The Closer: Round File
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.