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1 Store56 Reviews
Pros: Kyra Sedgewick. Entertaining show with good cast.
Cons: Only thirteen episodes. Basically no extras to the set.
In the summer of 2005, a new television show called The Closer started to air on the cable network TNT. The show ended up being very popular and was well liked by critics. I was interested in watching it, but I kept missing the episodes. Early in 2006, TNT aired the episodes again and I was able to see most of them. I really liked the show and picked up The Closer: The Complete First Season DVD set once it was released.
In Los Angeles there were many murders, some of which involved celebrities or even political figures in some ways. The LAPD had sent several higher profile murder cases to the DA with weak evidence which failed to get convictions. A decision was made to form the Priority Murder Squad which would only handle the higher profile cases. Captain Taylor from homicide at the LAPD was in charge of the squad at first. The Chief of police wasn’t happy with the results that Taylor was getting and decided to hire someone from outside the LAPD to run the squad. Brenda Johnson, an interrogator trained by the CIA who had also worked for the Washington, D.C. and Atlanta police forces was hired. She had a reputation for getting confessions that lead to convictions.
Captain Taylor and the officers on the Priority Murder Squad weren’t happy about Brenda being brought in. No one welcomed her with open arms, but a few officers, like Captain Taylor and Detective Andy Flynn were down right hostile. Brenda was good at her job, but the way she did things aggravated the members of the squad and other officers in the LAPD. Even Assistant Chief Will Pope, her boss, got irritated by her at times and they had known each other for years. Brenda and Will had been involved when they were both on the Washington, D.C. police force and things didn’t exactly end well. Brenda was bothered by the way she was treated when she first started the job, but she kept focused on the investigations and closed her cases. She wouldn’t let other officers or even the FBI push her around. She called things as she seemed them, which did ruffle a lot of feathers and gave her a reputation for being hard to work with.
Brenda had been in charge of the squad for a short time before she started investigating her first case. Her first few days on the job, including when she met the officers on the squad, wasn’t shown. Will turned the case over to Brenda and her squad even though other homicide detectives, including Detective Flynn, had already started working the case. That wasn’t the only time that Will did something that just made things worse for Brenda. He seemed to be just covering his own behind sometimes. It was very clear from how the officers acted that none of them wanted to work with Brenda, which did add conflict to several of the episodes. Brenda kept doing her job and she slowly started to win over some of the officers, though a few continued to try to cause her trouble. Sgt. David Gabriel worked with her more than some of the others and seemed to adjust to her a little faster. While juggling her investigations, Brenda did take some time out to start a relationship with Fritz, an FBI agent that she knew from Washington, D.C. The two of them hadn’t seen each other for several years before Brenda took her new job.
The Closer: The Complete First Season followed Brenda and the Priority Murder Squad on their investigations. Each of the thirteen episodes featured a different investigation. I thought that the crimes added some mystery to each episode. Brenda and the members of the squad were shown conducting different aspects of the investigations, from interviewing witnesses to tracking down leads around town. Some of the cases had clues that didn’t seem to add up when Brenda started working on them. She would keep digging, uncovering more, and fit the pieces of the puzzles together to solve the crimes. I was surprised by how several of the cases turned out. I was able to figure out some of the cases, but even then I still really enjoyed the episodes. I was just disappointed that the season didn’t have more than thirteen episodes since I enjoyed the show so much.
All of the crimes that Brenda and the squad worked on were murders, some of them much more violent than others. The bodies of all of the victims were shown and since the show is on a cable station, it didn’t have some of the restrictions that shows on regular networks have. A few of them were in various stages of nudity, with the bare backside of one being shown. The crime scenes and bodies were frequently bloody and even gory at times. The very first episode featured a victim that was shot in the head and the body wasn’t pleasant to see. Several of the bodies were difficult to see and could be upsetting to some viewers. Over the course of the season, several scenes took place during autopsies which was a bit gross. A couple of the murders had also involved rapes, so there were some sexual discussions in some episodes. Violence turned up more than once, including when Brenda was attacked. I didn’t think the violence was too graphic, but some people may feel differently. This isn’t a show that children should see.
