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October 8, 2015

The Closer: Speed Bumps

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 22nd 2008 12:41AM
Brenda Leigh Johnson"Margaritas. One is never enough. Two is too many.
And 12, well, you're looking at 12."

(S04E02) Is this our Brenda? So happy, so horny, so friendly and jovial. After last week's heavy duty episode, with the fires and the serial arsonist with the creepy (also very beguiling) smile, this episode found Brenda in a playful mood. Don't you love a well-rounded character?

It was very romantic the way Brenda was awakened by Fritzie, and for a show that tends to show more of the neurotic Brenda than the sexy Brenda, this was a lovely change of pace. And if you can consider a story in which homeless drunks are run over (and over) by cars -- vehicular homicide indeed -- for insurance money a light, comic turn, then this episode qualifies.

I appreciate that tonight's case involved a lot of the team, especially Flynn who had a beef with the victim, Roy Wilkinson. It turns out that the corpse was a notorious child killer who had only served eight years in prison for his crime. Flynn was offended by the lack of justice. He remained friendly with the girl's parents to the point that when they were "persons of interest" in the homicide, the couple -- nicely played by familiar TV star Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky & Hutch) and Amy Aquino (Everybody Loves Raymond) -- dressed him down.

And when Brenda learns that Flynn committed a sin of omission, i.e. not telling her that he'd sent the victim flowers on the anniversary of the girl's death to remind him of the crime -- "Happy Death Day" -- Chief Johnson is rightfully pissed.

Tao also had a wonderful bit in this episode. He's such a geek with his forensics, but the guy is really invaluable. When he calls Brenda back to the crime scene to explain the anomaly in the case -- the multiple injuries on the corpse that could only have been done in a specific way -- he gets her to follow the oil trail, saying over and over, "Walk with me, walk with me, walk with me." The topper, of course, is that Johnson and Gabriel leave Provenza to walk with Tao, only to come full circle.

In true keeping with Brenda's ultimate trump card, the reason she is "the closer," the evidence leads to a confession scene. Something unusual has been happening with the homeless men dying at the shelter and leaving life insurance benefits not to family, but to the ladies who run the shelter.

Brenda knows how to get these women to squeal and does she ever. Wendy Phillips (Homefront) and Jenny O'Hara (The King of Queens) really rose to the occasion, as their characters erupted into a cat fight in the interview room. Of course, how many women in their 50's really go for the cat fight option? Wouldn't be my first choice of solving a problem, but it made for a bizarre climax.

There were a couple of really nice touches at the end of the show; first, Brenda reached for a bottle of wine and a glass, thinking that after the day she had, she needed a drink to unwind. But when she saw Fritz, sleeping and flat on his back on the floor from a severe back spasm, she put the bottle away. She got into her pajamas, brought her pillow and a blanket and joined Fritz on the floor. Then, in a shot that matched the opening -- only in reverse -- she embraced him from behind and he smiled and took her hand.

Other points of interest

-- Bullsh*t, ass, you greedy bitch... My, my what language! TNT is definitely stretching the boundaries. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the realism.

-- Why does Chief Pope wear a uniform on occasion and the rest of the time, he's in a suit. Like tonight. Anyone know?

-- "You can't give Vicodin to an alcoholic," Fritz tells Brenda. Come on, Brenda, even I knew that.

-- Has Brenda switched her vices from junk food to wine? I would have thought she'd reach for Ben & Jerry's more than a red wine, but then it wouldn't have connected to Fritz's alcoholism.

-- Why was Brenda so horny in this show? I guess she and Fritz are happy in the new rental bungalow.

What should Flynn have done?
Report to the chief about the flowers20 (26.3%)
Removed himself from the case33 (43.4%)
He handled it right23 (30.3%)

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Michael Moncur

I predict that they're planning on having Fritz "fall off the wagon" later this season. They seem to be setting it up:

- Mentioning that he's an alcoholic, for new viewers
- Establishing that there's wine handy in their house
- Giving him a good excuse to need it (back pain)

Regardless, good episode!

July 23 2008 at 2:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

I love The Closer, but as soon as the shelter lady asked for the death certificate at the beginning of the episode, I knew she was the killer. Still, even knowing that, I enjoyed watching the episode, as no one does it better than Brenda.

(The killers asking too soon for a official documents concerning a death also worked in another real life murder case, occurred in Sacramento in 1977/78. A battered wife and her battered mother-in-law set up the wife's husband (and mother's son) to be murdered. They may have gotten away with it too except for a bad case -- and a good case -- of timing. They went to Police Records to ask for a copy of the crime report to send to the insurance company they had insured the victim with shortly after the crime -- and unknown to them, one of the investigating detectives also happened to be in Police Records at the same time, and became curious.)

July 22 2008 at 9:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I must have fallen a sleep at the end of the show, because I missed the "ending so shocking you'll never see it coming..." I didn't see it. Coming or going.

What was the shocking ending? It can't be the two shelter ladies being the murderers... That wasn't shocking at all. And Flynn's use of the word "bullsh*t" wasn't at the end of the show, nor was it shocking...

Was it the fact that Brenda decided not to have a glass of wine?

July 22 2008 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That was a real-life story, two women were convicted of pretty much the same thing in April

July 22 2008 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

You missed the comment when Detective Danielscalled Brenda at home and she said she had nothing better to do. I guess she and Gabriel are definitely on the outs.

July 22 2008 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dan Chichian's comment

I can't wait for Brenda to have to have the talk with the both of them regarding their relationship affecting the team. She was rightfully upset that they were getting involved last season...it looks messy.

July 22 2008 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Happy and horny? Is Brenda pregnant?

July 22 2008 at 9:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

While "child killer" is technically accurate in terms of the victim's relationship to her surviving parents, it has the connotation that the victim was a minor. Which makes it somewhat unlikely that she would have been picked up by her attacker in a bar as described, unless she was extremely precocious. Witness Flynn's correcting Provenza's description of her as her killer's "girlfriend".

July 22 2008 at 1:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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