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.
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. :|