The Closer

Season 3 Episode 2

Grave Doubt

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jun 25, 2007 on TNT

Episode Recap

Fritz wakens Brenda gently, bringing her a mug of fresh coffee in bed. Commenting on how sweet he's been lately, she beams at him, dipping one finger into the whipped crème topping. He remembers to tell her that her father had called, she asks what the message had said. Fritz admits that he'd accidentally answered the phone. Brenda erupts in a fury. How could he? Had he done this on purpose? Fitz tries to defend his mistake; the phones are identical, and Brenda herself never puts the receivers back on the correct chargers. They part in anger as Brenda receives a call to a homicide. The irony of having to search for the correct phone is lost on her as she digs out her phone. Brenda has a homicide, Fritz is going to work.

Fritz wakens Brenda gently, bringing her a mug of fresh coffee in bed. Commenting on how sweet he's been lately, she beams at him, dipping one finger into the whipped crème topping. He remembers to tell her that her father had called, she asks what the message had said. Fritz admits that he'd accidentally answered the phone. Brenda erupts in a fury. How could he? Had he done this on purpose? Fitz tries to defend his mistake; the phones are identical, and Brenda herself never puts the receivers back on the correct chargers. They part in anger as Brenda receives a call to a homicide. The irony of having to search for the correct phone is lost on her as she digs out her phone. Brenda has a homicide, Fritz is going to work.

Brenda arrives at the scene of a contractor's discovery of a body wrapped in a blue tarp. The dead man is identified as Durrell Richards, who has been dead for "a long time." Since the coroner's investigator is not yet certain it was a homicide, Brenda demands to know why her team has been called out, especially given current budget. Gabriel tells her that it's because Lt. Provenza's card was found in the dead man's pocket.

In the morgue, Gabriel tells Brenda that he has located a missing persons report for Durrell Richards, dated May 6th, 1992, which was during the LA riots that began on April 29th. Yet, Dr. Crippen is still waiting for a forensic dentist to confirm the ID. The cause of death is determined when a bullet is revered from the remains. A ballistics expert narrows the gun down to a Colt Diamondback.

Regarding the tarp, Flynn tells Brenda that it is so common that identifying specific tarp is impossible. As the squad continue to discuss the case, Sanchez agrees that Durrell Richards could have been an Eight Deuce gang member. In the meantime, Provenza remembers that the murder weapon was turned in by Father Jack, a Franciscan priest that runs a program to get gang members off the streets. He finds his notes from 1992, when he had been investigating shots fired at a police car. The investigation led him to Father Jack's place. On his way, he was approached by a boy. After asking him if he knew anything about the police car and Provenza gave him his business card. This was on May 4th, two days before Durrell was reported missing.

Gabriel, Brenda and Provenza arrive at Father Jack's community center, where Brenda tells him they found a murder victim that morning in Eight-Deuce territory and that he had been the one to turn in the murder weapon. Father Jack says that any gun turned over to him had been done so under the seal of confession. He tells the detectives that the only time anyone other than himself cared about one murdered boy was when they were looking to put another boy behind bars. When pressed, Father Jack gives Brenda Durrell's mother's address and the team pays her a visit.

In the murder room, Brenda asks what they know about Durrell's brother Kenyan, activist in his community. Gabriel says Kenyan has turned his life around and has spent a good part of the last 10 years helping the LAPD and is now running for a city council. Brenda suggests they bring Kenyan in for a chat and asks Gabriel to track down the other boys in the group photo from 1992.

Summoned to Chief Pope's office, Brenda is introduced to Kenyan Richards, who thanks them for making the time to speak with him. Brenda says it was she who'd asked him to come in. Taylor contradicts her, saying that Mr. Richards had called the LAPD as soon as he'd heard they had been to speak to his mother. Kenyan feels that the LAPD has already come on a bit too strong for his taste. Brenda asks if he is referring to the lack of cooperation from Father Jack. Kenyan counters that Father Jack is merely trying to protect him as he launches his political campaign. He goes on to point out that the LAPD didn't seem too interested in his brother's disappearance until it could be used against him in his campaign, reminding people of the person he had once been, a seller and user of drugs who had been shot in a drive-by while a gang member. Kenyan offers them his complete cooperation if they truly want only to solve his brother's murder but if the LAPD is only out to bring him down, or mess with Father Jack, they will find they don't have a lot of support in neighborhoods like his. Commander Taylor rushes to say that the LAPD has come a long way since the riots. Kenyan Richards drives home his final point: "Well, it certainly took you long enough to find Durrell, who nobody here seemed to care about before I started to run for office. And your harassment of Father Jack, well, frankly, that had better just end."

