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October 7, 2015

The Closer: Problem Child

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 18th 2008 11:36PM
Brenda in the door"What makes a child go bad? Nurture or nature?"

(S04E06) For the first act of tonight's show, I kept thinking, what's the deal with Sergei? The episode unfolded like an onion, revealing more and more about this kid. The more I heard, the less I cared that he was missing.

It makes you wonder, how does someone like Brenda remain neutral and not form an opinion too soon in the investigation? It must be her training, because while Pope was quick to remove the "critical missing" status from the case, Fritz -- who came along to provide backup -- was not. It was up to Brenda to make the tough call. For a while there, it seemed like she may have messed up by yielding to Will's point of view.

One of the virtues of The Closer is that even though it's a procedural drama, they let true feelings show. There are visceral emotions at play, like when the neighbor cried about how his dog was killed, and when Theresa showed the detectives Sergei's room and revealed how evil her brother was (to her), and when Jason confessed that Sergei was terrorizing him.

And especially when Brenda finally got the confession. She was passionate as she demanded the truth. The feelings were raw and heated. They made sense in light of the violence surrounding Sergei.

When Sergei was found dead, Fritz really second-guessed Brenda's decision to stop searching for the boy, but how could he have known that the kid's life was in jeopardy any more than she did? The information about Sergei was hardly clear cut. He could have been a runaway. Still, you have to like how Pope was a stand-up guy, taking the blame for removing the critical missing status. In the end, it wouldn't have mattered, but he didn't know that when he accepted responsibility for the decision.

Brenda prepared for the confrontation/confession like she was an actor going on stage, gathering props and having Buzz arrange for the cameras. Her last minute request for a waiver form added to the build-up, as did Pope's saying he would watch from the video room. Maybe they should sell tickets to the room considering how many people want to watch Brenda do her thing!

Because of their actions, Brenda was particularly hard on the parents. It's her job, I know, but when the mother revealed the horrific things Sergei had done, I sympathized with the parents. "Sergei was the monster," the mother cried, and apparently he was. That still didn't give them the right to bash his head in with a hammer.

After talking about how gracious Fritz was, accepting Pope's apology and not bitching about the Chinese takeout forgetting to put the hot mustard packets into the bag, Brenda let him know in a gentle way that she did not want to have any children. The entire scene was all subtext -- what they didn't say more than what they did -- and in the end, Fritz was gracious. He accepted Brenda's decision with grace, even though it sure seemed like he was hoping she'd want to have a child with him.

Other points of interest

-- Because of this case, Pope enacted new L.A.P.D. policy with regard to critical missing. I expect we'll see a case like this come up again.

-- Fritz's shower surprise for Brenda wasn't what we thought it might be; it was a flyer for a great house. Unfortunately it's in Calabasas -- home of Bugs Bunny World.

-- Did you see it was a "Gary Doesn't Lie" flyer? Maybe French Stewart is coming back as their real estate broker?

-- My heart broke for Mr. Tate and Ralphie, the German shepherd. They were victims of Sergei's violence.

-- The camera feature on those cell phones sure came in handy.

-- I liked how the words "school districts" were code for having children in the last scene.
How would you rate this episode on four-star scale?
4 stars - excellent99 (58.6%)
3 stars - good56 (33.1%)
2 stars - so-so12 (7.1%)
1 star - not to good1 (0.6%)
-delete-1 (0.6%)

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trouble in paradise - this is going to be a tipping point for fritz. i see a setup where the no kids issue is going to lead to some cold feet or a breakup or something like that.

August 24 2008 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

didn't Brenda suffer from something like early menopause last season?
is it still possible for her to have kids...

August 20 2008 at 2:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

didn't Brenda suffer from something like early menopause last season? is it still possible for her to have kids...

August 20 2008 at 2:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It seemed like the parents went to everyone in an attempt to get help. Sometimes I wish the show would say what happened afterward. I couldn't convict those parents. To see what the kid was doing, and knowing they had tried to get help and in a moment of complete passion he was killed? No way I'd convict. It was hard to watch, much like the episode when Brenda left the boy in Mexico to deal with their justice system, because hew wouldn't work with her until it was too late.

August 19 2008 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where was the shocking ending they promo-ed all week? That Brenda doesn't want kids? Or who actually killed the kid? Did I miss something? or did TNT blow the promo?

August 19 2008 at 8:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

Serial killers seem to begin their "careers" in much the same way as Sergei was portrayed - torturing and killing animals. What would have happened if he had been allowed to grow up to become an adult?

"Dexter" would have had to make a trip out to Los Angeles.....

August 19 2008 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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