Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Closer Season 3 Episode 1: "Homewrecker"

Tonight’s episode, “Homewrecker”, starts out much differently than most of the other of episodes of The Closer. Normally an episode begins with the murder, or with Brenda struggling with some personal aspect of life in Los Angeles or sorting out her relationship with her boyfriend, FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard.

Instead, the episode opened up with choppy video interviews involving different detectives of the Priority Homicide Division. You can tell it’s filmed by a handheld camcorder. As it turns out, the murder scene is being recorded by forensics people for presentation in the upcoming court case. Once Brenda and her team of highly trained investigators figure out whodunit.

The beginning plays a little off and not as personal as many episodes do, but it quickly regains that feeling. The story was intriguing, and the mystery seemed like it was over almost as soon as it got started. Which would’ve been a disappointment. But I can always count on the writers to throw in a lot of twists when it comes to Brenda finding out who the murderer actually is.

A mother, a father, and a twelve year old daughter lie murdered in their home. Even as the PHD team is processing the scene and gathering information, a cell phone rings in the attic. When they break into the attic they find the couple’s seventeen year old son strung out on drugs. He claims have been in the house when his parents and sister were killed – but he didn’t hear anything.

It takes Brenda just seconds to totally rip his story to shreds. Then the truth begins to emerge. A very tangled and twisted truth that took me in a direction that I found surprising.

Watching Brenda work is magic as always. She puts together the incongruencies about the case and figures out her trap to bring the murder to justice and get the confession she needs to close the case.

In the meantime, financial cutbacks at the LAPD have forced the department to release new financial guidelines. According to these guidelines, one member of every team – including Brenda’s PHD team – is going to have to be transferred to a different department or face an early retirement. Detective Lieutenant Provenza’s neck is on the chopping block.

To add further stress to her life, which all the viewers of the show have come to love, Fritz – Brenda's live-in FBI special agent boyfriend – is putting pressure on her to go house-hunting. She protests and says she doesn’t have time, especially with the triple homicide she’s currently working. But longtime fans of the show know that the truth is Brenda hates any kind of change.

I have to admit, the show does play into a lot of fantasy element, but I love it. Case in point, Brenda moved the body at one of the crime scenes. No way, no how would a seasoned investigator do something like that. It corrupts the evidence and interrupts chain of custody. Another point is when Brenda confronts the murder and ends up dumping the victims’ clothing on the table between them to up the emotional stakes. That would not be done either. Again, the chain of custody would be interrupted as well as the evidence being subject to getting tossed out and of the courtroom and the case.

All and all, though, the episode was everything I’ve come to expect from the show. The laughs were there, the compassion was there, and – most of all – Brenda’s neurosis and personal problems marked everything she did.

In case you missed this one, I hope you DVRed this one because it was a classic episode of the series. Also, I hope you recorded the earlier broadcast. The second broadcast of the evening was not aired commercial-free.

And the season is just beginning! Will Brenda and Fritz find a house? Stay tuned.

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