In the squad room, Brenda asks for progress reports. Daniels tells her that while Father Jack runs a non-profit agency, he is making money. Sanchez adds the community center owns a lot of small businesses: a recording studio run by former gang members, a moving business, a painting business, etc. but that the majority of the money comes from donations. Father Jack encourages reformed gang members to give him all their worldly possessions as a statement of repudiation. Brenda asks if they have located any of the other boys in the photo with Durrell. She is told that most of them are dead, but two are still alive. One is doing time and they have spoken to him. More interestingly, the last one they have already met. He is Terry Miller, the man in the wheelchair they had seen on their visit to Father Jack's community center.

Brenda interviews Terry Miller, asking him about his relationship with Durrell Richards and showing him the photo. Terry said they all used to sell drugs, mostly crack, adding that he'd always thought Durrell had skipped town, looking to start over somewhere else. Durrell knew where Terry kept his cocaine and had stolen a large amount from him. When he had learned it was missing, he had given Durrell 24 hours to bring it back but Durrell had disappeared.

The interview is interrupted by an angry Father Jack, who demands that they stop interrogating Terry, and adds that they aren't allowed to speak to anyone from his foundation without an attorney present. Provenza points out that he doesn't believe any gang banger would have let such a theft go unpunished, no way in the world Terry would have just allowed Durrell to just drive out of town. The team follows up on Durrell's car and Mrs. Richards tells the detectives that she had sold it. Brenda asks if this happened before or after Durrell had disappeared. It happened after as they needed extra cash. Gabriel asks if she remembers who she'd sold it to and she says Father Jack he had sold it for them.

Back in her office, Brian and Tao tell Brenda that they have the gun but that it cannot be test fired due to its deplorable condition. But, they realized they didn't need the gun to fire, only to use the barrel to compare the markings on the interior of it to the markings on the bullet. Brian announces that he can absolutely state that the gun is the one that fired the bullet taken from her victim.

Chief Pope them storms into Brenda's office, followed by Commander Taylor and Kenyan Richards. He demands to know why she has Father Jack in an interview room. Brenda replies that she is going to interview him. Kenyan Richards demands to know why the priest has been arrested and paraded in front of a bunch of cameras, but Brenda denies that she had arrested him. Pope all but spits at her: "Good. Let him go and find one of those thousands of cameras and apologize to it." Provenza calls her office to tell her he's gotten everything arranged just as she'd asked, plus the last of the hospital records had come in. She thanks him and exiting through a different door, walks right past the three men in her office to the interview room. The three men rush after her, Provenza attempting in vain to halt their pursuit. She enters the room and asks Father Jack what he did with Durrell's car. He doesn't answer her. Meanwhile Pope is furiously knocking on the door of the interview room. Father Jack asks why Brenda has brought him there if she knows he won't talk to her. She tells him candidly: "You have spent a lot of time protecting people who have done very bad things. Now, they have a chance to step up and protect you." With this she leaves the room. Kenyan demands that Brenda release Father Jack or, instead of negotiating quietly inside, he will demand the LAPD release the priest in front of every camera in Los Angeles. Brenda tells him that if he'd like to negotiate for the release of Father Jack she is willing and invites him into the interview room across the hall.

Inside the room, there is a blue tarp covering something large in the corner, but Kenyan doesn't see it. Brenda reminds Kenyan that Father Jack had been the last person in possession of the murder weapon, that he'd surrounded himself with gang bangers and drug dealers and, jerking away the tarp to reveal the rear end of Durrell's blue car, she asks Kenyan if he remembers the car. She tells him that she is having the blood found in the trunk tested for DNA, which she is certain will match his brother. Gabriel begins pounding on the interview room door. Inside, Kenyan is shocked, then angry and accuses Brenda of political assassination. She tells him that she has no interest in politics, only the facts. She shows him a search warrant. He tells her he'd already agreed to assist in every possible way and she is welcome to search his home and his office. Brenda isn't interested in his home, she wants the bullet inside his leg.

