayal of her) is the most dynamic leading role on TV. All of the other lead roles in any of the other crime shows are all nearly automatons by comparison. We are not permitted to see them as multidimensional characters, both because of the role and because of the writing which is constrained by the limits of those roles.

July 17 2007 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's up with that photo?

July 17 2007 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

This episode was right on about how people drop off their parents at a Asst. Care facility and then forget them. I know my Dad did that with his Dad. It was awful.

July 17 2007 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved this episode (though it belonged more on Lifetime, I thought). This was a fluffy, feel-good episode. Not for the killings, but for how people realized how they are treating others and how they will be treated in the future and then taking steps to "correct" the situation. Provenza taking the old guy home with him, Brenda calling her mom to tell her she missed her and that she and Fritz would make room for her mom and dad in her current house for a visit! How can you not get pink fuzzies?!? ;) As for the manager, the idea he believed he was doing the people he killed a favor? Crazy... As a commenter above mentioned, you reap what you sow... now so will he. :)

July 17 2007 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was about to comment about the arm/hand-cut-off picture. Yeah, that's a weird photo.

July 17 2007 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

Provenza was absolutely the wrong person to make the joke about Gabriel, as he was complicit in Gabriel's crime--he was watching, could have stopped it, and prevented Buzz from stopping it. In real life, he would have been suspended as well.

And spare me the moralizing (show and reviewer) about putting the elderly in homes and forgetting about them. Trying to care for someone in frail health or with advanced dementia in your home can be dangerous both to you and the patient--I know that from experience. And people whose families don't visit--not that everyone has a family, by the way, the single and childless couple demographics have both grown considerably--are frequently reaping what they previously sowed.

July 17 2007 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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