The Closer

Season 3 Episode 6

Dumb Luck

2
Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jul 23, 2007 on TNT

Episode Recap

The PHD squad arrives at a crime scene to find Provenza struggling with crime scene tape, and fuming at the delay in the rest of the team's arrival. A personal trainer, Glen Cooper, has been murdered with a garrote in a parking lot. Brenda is lying on the ground near the body. She says she is feverish, dizzy and nauseated from the cold medicine she took earlier, but feels well enough to complain about the squad's response time, and tells them they have to cover this case for Robbery Homicide Division due to a sudden case overload. Brenda is so ill that instead of spitting out assignments as usual, she tells them vaguely to "get busy with something" so she can talk to Gabriel. When questioned as to the squad's whereabouts, Gabriel tells her that as per Chief Pope, the squad has been participating in a WMD training exercise. Clearly sick, Brenda confesses that she can't recall seeing the written notice Gabriel says he handed her earlier that very day. Thinking the training complete, Brenda is dismayed to learn that she'd called the squad away with only 17 minutes left to go to complete the training, which meand they will have to begin all over again, and the completion deadline is only 2 days away.

With an assist from Gabriel, Brenda gets off the ground to begin the investigation, fuming about Pope and his budget cuts. She stomps off to interview the parking attendant, Kenny Woods, who swears he saw nothing in the "Toyota section" of the lot where the body was found. Gabriel notes many toothbrushes in the attendant's booth, and Kenny is clearly distressed to see Gabriel touching his things.

Entering the autopsy room, and after requesting a personal exam from the coroner for her symptoms - and being refused, Pope calls her out, complaining about her interference with the squad's completion of WMD training. They argue about which is more important, the training or the murder. Pope has the final word, telling Brenda the government subsidy for the training is essential to his budget, and the training has been rescheduled for the next morning. But Brenda needs her squad to help run the investigation...

Dr. Morales' exam of the victim reveals that the victim had a specific, and unique, Italian meal before his death, and the body shows evidence of the use of a stun gun.

Detective Daniels has learned that the victim didn't charge his meal, noting that his credit cards were maxed out, but that, curiously, he has been withdrawing the $500.00 maximum out of a teller machine every day, for a total of $20,000.00 in cash. Blackmail? Expensive drug habit? Provenza has traced the restaurant where the victim had his last meal, using the unique pasta dish the victim had consumed. The waiter had remembered the victim, and that Glen Cooper had dined with a blonde. Provenza waved the credit card receipt - the blonde had paid the tab, and amused everyone, including Brenda, with an impromptu imitation of her: "Thank you. Thank you very much."

Arriving at the home of the blonde, Tiffany Lewis, Brenda and Gabriel are astonished when the woman, clearly nervous about their presence when her husband asks to know who they are, introduces them as Mormons. Admitting she knew the deceased, Tiffany begs for a private discussion. Brenda gives her a 2 hours time limit to appear in her office.

Fritz has accompanied Brenda to the doctor. Clearly annoyed that she's been made to wait for 45 minutes, Brenda takes a call from her squad and says she is returning to work. Fritz objects, but Brenda flies out, and despite the receptionist's objections, Fritz heads toward the exam rooms.

Arriving at PHD, and still feeling ill, Brenda is informed of the progress thus far. Tiffany Lewis' credit card statements reveal that she has charged several expensive dinners, and multiple 5-star hotel rooms as well.

Confronting Tiffany, the archetypal dumb blonde trophy wife, she admits her guilt, startling Brenda, who asks what, exactly, Tiffany is confessing to. "I didn't know it was against the law in California to have an affair" she cries. Brenda and Gabriel exchange glances, eyes rolling. When informed of her lover's death, she dissolves into hysterics. Also, she reveals that her husband is an efficiency expert, and an all-around control freak with an iron-clad prenuptial agreement.

Lt. Tao confirms the cell phone used to make the 911 call is owned by a man who was eating in a different nearby restaurant, but says the phone was left in his car, parked in the lot where the murder had occurred. Brenda notes that Kenny had they key to that car, and therefore access to the phone. Flynn reports that he's just placed Kenny in an interview room, and had a talk with the man's uncle and employer. The uncle also said that Kenny suffered from OCD. The uncle also said that the only place the "Toyota section" of the lot existed was in Kenny's head. Asking if Kenny has had any previous run-ins with the LAPD, Brenda is made aware of two previous complaints on file, both of which were from parking customers who were assaulted when they didn't park to Kenny's compulsive standards.

In the interview room with Kenny, Brenda and Provenza play the 911 recording. The caller clearly states that someone has been strangled to death in the "Toyota section" of the lot. Kenny denies making the call, but Brenda tells him his fingerprints are on the phone used to make the call. Clearly agitated, Kenny admits making the call, but refuses to say more until he can go home and brush and floss his teeth. Brenda runs through a plausible scenario of how Kenny did see the killer, took keys, locked himself in a nearby car and used the available phone to make the 911 call. Kenny swears he didn't see and can't identify the killer. Playing to his paranoia, Brenda agrees that she can't compel him to talk, but reminds him that killers typically don't like leaving witnesses alive...and Kenny has been at the station for a while now. She suggests he might want to be extra careful at work that night.

