The Closer

Season 3 Episode 1


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jun 18, 2007 on TNT

Episode Recap

PHD rolls out to an early morning call; it is still dark out. In a new procedure, Buzz is on scene as well, filming the crime scene and the initial investigation, and provides on-camera interviews with each member of the team. Sergeant Gabriel notes that large amounts of cash and jewelry have been found at the crime scene, but they are still trying to determine if anything might have been stolen. Detective Julio Sanchez is Buzz's next 'interview', he ID's the victim as Marsha Anderson Wallace, aged 42, from her driver's license. Brenda introduces herself for the camera, and notes that the victim has multiple stab wounds to her body, as well as defensive wounds to her hands, asking Buzz the get close-ups of the wounds. Buzz continues through the house, arriving at Detective Irene Daniels, and yet another victim: Kevin Alan Wallace, 49. Brenda has followed the camera, and adds that this victim was stabbed over 30 times. Brenda hands out assignments to her detectives, and asks that the camera follow her. There is yet another victim, and a clearly shaken Lieutenant Andrew Flynn ID's her as Jennifer Ann Wallace, noting that she signed her homework as 'Jenny'. This victim is a child, a young girl, and the hardened detective isn't cracking jokes this time. Flynn places his hand over the camera lens, wanting to start over after composing himself. Taking his hand away, he states that the child is 12 years old, and has been found in her pajamas, surmising she got out of bed and came downstairs to see what all the screaming was about. Brenda notes three visible wounds, asking Buzz again to get close-up views.

In the bathroom, Provenza holds up a letter opener found in the sink, and Buzz must remind him to introduce himself for the court. Clearly annoyed, Lieutenant Provenza does so, and continues noting that there is what appears to be blood on the bathmat, suggesting the murderer took a shower before leaving the crime scene. Buzz has no such problems with Tao, who clearly introduces himself as Lieutenant Michael Tao, PHD, who shows the discarded clothing found in the laundry room, noting that the 'red substance' covering the clothes might be blood. He leads Buzz to the son's room, pointing out that while it had a lot of 'high-end merchandise' inside, the room appears untouched, adding that it is currently 4:33 am, and the son, Eric Dean Wallace is not at home. He further notes that the shoes in this room are the same as the shoes found with the bloody clothes in the laundry room.

The entire team freezes as a cell phone suddenly begins ringing; the detectives draw their weapons as they hone in on the sound, Brenda calling for backup. Flynn orders Buzz, a civilian, outside. Eric Dean Wallace is found cowering in the attic. Brenda comforts the teenager, questioning him at the same time, as she leads him out of the crime scene. He heard nothing, knows nothing; he found his family while going to the kitchen for a drink of water. When asked who might want to hurt his family, the teenager offers that his father worked with convicts at two local Federal prisons. Brenda leaves him with the paramedics to be treated for shock. Calling Sanchez aside, she asks him to get a warrant for blood work, suspecting the kid was high. As she closes the door to the ambulance, Gabriel jumps up to remind her that she has a 10:00 meeting with Chief Pope. Asking what it's about, his whispered response provokes profanity from her.

In Pope's office, Brenda is less than thrilled to hear him finish his lecture with "... and no more overtime." She erupts in fury, demanding to know if this is why her request for expedited blood work has been denied. He reminds her it has merely been delayed, she can have it the next morning, but she points out that by then, Children's Services will have appointed an attorney for the boy. The battle begins in earnest as she is handed a memo outlining all the cutbacks; she will have to transfer a member of her team to Counter Terrorism, or let one go. Pope suggests that having Provenza retire is the best solution, Brenda is furious, insisting she needs every member, and will find a way around the budget problem. Pope sarcastically wishes her luck with that, and Brenda thanks him sweetly, slamming the door on her way out of his office.

In the murder room, Provenza displays Eric's drug stash, noting that the drugs and the fact that Wallace's car had been in the garage and had been broken into were the only other things of note in the home. Brenda scrutinizes the information posted on the murder board as the rest of the team are reading the 'Financial Crisis Guidelines' memo handed out by Chief Pope, the one that had provoked Brenda earlier. Brenda is murmuring that the killer was looking for something, and it seems to have belonged to the father, but they have no idea what it might be. Tao is stopped from his perusal of the memo when Brenda asks about the murder weapon. He tells her there were no prints found on it. Provenza's eyes are focused on the 'Forced Early Retirement' section of the memo. Tao adds that he has a time of death, estimated at between 11 pm and 12:45 am; he adds that he has sent the bloody clothes to be tested. Provenza, perhaps feeling the handwriting on the wall - literally, jumps up to add this information to the murder board.

