The Closer

Season 1 Episode 12

Fatal Retraction

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Aug 29, 2005 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
236 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Rated: TV-14-LV

Brenda and her team must find not only a killer, but also identify the killer's victim when a deranged, homicidal madman is set free due to mistaken identity.

Trying to make sense of an array of complexities in this unusual case, Brenda comes across what may be another betrayal by a member of the Priority Homicide Division.

The case takes an even darker turn when Brenda becomes the center of the psychopathic killer's attention.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • A case with some nice twists but major moral issues raised as well.

    Well, it had to happen, I suppose. Brenda fails to get her man. Oh, she got the real killer but in the process was forced to release a sociopath on the streets. But you knew she had to. Her sense of justice, shown so well over the course of the series, wouldn't let her settle for anything less than the truth.

    The dark humor was there, such as the couple faced with the problems of having to bury the ex-wife all over again and realizing that, technically, they may not be married with Brenda using that to help her case.

    The scenes of Brenda and the killer were nerve-wracking, as befitting the situation. You can tell Brenda was truly fearful in those scenes which is why she's such a great character.

    The Flynn plot was a good red herring as, given what we've seen of him, it seemed perfectly logical he would have done this. I loved how, when Brenda said to hold off on the IA investigation, Flynn and Taylor both had the same shocked look.

    Taylor is starting to obviously reach the limit with his crusade against Brenda. The one person he coudl count on to think like him was Flynn and he blew that here. What gets me is how Taylor actually seems to not realize Flynn could be so upset over almost having his career wrecked, like he'd just forget what Taylor tried to do. Look at his face when Flynn says he's joining Brenda's team full-time, he actually seems surprised and angry, which will no doubt add fuel to his fire to get rid of Brenda. Of course, this also means he's oblivious to just how Brenda's won the respect of the team and Taylor may be on the way out.

    Brenda's unmasking of the killer was cleverly done but of course there's the ramifactions of various cases being reopened. And there's the final scene of Brenda and the released killer where we see Brenda's face and see her thinking that just maybe she should have looked the other way here. But that's not the Brenda we know and that's why this show continues to amaze.moreless
  • Bring back Croelick next season

    This was the first episode of The Closer that I watched and the reason I watched it: Jason O'Mara. I'm a fan of his and his performance definitely didn't disappoint. This episode was great and I agree that it did definitely open a moral question, everyone back then thought they were doing the right thing, they knew "Just plain Bill" had killed the one girl and couldn't prove it. Brenda knew he was guilty but also knew she couldn't let the real killer get away with murder. I loved the way Brenda and Bill played off each other. I definitely think we will or at least should see Bill again next season. The way it ended Brenda knows she'll come up against him again. I will definitely be watching this show again.moreless
  • Best Episode of The Season

    Finally an episode that justifies the hype this show has received. A hype not always deserved in my opinion. With one episode to go this was the first time that things really came together to produced forty minutes of an entertaining well built story.

    Jason O'Mara was perfect as the scary but charismatic Bill Croelick and the character was wonderfully written. Flynn's change from heel to face was well made and so was the conclusion of the story with an exciting climax.

    I hope to see Croelick back in the second season for one more episode (and the Dutton's too by the way).

  • I agree wth horatiofrog1, it's a development of Det Flynn's character, which could help people who do'nt like him to flip for him...

    what I like about this episode is the improvement of the relationship between Brenda and Andy : she knows he is sometimes not as rigorous as he sould be, but she knows he is honest and he is not a liar, so when she sees him lost, she comes to his help and stay aside. She can measure the treachery (perhaps the word is too strong, but I did not know another one which could fit)of Capt Taylor towards Andy. I Think Brenda thought, at the end of the episode, about Flynn : " Okay, now the man is under control...", and he will become an ally. The way he says : "What did I do wrong ? Tell me !" is really strong. Tony Denison is great in this scene, as always...moreless
  • forensic dentistry!!