As Brenda and Provenza leave the room, Kenny is screaming for protection. "From who?" Brenda demands. "From the guy", her shaken witness says. They ask for details about the suspect, such as height, weight, and general appearance. Kenny, at the end of his rope, throws himself into a corner, swearing the man will kill him if he talks. He begs to be allowed to stay at the station.

At home over dinner, Brenda and Fritz are discussing Brenda's symptoms. Brenda is blowing them off, chalking the heart palpitations up to the cold medicine, the fever up to the cold and the rest up to stress. Fritz isn't buying it, but is thrown for a loop when Brenda dissolves into tears over having to solve the murder with only Provenza while the rest of her squad complete the WMD training. Fritz has an idea how Brenda can have both.

While five squad members, dressed in hazmat suits and head gear, look on, Brenda argues with the official in charge of the WMD training, Mr. Cox. Reading him the list of acceptable locations for the training(no doubt pointed out to her by Fritz the night before), she concludes that as an official government building, Parker Center is a potential target for a terrorist attack, and qualifies as an acceptable place for the training. Unhappy with her circumvention of the spirit of the exercise, Mr. Cox tells her that the suits must stay on for the full eight hours, that she has to communicate with the participating team members via radio, and that they also have to perform some sort of rescue within the training time. He informs Brenda that, according to the government's paperwork, her squad is both a homicide team and a bomb squad.

Brenda attacks Pope, as this is the first chance she's had since learning that this mess was part of Gabriel's scheme to save one squad member. Again, she's hit by a dizzy spell, and again, she dissolves into uncharacteristic tears.

Having had Tiffany's husband, Bob Lewis, brought in for questioning, Commander Taylor walks in on Brenda's tantrum to ask what she'd like him to do with both Bob and Kenny, who is still there. Brenda sends Kenny to Buzz, and the husband to an interview room. Mr. Lewis asks for a lawyer immediately, but Brenda cons him into proceeding by showing him a written list of questions, and suggests he might like to read them first in the interest of saving time before making that decision. They review the list together, as Mr. Lewis is annoyed by his inability to decipher Brenda's handwriting. Her first question is answered promptly: he was at a business dinner at the time in question. The second question: Did Mr. Lewis know the man? Mr. Lewis asks what man she's talking about. Clearly a bit off her game due to her health, Brenda remembers to show him the DMV photo of the victim. He says it's his wife's personal trainer. Brenda tells him that the man in question is dead, and Mr. Lewis says that was a shame, since his wife's tummy was beginning to tighten up. Misreading the third question, and still complaining about her handwriting, it takes a minute for the information to sink in when Brenda deciphers the question for him: "Did you know about the affair?" "That's an R?" he says, and then the import of what Brenda has asked hits him. She hands him Tiffany's credit card statements, the dinners and hotel rooms highlighted, and asks how it is possible he could not have known.

Meanwhile, Commander Taylor is asking Kenny if the man Brenda is interviewing is the man he saw kill Glen Cooper. Kenny replies in the negative, renewing his request for his toothbrush and dental floss.

Mr. Lewis explains not knowing about the charges to his wife's credit cards. He says he hired a business manager for that, he hires a lot of people to do a lot of things. He appears shaken about the affair, and Brenda lets him go.

Leaving the interview room, Brenda is flushed and sweating. In a discussion with Provenza and Gabriel, complicated by the use of the radio to talk to Gabriel, Provenza has confirmed the husband's alibi. Gabriel doesn't think the man looked physically strong enough to have successfully attacked a fitness instructor. Provenza reminds them of the equalizing nature of a taser. Gabriel asks if anyone seriously believes that Mr. Lewis owned or ever used a taser. Agreeing that he does not, Brenda says that she could believe he might have hired someone to do that work for him as well.

As Brenda enters the squad room, Mr. Cox reminds her that someone still must perform a rescue in the haz-mat gear. It must be a life threatening attack, a riot, or a natural catastrophe. Brenda sarcastically promises to make that her number one priority as soon as she solves the murder. Cox reminds Brenda that the team has only 3 hours and 6 minutes left in which to complete the rescue.

Attempting to question Lt. Tao about his check on the Lewis' phone and computer records, Provenza interrupts, frustrated with the whole radio communication problem himself, to tell Brenda that Mr. Lewis had deposited $20,000.00 into the bank account of a known thug, and that Commander Taylor already had him in the interview room. Entering, Brenda and Provenza meet a huge man, Eric Ellis. Asking where he was on the date of the murder, he tells them he was at the gym. He denies ever meeting Mr. Lewis, and asks to see a calendar, as he and Brenda can't agree whether the Wednesday in question was the 24th or the 25th. Provenza produces a small calendar, and as Ellis is counting out days, Brenda tells him she believes he killed Mr. Cooper on the night of Wednesday, the 24th. The brawny man realizes that he'd had the date wrong, and asks for a lawyer.