Detective Daniels is certain all cell phones and laptops have been accounted for. Flynn, when asked about background on the family, balks. He asks why this matters, since the murder weapon came from inside the house, the doors and windows were all locked; he states the obvious, the son did it. Daniels agrees, chiming in to add that the kid had lied about his father working at the two Federal prisons as well. Brenda wonders aloud why the boy would lie about such, and Sanchez, entering the room, has an answer: Eric was on ecstasy. He also hands her a bill for $150.00, the cost of expediting the blood work. Brenda looks a bit dazed at the cost, and is further aggravated when informed that the hospital isn't too keen on keeping a suspected murderer, so in about 5 hours when Eric wakes up, she needs to find alternate housing for her young suspect.

Brenda deals out assignments: Tao will get phone dumps on house and cell phones, Flynn will take the murder weapon to the morgue to be certain it matches the wounds, Daniels will follow up with the prisons, checking to see if Mr. Wallace was on the visitor's logs, and Provenza will gather all these reports and bring them to her at the hospital. As their chief exits, Provenza, desperate to appear needed, tells the team to get busy, because "time is money, people." This is one detective who isn't ready to retire.

Brenda is on the phone at home as Fritz is asking if she is going with him to various open houses. She isn't, she has a murder; but since the FBI isn't wanting to hand over the visitor's logs from the two prisons where Mr. Wallace is supposed to have worked, she wants his help in getting them. Fritz offers her the official request forms; she wants the shortcut. He's playing hardball, however. If she won't take the time to help him find a bigger house, he won't help her with the visitor's logs.

Brenda is losing another battle at the hospital, this one with the coffee pot. Gabriel explains to Provenza as he enters the break room that their Chief's frustration is really about the lack of relatives to release Eric to, since neither parent has any living relatives. Provenza can't resist commenting that "... considering how the kids treats his next of kin, it's probably for the best." He does, however, rescue Brenda from the coffee pot, or vice versa, as Gabriel continues to tell her that unless Eric proves to be suicidal, which he isn't, given the of the meal he just ate, the young suspect will be released to Child Protective Services unless she can get a confession from him. Brenda doesn't have enough evidence to book Eric for murder. Provenza suggests she could arrest him for drug possession, triumphantly handing his chief her cup of coffee. Brenda is impressed by the coffee, but not the suggestion: "Arrest. Lawyer. The End." She muses aloud; she needs a confession or a suicide watch; Mr. Wallace didn't work in a prison. Opening the file, she remarks that she has no information on how the father had earned a living. Provenza knows the answer. Mr. Wallace earned small amounts of money for articles published in scholarly journals, but Mrs. Wallace had the tax-free income of $900,000.00 a year from mutual funds, plus the dividends from over $30 million dollars worth of oil stock. Asking Gabriel and Brenda to guess who the beneficiaries were, Brenda guesses easily: the children. Gabriel mutters: "Recently reduced to one." Brenda thanks Provenza, adding that he can go home. Provenza protests that he'd been off the clock for hours now but wants to stay, but Brenda hands him the cup of coffee and insists he leave. Brenda takes this opportunity to confide in Gabriel about the possible forced retirement of Provenza. Gabriel is stunned, turning to watch Provenza walk away as Brenda digs in her purse for her tape recorder, testing to be certain it is working.

Eric is still crying a bit as Brenda and Gabriel enter the hospital room. He takes the pair of detectives through what he recalls of the previous night, claiming he'd found the bodies as he went to the kitchen for a glass of water. He'd called 911 and then hidden himself in the attic. Brenda asks what he'd heard. He replies that there were no sirens, but that later, he heard sounds coming from the house, but had remained in the attic, scared to show himself. Brenda turns off the tape recorder, after telling the teenager that she finds his story a bit hard to believe. He asks why she doesn't believe him, and unexpectedly, she grabs two plastic drinking cups from the bedside table and begins to crumple them against her body, screaming loudly the entire time. Gabriel turns away the hospital staff that rushes in to check on the commotion, closing the door firmly in their faces, as Brenda continues the crumple the cups against herself and the wall, screaming the entire time. Out of breath, she calms herself and turns the recorder back on, addressing Eric: "That is the mixture of sounds the human body makes when someone shoves a knife into it. That's the sound your parents made when they were being stabbed to death. That's the sound that Jenny heard that made her race downstairs, just like everyone rushed in here, just now. That's the sound that Jenny made, until the killer stabbed her in the throat, ten feet from the door to your room, which is why I find it so hard to believe you slept through it all." Gabriel adds that the hospital test results show that Eric had ecstasy in his system, a stimulant, making it difficult for him to sleep at all. Brenda declares that having found a high teenager in the attic, unharmed, while the rest of his entire family has been stabbed to death, and then that teenager lies to her, she thinks she should just arrest that teenager for murder.

