7 Things: My Favorite Episodes #6 – The Closer

Counting down my favorite episodes from The Closer. Some of the best writing. Some of the best moments. The best overall. Per me.

Of course, there will be a few spoilers. Though, nothing too spoilery, I don’t think.

7 – Homewrecker 3.1

The first episode of The Closer‘s third season opens intense and just gets more so as it goes along, leading up to an ending that has brought tears to my eyes the probably half-dozen times I’ve watched it. The first scene gives quick glimpses of the emotional depth of characters normally portrayed as professional and stoic, and Brenda’s unusual methods of getting answers out of a suspect is at the top of its awesomeness. The twist ending is brilliant, which is where the acting by guest star Kevin Sheridan – who turned in another excellent guest performance recently on Criminal Minds – really shines.

6 – Dial M for Provenza 4.5

Any Provenza/Flynn-centric episode of The Closer scores with me, because their characters simply pop on-screen together. Of the humor-laden Provenza/Flynn-centric episodes, this one scores as one of the highest. The first scene alone could make the entire episode, but the last scene sends it over the fence. Plus, Jennifer Coolidge is the perfect guest star.

5 – Make Over 5.14

Another Provenza/Flynn-centric episode and first-rate guest run for the series, Beau Bridges is near-perfect in the role of Provenza’s transgender ex-partner who returns to LA to serve as a trial witness. The jokes directed at Bridges’ character can be a little scathing at times, but also come across as exactly the kinds of things that these crass, somewhat misogynistic characters would say. And Brenda’s lack of concern over the trans nature of her witness softens the blows. Though it takes a while to get there, the message of unconditional love and acceptance is clear by the end.

4 – Fantasy Date 1.6

By far, the hardest episode of the series to watch for me, Fantasy Date happens at just the right time in the series. When the case takes a personal and terrifying turn for Brenda, she doesn’t have anyone she feels to whom she can turn and that gives it more of an emotional punch than it already carries. The script is strong, wielding a stomach-churning four-word snippet of dialogue that sums up a blase attitude about rape that only a male could ever hold – “It was just rape” – which, delivered to a woman who had just barely escaped being a rape victim gives it even greater impact.

The acting in this episode is perfect, one of Kyra’s best eps of the entire series and the first moment that I realized how much I was going to love Jon Tenney as Fritz.

Plus, as in this list’s #7 Homewrecker, the murderer is just as much a victim as the murdered.

3 – Smells Like Murder 5.10

One thing I enjoy about The Closer is that Brenda’s personal life is not a side note. The show is a procedural, for sure, but it’s a procedural with serial drama sensibilities. What Brenda’s got going on in her personal life bleeds into her work and vice versa. No place may that fact be more on display than in this episode.

At work, there’s a nasty dead body smelling up the office. At home, there’s a nasty niece trying to make trouble. When the two come together, they result in a solution to Brenda’s dilemma regarding how to figure out who her murderer is from the long list of suspects. Of course, her epiphany comes from being stoned against her will, a scene which gives both Kyra and Jon Tenney another chance to shine.

2 – Time Bomb 4.10

If I have any beefs with this episode, it’s that The Closer team made a big thing about the fact that they would be “losing one of their own” or something to that effect. Then, they shot one male member of Brenda’s predominantly male squad during a moment of heroism, let him survive, and sent off the only female member of Brenda’s squad, aside from Brenda, three episodes later with scarcely a whimper. It was foreshadowing of A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster on Criminal Minds, and a reminder of how expendable the females in a cast are to showrunners.

Aside from personal grrrrs, though, and a bit of false advertising, the episode truly was one of their best. It was one of the few moments where the entire cast had to work together in an explosive way, and it worked.

1 – Next of Kin (I & II) 3.14 & 3.15

If you watch The Closer, you already know that Brenda’s parents are wonders to behold. This episode brings them to the forefront and lets most of the cast play with them. The main plot of the episode is worthwhile in itself, but watching Brenda’s mama, Willie Ray, singing Christmas carols while driving Brenda, Fritz, members of Brenda’s squad and a suspect back across the country is fun to the eighth power.

Then, in the midst of the humor, there are a few moments where Brenda’s parents demonstrate disappointment in her actions and where Brenda tries to explain herself and her motivations to her parents – in, perhaps, the harshest possible way – that remind viewers that sometimes things aren’t quite as simple as stringing a few colored lights for the holidays.

I do have one major problem with this episode. Brenda’s parents decided to take in a boy who had no one. Then, the writers promptly forgot all about him.

Though they don’t come from my favorite episodes over all, I would also like to give a shout-out to some seriously great lines from The Closer. First is Brenda’s monologue in Serving the King (ep 2.15), which is masterfully-written by show creator James Duff and Mike Berchem, brilliantly delivered and beautifully shot. It’s long, so I won’t post it, but, if you’re interested, you can find it here —>  I’ll see your metaphor and raise you a toast.

Also, there’s this special exchange from writer Ken Martin in Heart Attack (ep 6.5) —> The last line slaps you.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.