LB: Second Thoughts About THE CLOSER

by Larry Brody

Yesterday I complained about one of my no-longer-favorite shows, THE CLOSER. I was pretty steamed, and said the following:

…[A] week ago the series came back after a hiatus with a much altered Brenda. A cruel, abusive bitch who was perfectly willing to sacrifice a rape victim’s sanity to get her man.  The Southern charm which sheathed the character’s iron will for so long is gone.  And the iron will is a barbed, pointy razor. It looks like the show is headed for an ending (it’s going off the air at the end of the season) in which Brenda is fired/humiliated/possibly even jailed. As well she should be.

Last night, in spite of my good (or were they bad?) intentions, I watched the next episode, and…erm…um…it wasn’t so bad.

That is, it was bad, but in a classic TV cop show/procedural kind of way: A comedy episode featuring Flynn and Provenza, TNT’s answer to Laurel and Hardy, that went way over the top, bending real reality,  TV reality, and even THE CLOSER’s specific reality in more ways than Hugh Laurie used to violate the Hippocratic Oath on HOUSE.

Which means…sigh…I loved it.

Who cares about overcooked dialog and overwrought acting from an incredibly hammy guest star? What matters is that the basic feeling, the camaraderie that has been an integral part of the series since Episode 1 was back with a vengeance. And I appreciate vengeance. In fact, some of the most enjoyable moments of my life have occurred while exacting it–

 Oops. TMI. So sorry.

To cut to the chase – which the episode I just watched didn’t have – I’ve decided to forgive and forget. To cut Kyra and her support troops (she’s the Executive Producer, you know, which makes her the best-looking showrunner in town) more than the usual slack and watch the remaining three or four episodes. If I’m lucky, Evil Brenda will fulfill her arc with me understanding/empathizing instead of hating her…and there will be more hilariously out of place moments between Flynn and Provenza, and maybe even Provenza’s wonderfully  real (especially considering the script circumstances) First Ex-Wife.

Another Thought to Tack On: Like any True Fan, I’ve been trying to figure out who the mole in Brenda’s Major Crimes Division is. Until now, I was absolutely certain that we would learn it was none other than Chief Pope, who’s been sabotaging Brenda ever since she entered the race for L.A.P.D. Chief.

I’m no longer so sure, though, because Sgt.Gabriel, usually the primo of her detectives and the one who gets the most lines/face time, has had absolutely nothing to do and almost nothing to say in both recent episodes. Why play him down unless it’s to make it easier – structurally -to do a big and heartbreaking end-of-series reveal? He is, after all, the most idealistic of all the cops here, which makes him the one most likely to react to Brenda’s fascist pig (just a generational reference, kids; you can ignore it) the way I would – which is to say to do everything in his power, no matter how much he likes her, to get her to stop.

We’ll see in a few weeks.

Unless the show drives me nuts again and I go away.

About LB

Larry Brody has been profiled in such national magazines and websites as Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Starlog, People, Electronic Media, IndieSlate, TechTV, io9, and of course TV Guide. A legendary figure in the television writing and production world, with a career going back to the late ’60s, Brody has written and produced literally thousands of hours of network and syndicated television. Brody has also been active in the TV animation world, writing, creating, consulting, and/or supervising the cult favorite STAR TREK animated TV series, the SILVER SURFER, SPAWN, SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN, and SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series, and was showrunner of the French animated series, DIABOLIK, as well as part of the team that developed and wrote the live-action/cgi animation sci-fi series Ace Lightning for the BBC. Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys.

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