Outside, Gabriel is begging her not to do this as the message she will be sending is that it makes no difference if you try to change your life, you will always be judged by what you have done in the past and not by how much you have changed. Brenda says she is not sending a message, merely doing her job. Gabriel persists and an angry Brenda tells him that it is for a judge and jury to decide. She orders him to stand aside, but Gabriel's feelings are so strong that he still hesitates, causing her to order him to stand aside twice more.

Re-entering the room, she speaks to Kenyan. He insists that she can't cut open his leg as that would be an unreasonable search. Brenda has a judge who disagrees, because on May the 5th, 1992, roughly 36 hours before his mother had reported Durrell missing, Kenyan had been in the emergency room of County Hospital and was treated for a bullet wound. She pulls the hospital report, adding that the staff had noted that the wound was at an unusual angle, as if received in a close struggle, the same sort of struggle that his brother's wound had appeared to have come from. Kenyan tells Brenda that all this proves nothing but she takes the bullet she had retrieved from Durrell's heart assuring Kenyan that it will match the bullet inside his leg, because she knows that Kenyan and his brother were shot by the same gun on the same day, the day his brother had died. Brenda tells him that he has manipulated the facts when he said he was shot in a drive by, when he protested the development of a certain parcel of land pretending it was out of concern for the low-income families when in reality it was to keep his brother's body from being found.

Kenyan grips the edge of the car's trunk lid. He tells her: "That's the truth. What happened to Durrell took me to Father Jack, and I changed. I devoted myself to others. Every day, I struggle to make a difference in my community. The work I've done, the work I want to do...I am Durrell's legacy. I've already saved more lives than you ever will, and I can save more." Brenda replies "You save lives? Good. Then give me back the life of your brother and we'll call it even. We don't live in a world where you get to kill people and then decide how to make up for it." She encourages him to consider a confession rather than asking for representation and hiding the truth like any common thug, or starting a riot to hide his guilt. She tells him she believes the public will also see his actions for what they were: the actions of a scared young boy, one that has gone the distance to change his own life as well as reach out to others.

Kenyan gives in, telling her the tale as he leans hard against the pieces of his brother's car. It had been Durrell and Terry's cocaine, and he had stolen it. Durrell had confronted him, tried to take the drugs back by force, but Kenyan was high and pulled the gun. Durrell had grabbed for it accidentally discharging it. When the bullet had hit his leg, he shot his brother. He says he is sorry, over and over. Brenda returns to Father Jack who asks if he can see Kenyan, and she softly says he can. The priest thanks her.

After, Brenda asks Gabriel if he'd like to go somewhere and talk about what had happened. "Not particularly" is his reply. She then asks if they are okay then. "I'm fine" he says curtly, and brushes past her.

Brenda is in her office, sorting through the evidence. With Gabriel gone, Provenza enters and takes the evidence telling her he will log it. She senses that Gabriel might not have been the only member of her team to be bruised as a result of this case, and tells him that 1992 was a rough time, there were riots, looting, several murders. He'd been investigating a shooting with no victim, and no other officer would have done any differently than he had at the time. Provenza agrees with her. She is right. He has a lot of really excellent excuses for not following up with a scared kid who'd wanted to turn his life around. "But, Durrell Richards is still dead." He takes the evidence box from her. "My card. My case."

Back home, Fritz enters the bedroom to find Brenda lying her stomach with a letter from her father clutched in her hand. He asks if she has read it, and she hands it to him to open. Fritz rips the envelope and looks at the letter, but Brenda stops him. She lied to her daddy forever and had tried to blame it on Fritz. Fritz is gracious, admitting that he might have, on some unconscious level have answered the phone to force her hand. Insisting she'd driven him to do so, she is remorseful, asking if he can forgive her. He tells her that he has, and so has her father. Brenda grabs the letter from him in delight.

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.