Tuesday, June 9, 2009

“The Closer” Returns with “Products of Discovery”

Photo from TNT

“The Closer” returned for its fifth season in TNT with tragic case for Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) and her Major Crimes team. It involved the execution style killing of a family, who apparently were doing nothing but having breakfast at the time. While the members of Brenda’s team examine the crime scene, Brenda gets annoyed when Detective Andy Flynn (Anthony John Denison) makes the assumption that it was the family’s father that killed them, and she makes them start all over in videotaping the crime scene, as she doesn’t want any potential for accusations that they made a judgment too soon.

But it seemed a little to obvious early on that the murder was a case of mistaken identity when both the coroner and Detective Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey) arrive late to the scene as they went to the wrong address. Maybe I am watching too many crime shows, but with two people commenting about the address mix-up, it seemed a red flag to me.

After Brenda unsuccessfully tries to get a confession out of the husband and father, she has an epiphany that maybe thrse was something to the address mix-up. While she and Sgt. David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) are out driving, she tells him to drive to the “wrong” address, and when a man answers, he is suddenly whisked away by the FBI. It appears the man at the “wrong” address is being protected as he is a witness for another crime being pursued by the Feds, and Brenda may have just jeopardized that case. Now, she has something more solid to go on, but she can’t get her hands on that witness.

Of course, Brenda mulls this over with her husband, FBI Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney), who as usual has been relegated to taking care of matters around the house. In this case, it happens to be Brenda’s cat, which refuses to eat. Fritz gives her the usual solid advice on how to proceed with her case – which Brenda takes – but she doesn’t take his advice on wanting to take “kitty” to the vet because he/she is not eating. Brenda instead finds something that the cat will eat, and we find later that Fritz had to clean up the mess later when poor kitty threw it all up.

After a tussle with the FBI in the presence of Asst. Police Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons), Brenda gets the information that she needs to pursue that case to see how it connects with hers. Using that information, plus a box of fundraiser chocolate bars at the crime scene, Brenda and her team determine that the killer was the girlfriend of the man who the FBI witness was going to testify against – and she happened to go to the wrong address. Brenda and her team can’t quite figure out how the incarcerated felon communicated his instructions to his pregnant girlfriend for the hit, since their meetings were recorded. The only thing was that the pair moved in close to the window, and the team assumes she was showing her “assets” to him, outside the view of the camera. But Brenda has another epiphany when getting out of her steamy shower, wiping off the steamed up bathroom mirror. It seems the incarcerated man communicated the location and the instructions to his girlfriend by breathing onto the glass in the prison visitation room, and writing in the “steam” left by his breath. While Brenda interrogates the woman when she comes for her usual visitation for her boyfriend, Brenda shows her that the address is still there when Brenda breathes on it again. It seems this woman used the candy sale for a family member – and an excuse that a pregnant woman needed to use the bathroom - in order to gain entrance to the home. Sadly, she never gave any thought as to why her boyfriend would want a family with children killed, never realizing the address was wrong.

Despite the heinous nature of the crime, Brenda breaks down only when she gets home, and when Fritz tells her that “kitty” may be very ill and may not be coming back.

All in all, despite the early tip off that this was a case of mistaken identity, this was a gripping case that was compelling to watch. “The Closer” is probably one of the best crime shows on television and Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson one of the cagiest investigators – male or female – out there. The supporting cast is also very likeable, which makes the team seem very cohesive. Provenza seemed to be in a bit of a funk, though, seemingly being cranky over some issue that never came to the forefront. Something may have gone wrong in his personal life, because he was a bit more vocal than usual about his opinions of things. I also continue to feel badly for Fritz, who deserves to be more for the show than just Brenda’s houseboy. In fact, I find myself wishing that they could create a spin off series just for Fritz. He can still stay with Brenda, of course, but it would be nice to see him working cases for the FBI.

With the usual shows on summer hiatus, it’s good to know that viewers still have high quality programming like ‘The Closer” to fall back on.

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