Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Closer “Executive Order” Recap & Review

All photos from TNT

”The Closer” (TNT) wrapped up its summer season last night with a fast moving episode, “Executive Order”, involving murder, terrorism, and a competition for the top job of Chief of Police. Guest stars Courtney B. Vance and Matthew Glave were great choices to anchor the episode, Vance as Chief Tommy Delk of the Counter Terrorism Unit (No, not that "CTU") and Glave as the angry terrorist and resident lunatic who wants revenge.

When two paramedics are killed responding to a 911 call, apparently by the 911 caller, Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Emmy winner Kyra Sedgwick) and her team respond. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence left as the killer took great pains to erase all fingerprints, and they feel the killer has one up on them. But Lieutenant Tao (Michael Paul Chan) realizes that the method the paramedics used to lift the 911 “victim” may have left prints on one of the paramedics’ gloves. And they DO find a print that leads them to a man named Kevin Mason (Glave) but he’s nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, other evidence ties this crime to a previous case that means that the FBI, and also the Counter Terrorism Unit and its Chief Tommy Delk (Vance), must be called in to work the case. Delk is also vying for the position of Chief of Police. Brenda holds her head high and works with Delk, and they both make an agreement to keep their theories away from FBI interference. Brenda makes the connection that the FBI had not been able to make working the old case for a few years – Glave is a psycho who is upset over being rejected by the LA Fire Department, and his killing of two paramedics is only a way to set up killing many more members of law enforcement. She also realizes that the most likely place for Mason to pull off his bigger event is at the funeral for the two paramedics, which will clearly draw a large number of people in law enforcement.

Mason, meanwhile, continues to work his plan while working at a nursing home under another name. He records his ranting manifesto and also uses a patient’s own powered wheelchair and oxygen tanks to carry out his plan. When the patient demands his powered wheelchair back, Mason coldly kills him, and then gets in a police disguise and the wheelchair (to fake that he was disabled) to work his way into the funeral. While Brenda, Delk, and their teams move in to try to prevent Mason from getting into the event, Brenda worries that disaster still looms and she wants to cancel the event. Assistant Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons) knows that if she is wrong about this it will blow her chances for the Chief of Police position, and he makes the decision to cancel it.

Luckily the funeral event was canceled, as Mason was on his way through security. Meanwhile, Brenda’s team has already located the van Mason stole which is now in a parking garage, and they find the disk with his recorded manifesto. Unfortunately, cell reception in the garage is spotty and Brenda can’t hear Tao’s frantic phone call that Mason is packing sarin gas in the stolen oxygen tanks. But everyone gets a surprise when Mason returns to the van and he spots Brenda as Brenda spots him. Tao and Detective Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey) race to the scene to give Brenda the message about the sarin, while Brenda tries to talk Mason down by playing to his massive psycho ego. He’s got a trigger release and they can’t let his finger off of it, and Sgt. Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) works his way in close to Mason. As the situation deteriorates, Brenda has no choice but to take a shot, killing Mason and causing Gabriel to lunge to keep a hand on the trigger.

After all is said and done, while Brenda’s theories and her quick thinking helped bring a close to the case, it’s Tommy Delk who is appointed the new Chief of Police. While Brenda, Pope, and the rest of the team ponder their future, Brenda hands them all a “Ding Dong” to soothe their worries. Mason’s manifesto, though, seems to have been “lost” in the process – Brenda didn’t want to think about it being played over and over on the news, giving Mason exactly what he wanted. Of course, the disk was not lost; Brenda had it and made sure that she destroyed it.

The Closer will return in December with some new episodes, and we can only wonder what, if anything will change for Brenda and her team, and for Pope, who is certain he is out of a job. What I see is a very strong cast all around, and Courtney Vance would be a great addition. Vance does authority figures very well (I think it’s the voice) and I can see him stirring up the pot – in his own way - for the LAPD. My guess is that everything will be status quo; after all, the current cast in their current roles is what makes this show so good. One thing is certain – I’ll be back, glued to The Closer, when it returns!

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Shelly said...

I thought this was a great summer finale! Lots of things, big and little, that make this show so fun to watch.

I doubt Courtney Vance will become a regular, but I am looking forward to seeing him periodically. And I'm sure part of December's episodes will deal with "what changes will the new chief make," but hopefully he will realize what a great asset he has in Brenda AND her team.

I do wonder about Pope though. Have you heard if J.K. Simmons is returning? As much as I wanted to slap Pope several times this season, I do hope the character remains on the show because his interaction with Brenda is important.

Loved that Brenda shared her chocolate stash with everyone at the end.... a fun way to wrap up the episode.

I Like to Watch TV said...

I haven't heard anything about J.K. Simmons and his status with the show. That may be a good sign, you know, like his character is staying on? Then again, if the show makes any big changes, it may not be until after the winter set, which I think right now is only scheduled for about 6 episodes.