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August 29, 2015

The Closer: Identity Theft

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 4th 2009 2:30AM
Fritz_Brenda_The_Closer(S05E09) Every episode of The Closer is a puzzle of sorts, and this one surely qualified, especially since it began in court with the case already decided. All that remained was the formality of Russell Clark -- guest star Bruce Davison -- elocuting to the judge. Well, not so fast. There were a few hiccups requiring Brenda's immediate attention.

The moment Cynthia Watros showed up as the victim's widow, anxious to reclaim her husband's belongings from the crime scene, suspicions were raised. But first Brenda had to figure out why Russell Clark had confessed to the crime, if he was covering for his schizophrenic son, James -- if James was capable of the murder in the first place, and then there was the question of what to do with Mama. Yes, Willy Ray was there, along with Fritz and Charlene, Brenda's niece.

Willie Ray's visit had a purpose. Turned out that Charlene -- call me Charly -- the daughter of Brenda's brother Bobby, was out of control. She's disrespectful and a typical teenager, complete with cell phone seemingly attached to her hands. Ironically, while Willy Ray was in tears about how to handle Charly, and Brenda was aghast at the idea of letting Charly stay with her and Fritz for the rest of the summer, the family dynamic was the answer. Brenda's bring your niece to work strategy actually was beneficial all around.

Brenda's nothing if not strategic. Taylor -- who was apologizing six ways from Sunday because he had accepted Russell's confession without questioning it -- really appreciated Brenda's strategy, especially at the end. While the D.A. watched Brenda get Dr. Milano to spew and worried about her Miranda rights, Taylor knew that Brenda was getting the widow to confess to the murder without ever asking her a question. It was a technicality, but a damn good one.

Not to be overlooked was Michael Arden as James, the son. He was called a disorganized schizophrenic, a former M.I.T. student who suffered from mental illness. He also suffered from living up to his father's expectations, so much so that he invented yet another confession. That meant halfway through the episode, Brenda had two confessions, but still didn't know how it was done. Although James said he used his sock to choke Dr. Keith, why weren't the clues adding up?

In her own disorganized, schizo way, Brenda figured it all out by going shopping. Mama's purse gave her the tip off. That and the crime scene photos.

There was something very wholesome about the ending. Brenda not only solved the case, but she'd reunited father and son, and managed to get Charly to say "thank you." Of course, Willy Ray's approval and appreciation of her daughter was as strategic as anything Brenda had done, because you just know that Charly's going to be spending more time with Brenda. Isn't that just what Willy Ray intended?

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I don't know why people keep writing "Charly" either when all the articles I've seen refer to Sosie Bacon as "Charlie." Anyway, it promises to be a great arc. I just love her parents, Kevin and Kyra.

Off the topic, I'd like to say that Kevin did such an outstanding job in "Taking Chance," that I was spellbound during the whole show. Some found it too slow. Not I.

Sosie has some incredible genes so I'm hoping she has a good career.

August 04 2009 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another good one. I really appreciated the parallel between the two teenagers during James' interrogation. Great directing and writing there.

Charly [why are we spelling it like that?] didn't seem so bad once she started being treated like an adult. She was surprisingly likable. The eternal struggle, I guess.

Typically, the 'cute kid' doesn't enter the fray until the ratings start to dip. Is The Closer falling off? Or, is Dan on to something...will she be Stroh's next target?

August 04 2009 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

It didn't surprise me in the least that Brenda brought Charly to the office to keep James distracted. It was interesting to see how James' description of how his father treated him compare ed to the description of Charly's behavior.

I did worry that Charly would become a target for Stroh in a future episode.

August 04 2009 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As focused as she is on solving cases it still seemed a bit odd for Brenda to use a young girl as "bait" to distract a suspected murderous schizophrenic. He had already showed signs of obsessing on her.

August 04 2009 at 9:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Pingles's comment

I kept thinking the same thing. I mean, Brenda didn't fully know the kid was innocent until after she'd exposed her neice.

August 04 2009 at 9:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wouldn't go so far as to say Brenda used Charly as bait. She always kept them separated, even while in the same room, until she was sure James was innocent. It was pointed out that James had serious difficulty with confined spaces, and Brenda knew James liked Charly, so she used her as more of a calming influence. He was focused on Charly rather than the fact that he was in an enclosed space.

August 04 2009 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Charly is pretty cute.

Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgewick make some nice babies.

August 04 2009 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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