PTR Staff Writer
One of the things that instantly hooked me when The Closer first ever came to TNT was its opening sequence – brief cuts of a crime scene punctuated by the simple, cut-to-white-on-black opening titles. Now into its third season, the sequence still gets me. I even consider it one of the better opening sequences of any crime procedural.
So, when this week’s second episode of Season 3, “Grave Doubts,” opened with what appeared to be a body lying motionless on a bed, under a pile of white sheets, leg outstretched over the end of the mattress, hand draped over the side … well, I was thinking this was going to be pretty good.
And it was.
Except that body was Brenda’s.
She was rising a bit later than usual whilst simultaneously discovering Fritz had accidentally answered her phone line the day before, which of course just happened to have had Brenda’s father on the other end. You know, the still-doesn’t-know-I’m-living-with-a-man father of which Brenda so desperately lives in fear …? More on this later in our broadcast.
While the episode started off on a lighter note, the case certainly was anything but – a young gang member’s body unearthed by a construction crew and of who is discovered to have Lieutenant Provenza’s card in his decaying wallet.
So begins the case, with Provenza doing his best not to appear senile as he tracks down his old notes to determine the kid had gone missing in 1992 – right around the time the Los Angeles Riots had swept through the city and of which had further placed the LAPD on the less-than-popular list amongst many in the city.
The investigation leads Brenda and the team to first suspect a priest (Father Jack – not to be confused with Captain Jack … Pirates anyone?), who is known for reforming gang youth but uses questionable methods to do so. This then leads to the victim’s brother (Kenyon), who is another reformed gang member now running for a City Council spot.
Not exactly the opportune time to pull him in for questioning on a murder investigation.
Perhaps what surprised me most about this episode was the personal conflict between Brenda and Sergeant Gabriel over Kenyon’s arrest in the killing of his brother. Gabriel strongly believed in Kenyon’s work in the community, the fact he had dedicated his life to “making a difference” all the while using his brother’s death as the catalyst to do so. Fearing his arrest would send the wrong message, Gabriel essentially wanted Brenda to look the other way.
A big no-no when you’re playing on Brenda’s team.
“I’m not sending a message. I’m solving a murder … We don’t get to live in a world where we get to kill people and then decide how to make up for it.”
Gabriel's personal struggle (and his inability to let it go) garnered a bit of tension between the usually amicable pair. Perhaps even more personal than Gabriel was Provenza as he came to terms with knowing his own bitterness 15 years ago left him unable to “follow up with a kid [the murder victim] who wanted to turn his life around.”
And now back to our lighter moment programming (which was well placed in this rather tense episode) …
It centered around Brenda trying to phone her father to explain .. well, explain Fritz only be told he doesn’t want to talk to her and instead has sent her a letter (GASP! “The last time I got a letter from my daddy, I was a freshman in college. I got a B- in history. He told me I should think about being a stewardess.”)
But all’s well that ends well. Even with the hysterical letter-is-here-do-you-want-me-to-open-it-yes-no-yes-no routine between Brenda and Fritz, it seems dad isn’t quite so stodgy after all. He does forgive, too.
New episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. on TNT.