The Closer, Season One (2005)

Friday, November 18, 2011

After having my curiosity aroused by another’s review that compared the lead to Detective Columbo – a beloved television character in my family – I finally "took the bait" and tried this series. All I can say is The Closer doesn’t disappoint.

Newly relocated from the quieter streets of Atlanta to L.A., but surrounded in a haze of suspicion after an Internal Affairs investigation, Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) comes to lead a homicide investigative team with the promise that there wouldn’t be problems in her new job which is why she uprooted her life to start afresh in California. Told by Assistant Chief Will Pope (J.K Simmons) with whom she shares a past, that she’ll be accepted, Brenda finds herself being all but verbally told to leave when her entire team not only resents her coming in as she did -- an outsider, but requests transfers before she has even had time to become acquainted with her new position. Sgt. David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) is assigned to be her driver as she cannot navigate the streets of L.A. alone. He is the first to come to respect Brenda as his commanding officer where as the crude, arrogant Detective Provenza (G.W. Bailey) enjoys throwing barbs aimed at wounding Brenda’s sense of authority.

With little time to ponder what her squad thinks of her unusual procedures Brenda finds herself entangled in the murder of a prominent scientist… and rekindling a relationship with FBI agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney) whom she once knew as a friend. Needing a bit of help on investigations, Will assigns a man from robbery, Lt. Flynn (Anthony John Denison) who perhaps resents Brenda most of all. He and his former division superior (Robert Gossett) disapprove of Chief Pope’s decision to place Brenda in such a position of influence that eventually leads to their uncovering all her faults with plans to use her past against her. TNT continues to prove its capabilities to produce not only intriguing fast-paced series, but series that have some truly wonderful characters. The Closer combines both aspects, and its greatest achievement is found in its female lead. Brenda is wonderful. All the little character quirks that make up her character couldn’t be better written to screen. From her polite “please” and “thank you” in that thick Southern drawl to her nervous chatter around her FBI agent boyfriend, her flawless detective skills to her attempts to cut sugar from her diet, she’s priceless even in her faults (and believe me, she has many!) and not someone you’ll be likely to forget.

Not only did writers create a wonderful female protagonist but they strung together an interesting cast of supporting characters. Lt. Gabriel is the first to crack and reconcile, if you will, Brenda’s presence and authority over him and fellow co-workers. Some of the detectives are jerks (one is basically just crude; the other takes “jerk” to a whole new meaning) where as others are easier for Brenda to win over. (By season’s end, you are able to “like” everyone tolerably well – some are just immediately easier than others.) Romance enters in the form of Brenda’s FBI agent friend; their burgeoning relationship is one of the sweetest to ever be seen on your television. (Seriously, Fritz is wonderful – and only grows more so in further seasons.)

The first season comes full circle from the premiere to the finale and was something I rather liked about its freshman season. Being a crime show, the aftermath of murder is dealt with in a number of ways – both emotionally, tragically and sometimes nothing can better describe a situation but a sick scenario. Apart from Fritz and Brenda’s all too infrequent scenes together, one of my favorite moments comes in the finale when Provenza laughingly impersonates Brenda and she catches him at it. This is one really great show: you’ll hold your breath with anticipation that Brenda will come out of a déjà vu situation just as she had before, fall in love with her calling her cat “kitty” and be ready for season two as soon as this one ends. No matter how you feel about the rest of the show, just try and tell me after watching fifteen minutes of The Closer that you don’t like Brenda – because I won’t buy it. 
(Parental review, the show rating is TV14: There are some graphic murders; some by gunshot, another drowns, others are beaten to death. One killer has a vendetta against blondes so he murders them by burning them to death. Twice there are naked corpses and sometimes we are taken into the autopsy room. Physical assault cases are touched on [“Good Housekeeping”]. “Batter up” and the pilot both explore homosexuality. “Fantasy Date” involves a sexual desire webpage and Brenda is nearly assaulted. Profanities are more infrequent when compared to the crime scenes, they bear mentioning though [GD, h*ll and da*n]. Gangs are addressed.)


  1. You know me: I love this show. It's returning for its final stretch of episodes after Thanksgiving. I'm a little sad but also a little bit excited to see what happens next.

  2. Hmmm... you like The Closer!? Yeah, guess that does sound vaguely familiar! lol! ;D

    I was just reading a piece about the show's Christmas episode - it is supposed to be great! But I thought that the run wasn't up until next summer; they were going to return for four or five more episodes as a kind of lead off into the new "replacement" series Major Crimes... perhaps that has changed though.

  3. I'm not entirely sure what is going on -- I assumed the series would finish up next summer, but then I heard there were only five episodes left -- and they said five would air through Nov/Dec, so... I dunno.

  4. I am sure that I read TNT was going to air a handful of episodes this coming summer (2012) but then perhaps that went by the wayside - for whatever reason! It'd be cool if that were the case because I know that at the end of this five-episode span, the case that Brenda is being sued over is going to be wrapped.

    A few more shows next summer would be a nice send-off. =)


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