    So as a forensic odontologist – I loved and hated this episode. First of all – yes there are mistakes made in the field. But that whole thing about the guy being the only forensic dentist – not true – but anyways. The meth mouth thing was real too. I have seen cases of meth mouth in patients and it is horrible. The teeth start rotting away at the gum line – you can poke an instrument through them and there is no way to save them. It is really gross. Too bad that they could not have gotten all of the info correct – my job really could use it.moreless
J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Assistant Police Chief Will Pope

Corey Reynolds

Corey Reynolds

Sgt. David Gabriel

Robert Gossett

Robert Gossett

Capt. 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

Jefferson Mays

Jefferson Mays

Dr. Easton

Guest Star

Lorraine Toussaint

Lorraine Toussaint

Deputy D.A. Powell

Guest Star

Tim Griffin

Tim Griffin

Roy Barnes

Guest Star

James Avery (I)

James Avery (I)

Dr. Crippen, Medical Examiner

Recurring Role

Phillip P. Keene

Phillip P. Keene

Buzz Watson

Recurring Role

Michael Paul Chan

Michael Paul Chan

Lt. Michael Tao

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Croelick confronts Brenda at the end of the episode and taunts her about the real murderer and what he did. Yet, he had only just been arrested and the truth had only just been discovered, so there is no way Croelick could have known what happened in the squadroom just a little while ago.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Brenda: How'd you get my address?
      Croelick: Why, haven't you heard, I'm a criminal? But don't worry; as it turns out, you're not my type. Although I admit to liking a fiery woman, you're a little on the bossy side.

    • (Brenda learns the details from Flynn regarding his questionable promotion circumstances)
      Flynn: You're not going to have me investigated?
      Brenda: No.

    • Brenda: Well, hello William.
      Croelick: Oh, it's Bill. It's just plain Bill.
      Brenda: Alright, just plain Bill. I'm just plain Brenda, LAPD.

    • Taylor: Do us a favor. Send this girl to the crematorium as a Jane Doe. Keep Croelick in prison. Don't damage the reputation of our department to let the killer go free.
      Pope: Here is the favor I will do for you: I will forget you said that.

    • (Brenda grabs a file from Fritz while they're kissing)
      Brenda: Is this my Jane Doe?
      Fritz: So much for foreplay.

    • Taylor: Well, that one's gonna cost her.
      Flynn: You want to gloat to someone you're close to? Grab a mirror, Captain. I'm applying for permanent transfer to her squad.

    • Gabriel: You have the right to remain silent! Why don't you use it?!

    • Brenda: All I need form you is an expert to go over these dental records, match them with these teeth, and tell me which missing person she was.
      Fritz: Ok. I'll bite.

    • Flynn: Oh, man. A thousand bucks says I'm gonna be wearing this bulls**t.

    • Medical Examiner: What do we call this...Jane Doe?
      Gabriel: The body formerly known as Lisa Barnes.

    • Brenda: I promise this is the absolutely last time that Lisa will die.

    • Brenda: Okay. Maybe this Samantha Jones lifted Bill Croelick's stainless steel lighter - with his fingerprints on it, made a copy of Lisa Barnes' driver's licence, stole a car, pushed it off a cliff, cutting her hands and feet off as she jumped into the falling car and set herself on fire. Maybe she trained for her suicide with Cirque du Soleil.

    • Forensic odontologist: I wasn't asked to confirm the identity of the victim, just to confirm that the body was that of Lisa Barnes.
      Lt. Provenza: Oh, so you had an excuse to be sloppy.

    • Brenda: (to Sgt. Gabriel on the phone) I found Croelick. He's on my front porch. Be nice if we had some company.

    • (Capt. Taylor and Chief Pope are discussing Brenda's relations with the key members of their case.)
      Taylor: The FBI hates her. The DA's hate her. The forensics specialists hate her. Everyone wants Croelick back in jail. But no one's gonna help her get him there.

    • (Lisa Barnes' widower is objecting to the news of his wife's more "recent" death just hours earlier)
      Mr. Barnes: I have Lisa's death certificate [dated three years earlier]!
      Brenda: So do I. Only mine's a litle more recent.

    • Brenda: Doctor, do you think you might take another peek inside?
      M.E. (glancing at the charred skeletal remains of the Jane Doe in question) Chief Johnson, where exactly do you see an inside?!?

  • NOTES (1)


    • Gabriel: OK, they're ready for their close up.
      An allusion to the famous line in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard starring Gloria Swanson. It's her last line as she's finally gone mad: "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close up".

    • Title: Fatal Retraction
      An obvious allusion to and play on words of the 1987 film Fatal Attraction, starring Glenn Close and Michael Douglas.

    • Brenda: Maybe she trained for her suicide with Cirque du Soleil.
      Cirque du Soleil is a renowned acrobatic performance troupe whose members are masters at acrobatics.