Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Closer “War Zone” Recap & Review

All photos from TNT

Congratulations to Kyra Sedgwick, who won an Emmy for Best Actress for her role as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. The recognition was long overdue. ”The Closer” (TNT) continues to get better and better each season, and last night’s new episode, “War Zone,” showed again that Brenda really knows how to work a case and that Kyra Sedgwick knows how to work her character.

Major Crimes is called in to what looks like gang shooting of three men, who turn out to be three soldiers. Two die on the scene, one dies at the hospital, before he can tell anyone what he saw.

Army Major Dorsett (Gary Cole) puts pressure on Brenda to allow him to report this to his superiors as a possible terrorist attack, and he and Brenda clash over this issue. Brenda smartly calls in her husband, FBI liaison to the LAPD, Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney), and neither of them let on that Fritz is Brenda’s husband. Of course, this makes for some interesting moments when the Dorsett takes a few shots at Brenda – behind her back – to Fritz.

Brenda’s team is quickly able to identify that the killing is a case of mistaken identity – one of the original victims has a twin brother who is in the gang life. Despite the connection, Dorsett still wants to report it as a possible terrorist attack and to give the suspect immunity so he will talk. Brenda, still wanting to keep a lid on the case to use it to her advantage, does not want him to report it or give immunity, so she calls in Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons) to support her position. The problem is, he doesn’t, and allows Dorsett to get his way – to get immunity for the twin brother because Dorsett thinks he is hiding something. Of course, this blows up in their face, as the twin confesses to a double murder of a convenience store owner and his grandson where another gang member had originally been implicated.

The other gang member in custody, Brenda has him watching the news while he waits for his lawyer. Since the LAPD kept the story on the shootings quiet, the suspect sees no stories on the triple murders the night before. Brenda uses this to her advantage by implying that he missed all the victims, and when he sees that the man he intended to kill is still alive and is allegedly pointing the finger at him for the convenience store murders, he foolishly waives his right to a lawyer and confesses to shooting at the three men, telling them where the gun he used is located. When Brenda exposes their ruse and arrests him for the murder of the three soldiers, he is enraged.

But Brenda, unhappy that the convenience store killer is going to get away scot free with his immunity, decides to have him dropped off back at his home, with no police protection, and several rival gang members waiting for his return.

“War Zone” also continued to show the tension between Brenda and Pope, as Brenda is on the “short list” to be the new Chief, and Pope is not. Near the end of the episode Pope tries to call a truce, realizing his pettiness may be getting in the way. Brenda showed that she may be the better candidate, keeping a cool head and having a solid plan to get a confession. But, I don’t see her promotion to Chief happening; it would take Brenda farther away from the work she likes best, which is being on the front lines of solving tough cases.

Was Brenda being too cold by leaving the murderer with immunity to fend for himself once he was exposed? Maybe. But she was giving him essentially what he wanted – a free pass from the LAPD on the killings, and that didn’t include a free pass with the other gang members.

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