The Closer was a serious, dramatic show for the most part. Every show did include some humor that helped to lighten the mood briefly. Brenda was out of her element in Los Angels, so she said and did a lot of things that I thought were funny. She had no sense of direction, constantly got lost, and couldn’t parallel park. Brenda’s ability to get lost became a recurring joke for the series. In one episode, she came up with a very unique way of getting on the grounds of a home when they couldn’t get the security gate to open. Brenda ended up sort of adopting a cat and her reactions to the cat were really funny, especially she found out that her male cat was actually female and she’d just had kittens. The kittens were adorable and slowly won her over while causing antics around the house. At the end of one episode, she got David to go take care of the kittens while she was still out of town and he was having to chase them everywhere. I think one of the funniest things happened in the last episode. Detective Lt. Provenza started to impersonate Brenda at a crime scene before she arrived, issuing assignments to the other officers. He even did her southern accent and it was hilarious when Brenda arrived and caught him. She went along with him and even encouraged him to finish up when she was leaving the scene.
During the first episode, Fritz and Brenda met again after having not seen each other for several years. He was clear then that he was interested in seeing more of her. Brenda seemed a little unsure of how to deal with that. She’d had some bad luck with romance in the past and she wasn’t sure how to handle what was going on. She really did like spending time with Fritz, though she tended to get sidetracked at work and would forget about their dates. Fritz never gave up on her though and they were slowly building a relationship. That didn’t detract at all from the investigations that Brenda and the squad worked on. The relationship between her and Fritz only received a few minutes of time per episode, so it wasn’t a main focus of the show. As the season progressed, it became clear that they had a sexual relationship without there being actual sex scenes. They were shown kissing several times and there were a few sexual situations. I think their relationship will continue to grow during the second season of the show.
The Closer really has an ensemble cast and the plots of the episodes were done in a way that required the characters to work together. Some characters were featured a bit more than others and ended up with more to do. Brenda was the main character and developed the most of all of the characters. A lot of people tended to underestimate her when first meeting her because she was blonde and had a southern accent. She was a strong, independent woman that wouldn’t let others push her around. She could be demanding to work for and had a tendency to issue a lot of orders to the officers in her squad. She always followed them up with a thank you. She used that phrase all the time, though there could be all sorts of hidden meanings, depending on the tone and way she said it. Brenda acted a bit cool when working, but some of the investigations, one in particular, really got to her. She had a soft spot inside, which is how she ended up with a cat that had six kittens. She wasn’t as confident about things in her life outside of work. I thought she was a more realistic character because she had flaws. Brenda had a weakness for chocolate and sugary treats. She would try to resist them, but she usually broke down and had something. She had treats stashed in her office and she would sneak them at different times. She savored the treats she did eat and got so much enjoyment out of them. Kyra Sedgewick was really good in the part. I thought she was believable as Brenda.
None of the rest of the characters were as developed as Brenda. That didn’t bother me since the main focus of the series was the investigations. Will Pope was the assistant chief of police for the LAPD and Brenda’s boss. The two of them had a relationship several years before when they both worked for the Washington, D.C. police force that hadn’t ended well. That did add a bit of tension between the two of them. Will seemed to still have feelings for Brenda even though he was married. He even acted like he was jealous of her relationship with Fritz at times. Most of the time he backed up Brenda, but he did a few things that showed he was just trying to cover himself. He said he was her friend and then he went and blabbed about something related to Brenda’s past to someone when he had no business saying anything about that. J.K. Simmons handled the part well. Some people may recognize him from the part he played in Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.
Fritz Howard was an FBI agent that had been living in Los Angeles for a few years. He contacted Brenda related to her first case and made it clear that he was interested in dating her. Fritz was very patient with her, willing to wait while she was wrapped up in a case. He didn’t even really get upset when she forgot dates. He was willing to do just about anything to make her happy, including picking up her cat from the vet or using his FBI connections to help her with investigations. He wanted their relationship to move forward and was a bit frustrated that Brenda kept trying to avoid that subject. Fritz didn’t really trust Will and believed the other man was still interested in Brenda. Jon Tenney wasn’t in as much of the episodes of some of the others. He did a good job with the scenes he did have.
