Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Closer “Make Over” A Surprise For Provenza

Photo from TNT

”The Closer” (TNT) episode titled “Make Over” meant a little more than a simple makeover for one of Detective Lt. Provenza's (G.W. Bailey) old partners, Det. Andrews (Beau Bridges). Provenza was a little more than surprised to see that George Andrews had become Georgette Andrews, and she has now declared herself a lesbian. This not only complicates matters from Provenza, but for an old murder case that has now been reopened because the company who did the tox screen for the case, Oxylabs, had been discredited. Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) isn’t all too happy to hear about this, since it ruins her plans for a skiing weekend with husband, FBI Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney). Fritz decides to go on without her. Provenza thinks he did the right thing by bringing in his old partner, Andrews, because he was the one who got the confession from the jailed murderer, Doris Osgood (Roxanne Hart), but things go south quickly when Andrews shows up in his new female persona, completely ruining any credibility he may have with a jury re-hearing the case. I have to say that Beau Bridges makes a really awful looking woman, and “she” reminded me a little of Cherry Jones, who plays the current president of the US on the Fox show “24” (no offense to Cherry Jones intended).

The case takes a bit of a back seat while the episode explores Provenza’s – and the rest of the team’s – dealing with working with someone who had a sex change. Detective Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) seems to have a weird fascination with Georgette, asking more questions about Georgette’s change rather than asking about the case. But it is Provenza who just can’t seem to understand where his old partner went and why. Since Andrews refuses to testify as a man - Provenza telling him to "Strap 'em down, lose the dress, cut the hair and man up," the team has to try to find something else which will give them the proof they need to make the original murder charges against Osgood stick. They realize that Doris is using stolen or fake identities, and they put various photos of her in an ad in the paper. This brings forward an old woman who says she believed her father was murdered by the woman in the photo, and her father's Monet stolen, which was later recovered by the security company. As Osgood was caught for a murder while she was trying to fence a Chagall that belonged to the murder victim, this seems to match Osgood’s MO.

Provenza, meanwhile, is in his apartment and is picking up Georgette’s clothes, including her underwear, with a bit of disgust. Georgette is now calling Provenza “Louie.”

They get a break in the case when they exhume the bodies of the patients tied to Osgood (the information they obtained earlier from Osgood’s son Sam). They determine that what seemed to be death from old age or serious illness were really murders. In order to get Doris Osgood for good, Georgette make a sacrifice and dresses as a man in order to question Osgood. When asked why he wouldn’t dress as a man to testify but he would to question Osgood, Georgette says there is no issue with her perjuring herself in an interrogation, saying this is now just undercover work.
Georgette – as George - along with a little help from Provenza using the old “good cop -bad cop” routine, manages to get Doris to implicate her son in helping her to create false identities and fence the items. Since Sam has created a fake security agency, he was able to get Doris the jobs and also determine which clients were wealthy. Sam insists that when he realized what Doris was doing he told her she was on her own, which is why she got caught fencing the Chagall on her own. But it’s too late for Sam as well. As he was aware of Doris’s crimes and while he didn’t kill the people himself, the fencing of the art work, getting her the jobs, etc. makes him just as guilty as Doris in felony murder. Cases closed.

Brenda gets home, hoping to get her stuff and then catch Fritz on the slopes. She is surprised to see that he is already home, the fireplace going, candles lit, and Fritz soaking in the tub. Apparently he got hurt on the slopes early on, and admits that he also missed his wife. He yanks her into the bathtub, in her pink fuzzy parka and all.

While Provenza and Lieutenant Andy Flynn (Tony Denison) are seeing Georgette off, it seems clear that Provenza has learned to accept Georgette. In fact, Provenza seems a little enthralled with Georgette’s “assets” and encourages Flynn to touch – to which Flynn thankfully takes a pass. After Georgette walks away and says goodbye to “Louie,” Flynn asks, "So, you ready to go, Louie?" Provenza retorts "Call me that once more and Georgette won't be my only ex-partner without a penis.”

This was a highly entertaining episode, giving G.W. Bailey center stage. I only wish they would have picked a man to play Andrews that at least looked more believable as a woman. I found myself horribly distracted by Beau Bridges while he was dressed as a woman, although that may have been the point, his unattractiveness only adding to Provenza’s discomfort. Again, Jon Tenney’s Fritz was underutilized, which is maybe why they threw in that bathtub scene at the end.

Also weirdly enjoyable were the teaser ads for The Closer and the show that follows it, “Men Of A Certain Age” that aired during the episode. It’s not often that I admit that I enjoy commercials, but those were perfect. By the way, “Men Of A Certain Age” seems to be a decent show so far and worth a look if you want something to fill in the void left by holiday reruns!

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