Sobbing in earnest now, Eric denies having killed his family. Brenda allows him to tell his story again, this time demanding the truth. He admits he wasn't home at the time the murders occurred. He had left the house by way of a ladder, sneaking out so his parents wouldn't know he was gone. Brenda asks if he'd left his window open with a ladder propped up to it, but Eric explains further; he always put the ladder down behind the bushes as he left, and pulled it back into the attic upon is return. Both detectives pounce on his use of the word 'always', and Eric admits he's been sneaking out of the house for about two months, to see his math tutor, Justin Darcy. Brenda demands to know why they were sneaking out, and the shaken kid admits that he and his male tutor had gone to a club, and then returned to the tutor's apartment in order to be together. Brenda asks Eric if his father had found them out, and waited up the night before, but Eric swears his family never knew he'd left the house. Frustrated, as this seems to be the truth, but is certainly not a confession, Brenda asks Justin why he'd lied about where his father worked. Eric insists his father had worked at the two Federal prisons.

Dazed when informed that the prisons had been contacted by the LAPD, and neither one had ever heard of his father, Eric insists he'd worked at both, suggesting they ask Dr. Reichter; he can confirm the work. Brenda asks who Dr. Reichter might be, Eric states that his father co-wrote articles with this man. Brenda asks if they could just call the doctor to confirm this, but Eric admits he doesn't know the man, he'd only heard of him, adding that he swore this was true. Brenda repeats the teen's oath sarcastically, and ratchets up the emotion by accusing the child of being complicit in the murders by leaving the house unsecured. As she goes on and on, clearly badgering this child, Gabriel looks at Brenda in amazement. But she continues to grill Eric, until at last, her motive is made clear to her stunned detective. He hears the sobbing boy declare that he wished he was dead, he wished the person who had killed his family would come back and kill him as well. Brenda stops immediately, and turns off the recorder, addressing Gabriel: "Those are the magic words. Suicide watch. 72 hour surveillance." She dishes out orders; she wants to speak with Justin Darcy first thing the next morning, she wants the ladder checked for fingerprints, and she wants to talk to Dr. Reichter. Gabriel reminds her that the next day is Sunday, and there is no overtime...she interrupts him with a curt: "It can't be helped." and leaves to find a doctor to give her the dearly-won psychiatric hold for Eric.

Sanchez is waiting outside the interview room to warn Brenda that Justin Darcy has informed them his father is a lawyer. Taking a moment to formulate her attack, she enters the room and immediately after introducing herself, tells Justin that she has had him brought in to discuss rape. Justin denies raping anyone, but Brenda tells him she has a signed statement from his victim. Arrogantly, Justin demands to call his father, a criminal attorney, claiming he knows a bit more about the criminal justice system than the average person she drags in to an interview. Brenda asks Detective Flynn, who has been sitting with the kid, to please give Justin his cell phone, adding that since Justin has such a vast knowledge of the legal system, he must be aware that the age of consent for male on male sex in California is 18. Still dialing, Justin sarcastically tells her he is 19, in two months. Brenda congratulates him, adding that the victim, Eric Wallace, is 17, and to please tell his father that he is being charged with statutory rape as well as sex with a minor, and there may be other charges. Justin pauses in his dialing. Brenda continues: "I look forward to meeting your family. I can only imagine how proud they'll be." Flynn offers to place the call to Justin's father. Now, however, Justin prefers to talk, denying he'd ever had sex with Eric. Brenda tells him if that is true, she will be arresting his underage lover for murder. Justin is stunned. The detectives watching the interview are interrupted by Provenza, waving a cell phone triumphantly, declaring he's found what the killer was looking for. On the monitor, Justin can be heard putting the information together: "So, what you're saying is that either I am a sex offender or Eric is a murderer?" Gabriel enters the room to whisper in Brenda's ear. A bit distracted by the interruption, she turns back to Justin, who tells her that if the Wallace's died before 3 am, neither he nor Eric could have killed them. Brenda slams down a pad and pencil, demanding names, numbers, places and times so she can verify his story. Excusing herself, she enters the room where he squad awaits. Upon hearing from Gabriel that the Wallace's had four phones on their plan, and that Detective Daniels had located this particular one charging behind the wet bar in the den, but that it wasn't one of the four on the Wallace's plan as they had assumed, she demands to know who it belongs to. "Dr. Robert Reichter." Provenza says triumphantly. Brenda thinks she should have had this information sooner, and everyone looks at poor Tao, who tries to explain that he'd ordered the cell phone logs the night before, but then had signed out as she had ordered him to, and didn't see the logs till he'd arrived that day. Pope's 'no overtime' rule has already cost Brenda dearly. At an inopportune time, Flynn pops his head in to protest that " You don't believe this little prick's story, do you?", only to hear her snap at him to return and sit with Justin Darcy until she returns to question him further.