Sgt. Detective David Gabriel had been with the LAPD for a while before the Priority Murder Squad was formed. He really wanted to be a part of the squad, though he wasn’t happy that Brenda was put in charge. She relied on him for a lot of things, including driving her around when she first got to town. He was a good detective that sometimes felt like Brenda wasn’t using him to his full potential in investigations. As he worked with her longer, he started to change his mind about her and come to like and respect her. He was frequently in the middle of some of the conflicts around the station since he had been very loyal to Captain Taylor. That started to change as he saw what Taylor was willing to do to get rid of Brenda. Corey Reynolds was good in the part. Detective Lt. Provenza had been on the force for a long time. He was a good detective, but he was a bit of a chauvinist and didn’t always think before he said things. He had a big problem with anyone sitting on his desk. I liked G.W. Bailey in the part. Many people may know him from the part he played in the Police Academy movies.
Captain Taylor had been with the LAPD for years and he had a lot of ambition to get more promotions. He had been known to take short cuts in investigations to close them, which is why so many cases had weak evidence. He was very bitter about no long being in charge of the Priority Murder Squad. He hated that Brenda was now in charge of the squad and actually outranked him. Many men were loyal to him, but that started to change as Taylor kept trying to sabotage Brenda. He proved that he would turn on his own mother if he thought it would protect his own behind or benefit his career in some way. He was not a nice man. Taylor was more of a flat character, but that worked for the show.
Detective Andy Flynn had been in homicide for a few years before Captain Taylor sent him to help out on Brenda’s squad. Flynn treated her horribly and plotted a lot with Captain Taylor. Brenda actually defended Flynn late in the season, which started him to change his opinion and treatment of her. Lieutenant Mike Tao was the officer that Brenda turned to for things related to computers and electronics. Mike was intelligent, and sometimes when he was explaining things related to a case, he started to lecture or talk down to the others. Detective Julio Sanchez lost his cool during investigations at times. He did a lot of flirting with Detective Irene Daniels. Irene was good at putting him right back in his place.
G.W. Bailey - Detective Lt. Provenza
Michael Paul Chan - Lieutenant Mike Tao
Raymond Cruz - Detective Julio Sanchez
Tony Denison - Detective Andy Flynn
Robert Gossett - Captain Taylor
Gina Ravera - Detective Irene Daniels
Corey Reynolds - Sgt. Detective David Gabriel
Kyra Sedgwick - Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson
J.K. Simmons - Asst. Police Chief Will Pope
Jon Tenney - Agent Fritz Howard
The Closer: The Complete First Season was released as a DVD set in May of 2006. The set has four DVDs that are in two thin plastic cases, two DVDs per case. On the outside of each case is a listing of the episodes on each disc along with a short plot summary. The only extras included for the set are some deleted scenes for six of the episodes. A few of the deleted scenes looked like they were just alternate versions of scenes that did air. It would have been nice if there had been other extras, like maybe some interviews with the cast.
Episodes with a * after the name have unaired scenes
Pilot - Original Air Date 6/13/05
About Face * - Original Air Date 6/20/05
The Big Picture * - Original Air Date 6/27/05
Show Yourself - Original Air Date 7/4/05
Flashpoint - Original Air Date 7/11/05
Fantasy Date - Original Air Date 7/18/05
You Are Here - Original Air Date 7/25/05
Batter Up - Original Air Date 8/1/05
Good Housekeeping * - Original Air Date 8/8/05
The Butler Did It * - Original Air Date 8/15/05
L.A. Woman * - Original Air Date 8/22/05
Fatal Retraction - Original Air Date 8/29/05
Standards and Practices * - Original Air Date 09/5/05
The Closer: The Complete First Season is a DVD set that is worth getting even though it lacks extras because the show itself is so strong. People that enjoy police shows should give this one a chance. Fans of the cast may also enjoy the show and should check out this DVD set.
The second season of The Closer started airing on TNT on June 12, 2006. The show is on at 9:00 PM EST on Mondays.
The Closer: The Complete Second Season ~ The Closer: The Complete Third Season ~ The Closer: The Complete Fourth Season ~