The Closer

Season 2 Episode 8

Critical Missing

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jul 31, 2006 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
211 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Rated: TV-14-LV
When the drowned bodies of a mother and daughter are found by fishermen, Brenda and the team must determine if the apparent suicides are more than that. Following a strange coil of discoveries, the most surprising revelation that surfaces is one about the killer.

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  • In a real departure for this series, Brenda not only has to catch the suspect in a lie -- she has to figure out if he's even legitimately a suspect.

    The questions are all good, but I think one of the main things the writers did correctly was to pit Brenda -- the irresistable force -- up against a pathological liar -- an immovable object.

    Her experience tells her something is off about this guy, but for confessions she needs them to actually tell her things.

    And this guy was guarded. And humanly, she knew that in this situation, if the guy hadn't done anything wrong, he might burst into an unstoppable stream of absolutely everything that's every happened to him in his entire life ... or he might react in exactly the way he was reacting.

    It was hard to know. She was dealing with a Brit. Concerning a potentially valid Japanese murder-suicide ritual. Brenda had cultural filters to negotiate from across two oceans.

    So she treaded carefully. She burned rubber getting the vics' identities confirmed while instictively trusting that she knew what was going on and holding the husband. Knowing that she couldn't be treading dangerous ground if indeed it [i]wasn't[/i] him, she was appropriately circumspect as to what stage of the investigation she was at at every given turn. She never revealed too much. She never violated his rights. She remembered every piece of evidence all the way through and ultimately he'd given her enough embroidery to ferret out the cloth of his lies buried beneath.

    This was a pathological liar who had murdered at least three people and it didn't [i]matter[/i] to him. The enormity of his actions didn't affect him in the slightest.

    And that's why she was reserving her rage all the way through. The murder of two women was one thing -- she's proven again and again that she can at least understand motivations behind some murders. But the murder of a four-year-old girl -- in cold blood -- his freeqin' [i]daughter[/i] besides -- that she could never understand or forgive.

    Kyra is a fantastic actress. So is Brenda. When faced with this sociopath, she asked glancing questions and let him spin his web. His asserted belief that his wife and daughter were still alive led him to share information her team could track down. And it was always true, but there was always just enough off about it that she kept digging.

    And she maintained good policework. Her belief that they'd returned and had been picked up was key to Sanchez tracking down that tape, tracking it to the owner and tracking down the forensic evidence.

    And her conversation with Fritz ...

    She was so upset that he could get a deal. That she'd needed to compromise her investigation enough in securing the confession that this animal could go free was offesnive to her. At least two bowls of ice cream offensive. It was nice to include Fritz in her epiphany, but she'd probably have figured it out herself. She'd worked so hard in turning an apparent murder-suicide into first-degree murder that she'd gotten too close, and the detail of his full-circle pattern -- disposing of them where he'd married them -- had slipped out of place.

    One night of sleep would've probably done it.

    The team was perfect as usual, and the case extremely interesting throughout. The killer was charming and believeable.

    Every so often they throw her a cuveball -- a charismatic, all-but-unnailable perp -- and I love it. She's just so damn' [i]good[/i].

    Did she catch some breaks? Of course. The guy keeping the boxes unopened was a real find. That he used the same knots for that purpose as to bind a body was another break.

    But the work itself was incredibly good work, and all the actors pulled it off.

    I liked this one. Motive remained unclear because if she'd had a motive she'd be jumping up and down on it. Yumi's audacity in leaving him could easily have been enough -- I don't think this was a well character, nor do I thing he was meant to be. It was psychological, twisted and came down to how she could catch the bad guy even in the face of the long period of uncertainty as to whether he was the right guy in the first place.

    But he was. And she did.

    Well done.

    P.S. -- Fritz seems to be nearing a breaking point with her, which is sad, because her solve and conviction rate must be through the roof. Professionally, she's at her peak. She really is as amazing as she seems and it's sad that life with her seems to be wearing on him as much as it seems to be.

    It feels like he's building up to say something out loud, and I get the sense that it's gonna devastate her.

    Man, I hope I'm wrong. :|moreless
  • Paul: "Do I really seem like such a monster to you?" Brenda: "You look human enough."

    Paul Andres was a tough character to read. His naturalistic performance made him look very innocent. He was calm and relaxed when he was being interrogated, and he appeared shocked when he found his wife and daughter were murdered. In fact, his face seemed to beam whenever he spoke about his daughter, that I just had such a hard time believing he could kill her. James Frain did an excellent job with the character, and he probably deserves a whole review just about his performance.

    We got a long drawn out interrogation today, something we haven’t seen before. I really liked how during the interrogation Brenda was able to subtly drop hints to her team on what she wanted then to check out.

    Kyra Segwick did an excellent job during the interrogation at displaying Brenda's uneasiness on whether to continue grilling Paul. What if he really was innocent? Did she really want to make Paul discuss his tragic past when he just found out his wife and daughter were murdered? I even found myself doubting Brenda (I know, shame on me), because like Lt Tao said: she usually gets a confession faster. Brenda really struggled with this case, and it was nice to see a confession not come so nice and easy to her.