Tiffany Lewis storms in, demanding to know why Brenda ratted her affair out to her husband. She says she's afraid to go home because of her husband's temper. Brenda asks Provenza to put Tiffany in an interview room, and sends Kenny to the bathroom.

Returning to the Ellis, Brenda tells him she's working on getting him his lawyer, and it would help her if she could take his photo. He poses, but Brenda wants him in the corner of the room, sitting down, legs splayed out in front of him. She also wants him to close his eyes and rest his chin on his chest. Unquestioningly, he complies and Brenda gets her picture. "Thank you so much" Brenda says, to which Ellis replies with an obliging smile.

Back in the murder room, Brenda tells Mr. Cox her radio has malfunctioned, and asks him to please figure out what is wrong with it. As he puzzles over the radio with the instruction manual, she pulls Tao into the room with Buzz, demanding that he remove the haz-mat suit and Buzz don it instead so she can have Tao's unfettered services. Impatiently, Brenda tells Buzz to hurry, that she needs Mr. Cox to think Buzz is Lt. Tao...and her eyes focus upon the monitor in the room where her suspect remains. That's it! Wednesday, the 25th. Her suspect thought her victim was someone else! Buzz manages to struggle into the entire suit just as Mr. Cox finds that Brenda has removed a battery from the radio.

Entering the bathroom where Commander Taylor is watching over Kenny, we see why Brenda needed Tao. Her rather innocent picture of her suspect has been altered to make it appear the man is bleeding from the neck just like Glen, and all in all, he appears very much dead. Brenda tapes the pictures to the mirror. Kenny won't look. She shows Kenny a spool of dental floss. "Waxed. Mint. You can use it all the way home to your electric toothbrush." Reluctantly, Kenny raises his eyes to the pictures, and thinking the killer to be dead which ensures his safety, agrees that this is the person he saw strangle Glen Cooper.

Brenda now needs to know who the intended victim was. Checking in on Tiffany, Brenda tells her that her husband's alibi checked out for Wednesday, the 24th. Tiffany corrects her, Wednesday was the 25th. Brenda points out that this was the second time in an hour she'd heard this correction. The other person had been Eric Ellis, her lover's killer. In a chatty tone, Brenda confides that she didn't believe Eric intended to kill Glen, rather that he was supposed to kill Bob Lewis, so Tiffany could side-step that nasty pre-nup and be with her lover.

Tiffany asks for her "4th or 5th amendment somethings". Brenda reads her her rights. Lt. Tao is manning Buzz's station. Tiffany asks Brenda if she really means to arrest her for attempting to murder her husband? "No", says Brenda. "I would have if that stupid hit man hadn't made a mistake about which night he was supposed to follow you." Naively, Tiffany states that this might have been her fault, because she's bad with numbers. Pursuing the $20,000.00, Brenda asked if it had come from Glen, as it matched the total he'd withdrawn from the teller machines. "So unfair", replies Tiffany. "Glen ended up paying for his own death. I really feel like I let him down." Brenda asks if she'd paid Ellis all the money up front. "Only half," Tiffany stated "and then after you told me Glen was dead I called him and cancelled everything, and I asked for my money back." She actually reaches for her cell phone intent on seeing if her hit man has returned her call, but Brenda took the phone away, advising her to save her one phone call for a lawyer. Tiffany protests that Brenda told her that she wasn't in trouble for trying to kill her husband. Brenda is done. She's closed her case. She agrees with Tiffany that this is true, but that Tiffany IS responsible for what happened to Glen, which is 1st degree murder.

As the PHD detectives, still in haz-mat suits, are taking the two prisoners to booking, Tiffany and her hapless hit man see each other. Kenny, sitting in the same room, faints when he sees what he thinks is a dead man, and Tiffany slips away from the officer holding her, as does Eric. It seems those haz-mat suit gloves are a bit slippery. As the two wriggle loose and attack each other, a full-fledged riot breaks out. Mr. Cox has his WMD rescue, plus a punch in the face from one suspect. Buzz calmly subdues the fracas by discharging a fire extinguisher. The two are corralled and Kenny receives assistance. Pope arrives to see what's causing the uproar. "WMD training" Brenda says sweetly. "It's winding down."

Time is called on the exercise, and Brenda's squad removes their suits. Each must sign a participation log. Cox reads Buzz's signature, and doesn't believe he is Michael Tao. In the second near-perfect imitation of the episode, Buzz replies: "That's Lieutenant Michael Tao." Provenza comments to Cox that Tao is adopted.

A weary Brenda enters her home to find that Fritz has brought the doctor to her. Telling the doctor that she isn't quite ready to see him, she offers him a magazine while he waits. She curls up on her bed with Kitty, leaving Fritz to deal with the doctor.

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