Brenda wants to know which of the Wallace's four phones is missing. She is told that Mr. Wallace's phone is the one they do not have. Brenda is furious, asking if there were any calls on Mr. Wallace's phone that she needed to be aware of. Gabriel says that at 1 am, fifteen calls were made from Mr. Wallace's cell phone to Dr. Reichter's cell phone. Thinking aloud, Brenda looks at the house diagram on the murder board, surmising that the killer had used Mr. Wallace's phone in an attempt to locate Dr. Reichter's phone, but it had been turned off to charge, and in fact might well have been deliberately hidden, based on where it had been found. Brenda echoes Provenza, the killer had been looking for Dr. Reichter's phone. Brenda checks the cell phone for photos, finding none, and adds that there are only six programmed numbers, not noticing that her entire squad cringed as she poked through the phone. Brenda asks the now-important questions: Why is this phone worth hiding, and why was Dr. Reichter's phone at the Wallace's home in the first place? "That is the really important question, and we'd have known to ask it yesterday if it weren't for all this malarkey about budget cuts!" she grumbles. Announcing she is going to see those Federal prison visitor logs herself, she calls Gabriel to escort her, jerking the photo of Mr. Wallace off the murder board as she sails out of the room.

Brenda and Gabriel arrive at the Reichter house, escorted by the Lompoc police. Before entering the residence, the senior officer asks her where to fax their bill. "Chief Will Pope. I'll give you his number as soon as we're finished here." Brenda states firmly. Gabriel asks if she expects to find Dr. Reichter in the house, and she replies in the negative, announcing that Dr. Reichter is dead. The Lompoc police knock on the door, and it is answered by a woman who states that she is Kathy Reichter, and immediately asks if her husband is okay. Entering the residence, Brenda confronts yet another teenaged boy. Asking who he is, the boy introduces himself as Kim Reichter. She asks this young man where his father is. The kid replies that his father is in Los Angeles until Wednesday. Brenda wants to know the last time he'd spoken with his father, and Gabriel interrupts Brenda. He is looking at the family photos on the mantle, and believes she needs to see them as well. Kathy Reichter demands to know why the police are in her house, going through her personal belongings. Brenda pulls out the photo from her purse, and holds it beside a photo from the mantle: "Mrs. Reichter, meet Kevin Alan Wallace." The two photos are of the same man.

Entering the squad room, Brenda is met by a furious Will Pope. He is ranting about the cost of having a teenager put on suicide watch and the exorbitant cost of medical supervision, along with screaming about the fact that she had commandeered the department jet to fly to Lompoc. She calmly replied that she needed Eric Wallace to clear up a few things for her, and that she'd taken the jet because she knew she would have passengers and freight on the way back. Pope is still ranting about costs. She takes out the photo of Kevin Wallace and shows it to an unimpressed Pope. Then she shows him the photo of 'Dr. Reichter'. Pope is taken aback. "Wow. So your murder victim is a bigamist?" She excuses herself to go and interview the Reichters. Will Pope is still dogged about his budget cuts, demanding to know if she has spoken to Provenza about retiring. Provenza himself steps out from behind Pope, "No, she hasn't. Should she?" Brenda turns back to deal with this. "No, Lieutenant. NO. Aren't you supposed to be in the electronics room?" Pope gives up temporarily, and Provenza disappears as well. Brenda and Gabriel push a full rack of clothing into the interview room holding Kim Reichter. She asks the young man to be certain every item on the rack belongs to him, adding that she knows he's come a long way to identify his own clothing, but it was necessary in order to figure out who had killed his father. Kim Reichter flips through the rack, looking at clothes and shoes, and agrees that every piece of it belongs to him. Thanking Kim, Brenda and Gabriel leave with the rack of clothes, Sanchez stays with Kim Reichter.

