Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Closer “Help Wanted” Recap & Review

All photos from TNT

Monday’s new episode of ”The Closer” (TNT), “Help Wanted,” started like a simple case of a missing person, but it turned into a murder case. Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) gets roped into a missing person case by her boss, Assistant Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons) who is doing it at the request of the mayor. Pope thinks and hopes he’s going to be named as the new Chief of Police, and wants to make sure that Brenda and her team do this favor in order to make Pope look good.

Brenda takes the case, but also has other baggage to worry about. Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) is questioning Brenda as part of an Internal Affairs check for the Chief of Police opening. Raydor and Brenda have a strained history and it is clear that Brenda is not thrilled with Raydor’s personal questions, which dig into Brenda’s past relationship with Pope, who was married at the time. (McDonnell and Sedgwick play up the tension very well and it adds to the tension of the case.) Raydor also tags along to shadow Brenda and her work on the nanny case. Brenda thinks Raydor just wants to find a reason to disqualify Pope for the top spot.

As the Major Crimes team investigates the disappearance of the nanny, they find that she is not missing, she has been raped and murdered. The logical suspect is the husband of the couple who employed the nanny, Gregory Disken (Titus Welliver). I have to admit that I was also roped into the ruse that Disken was the guy, but then felt that was a little too easy, and I started looking at his wife, Melissa (Catherine Dent). This is one of those cases where the killer wasn’t obvious at the start, and I really liked that about this episode.

When more nannies turn up as being victims of rape, being tied through a DNA match from the murder scene, Brenda’s team focuses on another employer. Detective Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) seemed to have some very personal interest in this case. I am not quite sure if it was ever explained why, but Sanchez clearly seemed more driven than anyone else to solve it. Brenda and the team get a surprise when they find that a Homeland Security Agent Joe Meyers (Robert Neary) is behind the attacks and the murder. By the time they realize this, Meyers is already holding a nanny as hostage, and a standoff with Brenda and her team ensues. Since SWAT will take some time to get there, the Major Crimes team confronts Meyers with guns drawn. Luckily for Brenda, her husband, FBI Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney), also helping with the case, gets out his rifle and approaches the suspect from behind. Brenda tries in vain to get Meyers to drop his weapon and let the nanny go, but in this case, Brenda’s power of persuasion don’t work and Meyers prepares to shoot at Brenda. Fritz fires and kills Meyers before Meyers can shoot Brenda. Fritz is angry with Brenda for her risky behavior, and I figure that this will translate to some wild romancing sometime later. They also find many more women in Meyer’s van and it’s clear he was the man behind all the rapes and murder.

Sanchez alsohas taken to a young boy whose nanny mother seems to have gone missing. He's worried about the boy getting into the system and I suspect that Sanchez will either take this boy under his wing or at least follow through to make sure he has a good home.

When the case is over, Raydor tells Brenda that the purpose of her questions weren’t to vet Pope, but to verify that Brenda has the chops to qualify for the position of Chief of Police. Raydor has even filled out the application for Brenda, and tells Brenda she has two weeks to think it over and sign the application. I suspect the next two episodes will have Brenda and Fritz talking this over – and I suspect that somehow Pope will find out about it too. My guess is that she won’t apply, or if she does, she won’t get it anyway, as it would change the dynamic of the show too much. It wouldn’t surprise me if somehow Raydor was also in the mix of candidates. In the end, though, I suspect they will give it to Pope.

McDonnell and Sedgwick play the testy colleagues very well, and McDonnell is great as the annoying Internal Affairs investigator who purposely leads Brenda to think her questions are focused on Pope and not on Brenda. And finally – finally! – they gave Jon Tenney something to do other than be Brenda’s whipping boy and cat watcher. ”The Closer” (TNT) excels on the chemistry of its cast, and it is enhanced by solid guest stars such as McDonnell and Welliver. The writers also weave in personal stories that don’t overpower and that easily carry into subsequent episodes. The Chief of Police opening will surely mean some lively interaction between Brenda and Fritz, and Brenda and Pope. Things could get interesting!

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