    This was a strong episode, but fairly different then past ones. We never got a motive for Paul's actions, which I'm sure is realistic of life, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. What we do know though is that Paul was a pathological liar and a murderer, and I guess the knowledge that he deserved to go to jail will have to be enough to keep me content.

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - Brenda seems to be getting more emotional with each case. Could her job finally be getting to her?

    - I sensed tension between Brenda and Pope today. Brenda: (to Pope) "Don't tell me how to run this case." I wonder how things will work out between them.

    - I loved Brenda finally giving in to her sugar cravings and practically eating out the sides of the ice cream box.

    - Paul: "I remember someone told me…that if you were locked in a library of the world's miseries you would be lead almost inexorably to choose your own, because it's the pain you're most familiar with."

    - Brenda: "Well I think if nothing else it's fair to say that Paul Andrews has a type. Either that or the girl he fell in love with keeps rising from the dead."

    - Paul's girlfriend seemed was a likely suspect, especially with her strong "It's my house now" statements. How did Brenda know it was Paul so early on? I guess it was just a gut feeling.

    Final Rating: I really liked this one, but was it a four? I'm not sure what to rate this episode as.

    - Tim Bronx

    Find this and many other reviews at: www.motionpicturereviews.commoreless
  • Suicide ain't at all just that!

    When a fisherman is fishing in the harbor of LA

    He finds the bodies of both a mother and a daughter

    As Brenda finds out that the suicides weren't at all

    That, she suspects that murder is invovled and that the killer is on the loose.

    She plays cat and mouse with the killer.

    Interrogation scenes are very tense as indeed, Brenda will make you talk!
  • creatures of habit...

    So this was interesting. Crazy man – nice quiet British man, not even a citizen, is brought in for questioning after bodies turn up that could be his wife and daughter. The questioning is being delayed while the identities are confirmed. As they dig more and more into the history of this man, the team finds that his first wife went missing, body never found. Second wife “left” the county and then the bodies turn up missing, and he has a girlfriend. The interesting thing is that all women look alike, could be twins as Taylor points out. Turns out that this is his pattern – find a quiet, subservient wife and then kill her when things don’t go according to his plan.moreless
  • Brenda is facing the most thrilling interview ever. The man whose wife and daughter are found death in the water is probably Brenda's hardest case to unravel.

    Until the very end you really cannot tell if the guy's guilty or not and for the first time you get the idea that Brenda too is in trouble understanding the truth. Kyra is truly at best in this episode: you really got the impression she is striving for the thruth, going through all of the doubts that us viewers are. Even in the end, when you understand the man is guilty it seems so plausible and the whole "discovery path" so co-herent that I did not miss the usual banters that much. Very nice by the end of the episode, Fritz bothered in bed by Brenda's talking about the day gives her a hint for a final discovery. Great!moreless
J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Assistant Police Chief Will Pope

Corey Reynolds

Corey Reynolds

Sgt. David Gabriel

Robert Gossett

Robert Gossett

Commander Russell Taylor

G.W. Bailey

G.W. Bailey

Detective Lt. Louis Provenza

Tony Denison

Tony Denison

Detective Lt. Andy Flynn

Jon Tenney

Jon Tenney

FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard

Saemi Nakamura

Saemi Nakamura


Guest Star

Ivan Shaw

Ivan Shaw


Guest Star

James Frain

James Frain

Paul Andrews

Special Guest Star

Phillip P. Keene

Phillip P. Keene

Buzz Watson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Paul tells Brenda he and his second wife were married at Ports O' Call. Ports O' Call Village is a shopping and dining area located in San Pedro, and is part of the Port of Los Angeles. San Pedro is one of many unincorporated communities in the City of Los Angeles.

    • The team learns Paul and his first wife were married at the Gloria Arboretum, a fictional location. The Los Angeles area has two arboreta, both operated by the County of Los Angeles, neither of which is located within the City of Los Angeles.

    • In this episode, we learn that while Lt. Tao is Chinese, his wife is Japanese.

  • QUOTES (1)

  • NOTES (6)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: May 29, 2007 on Prima

    • The Port of Los Angeles is located 20 miles south of downtown LA, on San Pedro Bay, adjoining the Port of Long Beach. It encompasses 43 miles of waterfront, and includes the World Cruise Center and 26 cargo terminals, making it one of the largest container ports in the world. The Port of Los Angeles has its own police department which enforces federal, state and local public safety ordinances within the Port area, and has special dive team, cargo theft and drug trafficking units. The port also has four fire stations and a fleet of five fire boats that includes the Warner Lawrence, the world's most powerful.

    • In this episode, Brenda's team works in cooperation with the LAPD Harbor Division. Because of the LAPD's size and emphasis on community policing, much of its administration, routine policing and investigation is decentralized into 19 Divisions. The Harbor Division covers the Port of Los Angeles area, including San Pedro, Terminal Island, and Wilmington.

    • This episode of The Closer carried an advisory warning due to subject matter.

    • James Frain is listed as a 'Special Guest Star' in the opening credits.

    • This is the second time that James Frain had played a character named Paul. On 24, he played a character named Paul Raines.