They enter the room holding Eric Wallace, who is still protesting that he did not kill his family. She asks him to help her if what he's saying is true. He asks her who is going to help him, now that he is completely alone? She says "I don't know how you're going to feel about it, but that's not exactly true." She promises him if he will answer two questions truthfully for her, she will be finished with him. He agrees. First, she asks if his father had called him when he was away at Lompoc. Eric replies that his dad had called him almost every day. She asks him if any of the clothes on the rack might belong to him. Flipping through, Eric identifies a pair of shoes, a shirt and a pair of blue jeans, mentioning details about each item. Taking the items he's identified as his own, Brenda thanks Eric and exits, returning to confront Kim Reichter. She wastes little time, dismissing both Gabriel and Sanchez. "I don't want to bother you again, Kim, but you ID'd these clothes I brought in earlier as yours." tossing all three items on the table. "And they're so much nicer than your other clothes, so I checked with your half brother Eric, and he says they are his. And I kind of believe him." She pounces on the teen, telling him that she can determine the order of the attack from the clothing she pulls from paper bags sitting in the room, the clothing from the murder victims. As Brenda takes Kim through the sequence of the murders, the bloody pile of clothes confronts the young man, ever growing. Finally, she tosses the clothing taken from the Wallace's laundry room on top, adding that she believes these clothes belong to Kim Reichter. He'd tried to wash his own, but had spent too much time searching for his father's other cell phone and the stains had set in, leading him to take Eric's clothes. She adds that it is no surprise they'd fit, since he and Eric were brothers, after all. Before he can deny anything, she reminds him that he must have stopped for gas, and she would check every single gas station between LA and Lompoc till she found him on camera, the night of the murders. She moves in for her confession: "Now, all we have left to decide, really, is if you planned to kill your father and his family, or if it was more of a spur-of-the-moment thing. Your father and his wife..." Kim erupts. The woman in the house was not his father's wife, his mother was his father's wife. He denies meaning to kill anyone, but confesses to Brenda that he'd found his father's other cell phone, driver's license and credit cards when he'd been driving his dad's car and bought some dope. Meaning to stash it in case he'd been stopped, he found out about his father's other life instead. He'd gone to the Wallace house repeatedly, and had watched all of them together, envying the of the house, the fancy cars, the pool...all the things his father had not provided for him and his mother. And he'd been there the night that Eric had sneaked out. Kim rants at Brenda, his father would have killed him if he'd done such a thing. Brenda leads him on: "So, that night, when he went out, you just wanted to see what was in his room?" Kim agrees this was true, and Eric's room was filled with fancy electronics, things he himself did not have. But it was a photo of his own father with Eric, taken someplace exotic, Hawaii perhaps, that had sent him over the edge. He'd raced downstairs to confront his father. But that other woman had come into the room, asking who this person was, and his own father had told her not to listen to him, describing Kim as 'just a convict he worked with at the prison at Lompoc'. His father's denial of him had been what set Kim off, he didn't plan the murders, he saw the letter opener and had grabbed it without thinking. Brenda has her confession and her motive now, but she has one more question, asking Kim why he'd kept Eric's clothes. The boy says simply that they were nice clothes. He apologizes for killing the young girl, Jenny. He hadn't meant to hurt her; Brenda drags her piecing gaze from Kim to the bloody pajamas that had belonged to little Jenny.

Gabriel is in Chief Pope's office. He has a plan to keep Brenda's squad intact. "So, on paper, you transfer everyone from Priority Homicide to the Counter Terrorism Bureau." Pope points out that they aren't trained for that duty. Gabriel then dazzles him with the best part of the plan. Pope will receive thousands of dollars from the feds to train them, and he can use that money toward his budget problems. Pope is beginning to think this is fantastic, and Gabriel, sensing victory, makes his final point. Counter Terrorism only needs personnel when the threat level is raised, otherwise, Pope would just be paying people to stand around. Pope is sold. "You know, Sergeant, for a bureaucrat, this plan of yours is the equivalent of turning water into wine. I only have one question. Why are you here suggesting it and not Chief Johnson?" Gabriel replies that the thought Brenda would like the plan better if he thought it had come from Pope himself. "I see you've worked out every detail, even who she is going to blame. That's real genius."

Brenda enters her little house to find that Fritz has emptied the garage, dragging all of his belongings into the house. Walking is nearly impossible. Fritz appears happy and satisfied, wanting to show her all of his things. Brenda relents, Fritz has made his point. She admits that she doesn't like change, but they need a larger house, and agrees it is important for them to have all their things in one place. She is willing to place the little house on the market and search for something larger. As Fritz kisses her, she pulls away to ask if she has to help him put all his things back into the garage. "Absolutely." is his firm reply. She kisses him with more intensity, "Maybe not." he gives in, as they fall across the bed, barely avoiding the clutter in the bedroom.

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