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October 24, 2014

The Closer: Products of Discovery (season premiere)

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 9th 2009 9:40AM
Brenda trench coat(S05E01) The Closer season opener was a good news, bad news situation. The good news is that the show is back for the fifth year and the ensemble is clicking along like a finely tuned watch. Although Brenda Leigh is now a "Sadie, Sadie married lady," she's still as obsessed, determined and driven to do her job as ever, so there's been no major shift in the main character, thank goodness. The bad news, however, is that the premiere episode started out like a compelling drama but soon devolved into a case laden with coincidences and leaps of faith in plotting that were beyond my jumping abilities.

The emotional impact was intense when the Priority Homicide team arrived at the crime scene to find four dead bodies, two of them pre-teen children. Flynn was hot under the collar immediately, ready to prejudge the man of the house who had opportunity and possible motive in the quadruple killing.

Meanwhile, the other members of the team were equally unnerved by the execution style murders. Their reaction likely influenced Brenda to be more hard-boiled and unemotional, but her true reaction was only being delayed. By the episode's ending, the reality of sudden death would hit Brenda like a ton of bricks.

For a change of pace, the prime suspect was sequestered in a motel room under surveillance while Brenda tried to coax a confession. She succeeded, but the confession wasn't to the murders. And the scene skirted the line of what is appropriate for a detective during an interrogation. When Victor asked to speak to someone -- and you had to suspect it was going to be a lawyer -- he instead wanted a priest. Brenda jumped in to pray with the guy, although her motivation was hardly spiritual. In contrast, Sanchez's reaction was sincere; he identified with Victor, but if that had been Gabriel in the room rather than Julio, it would have been less predictable.

Ultimately, the great set up collapsed completely because of some major plot contrivances. The first was that fellow L.A.P.D. detective Carey, played by Oz vet Lee Tergesen, scribbled the address of a key witness on one of 900 pages of discovery in his case -- a no-no. The second was that the drug dealer was acting as his own lawyer and found the address in those 900 pages -- a "needle in the haystack." The third leap was how Baran was smart enough to order a hit on the protected witness from the prison meeting room surreptitiously. The fourth was that the killer -- Tavio's pregnant girlfriend -- would murder four people (two women and two kids!) for him without questioning if they were all witnesses against Baran. But the humongous fifth one was that the killer went to the wrong address! Oy vey!

The ending made up for the obvious plot devices. It was good to see Brenda's reaction to Cruz's compassion for Victor. Then, when she returned home to Fritz and Kitty, she learned her cat might not survive the stay at the vet's. Like she was coming out of a tunnel, Brenda finally saw the light and her emotional response was shocking. Had it not come after having solved a senseless quadruple murder, she wouldn't have crumbled like that.

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Gordy

Detective Daniels is gone :(

June 09 2009 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
purpleslog

"the Priority Homicide team..."


I believe they became the Major Case or Major Crimes unit sometime last season.

June 09 2009 at 4:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yourstarla

I knew the moment the coroner came in and said he had gone to the wrong address that the intended target of the violence lived somewhere else.
It wasn't until after they were done interrogating the grieving husband and father that I was really in the episode since I knew that was a waste of my time.
All in all, I'm glad the Closer is back and I really enjoyed how they set up the pregnant chick to talk and showed her the address still on the glass. That was a great scene, believable or not.

June 09 2009 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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