The Closer

Season 4 Episode 6

Problem Child

2
Aired Monday 9:00 PM Aug 18, 2008 on TNT
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
180 votes
5

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT

Brenda must decide how to handle a missing teen case when the evidence brings to light his tumultuous past. The deeper the PHD gets into the case, the more sinister is becomes, making everyone wonder if the potentially murdered boy may himself be a murderer.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Painfully Revealing …

    9.2
    This was not the best Closer by any stretch; but, in human terms, it was one of the most painful. The problem child in question, who we never see, was apparently a walking, talking, torturous nightmare. How could anyone who has a job like Brenda's care for, or even want, a child? The long hours and the endless take-home stress are soul crushing. But, it is clear that Fritz wants a family, badly. This is a very adult view of these 'family' problems. The 'problem child' is an adoptee from hell, adopted by parents who wanted, and couldn't conceive, a son of their own. Then this dream turned psycho nightmare threatened to destroy the little family (one daughter) they did have.



    Kyra Sedgwick is even more intense and passionate than usual, befitting a crime involving a child. The three family members and the neighbor whose dog was killed by this little monster are totally believable. Brenda's team, as usual, is sharp - but this episode is all Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, and her Fritzy (Jon Tenney).



    If the story wasn't such a downer, it would be easier to enjoy. Forget the popcorn and have a drink instead. Last week, Lt. Provenza and company played it for laughs - this isn't last week, and I can't seem to recollect any laughs in this one.moreless
  • Series classic for many years to come!

    10
    This young teen boy named Sergei is really creepy from the get-go. And of all the cases in the years Brenda has been in charge, this one is not like your typical average missing child case. Because this boy has something to hide. And that this young teen, who has ran away many, many times. We see dead animals all around. But also Brenda getting really emotionally involved. Because she is the one that is the cool, calm, and collective type. But this time, she isn't. Sergei is doing his best to match wits with her and the entire police department. She is afraid to have a child after the emotions that have been placed on her.moreless
  • Brenda investigates a missing child case.

    10
    The missing child here is a thirteen-year-old Russian boy named Sergei. Brenda wants to kick her investigation into overdrive and is frustrated by the initial nonchalance of both the boy's parents and her own boss. The boy has a history of running away, after all. But as Brenda digs in, she discovers that there are other, darker things in Sergei's past. It becomes obvious that there are any number of people who would have reason to do this boy harm. The episode takes a chilling turn, and it raises some equally chilling moral quandries. What do you do when someone you're charged with protecting is a monster in the making? The acting is sharp on all parts, and the writers add an unexpected twist, making this more than just a typical missing child episode.moreless
  • Oh my jeezy ...

    9.5
    That Serge kid freaked Brenda the hell out. Between the graffiti on the wall, the catalog of murdered and tortured pets and animals and the neighbor's dead dog her tubes tied themselves.



    And honestly, it's a great question -- raised as well in the "Angel" episode "I've Got You Under My Skin" and the "Criminal Minds" episode "Sex, Birth, Death": What do you do with a stone cold psycho child?



    The police had been called time and time again and no one would jail, treat or medicate this kid. Pets weren't safe, people were in danger and there's Serge in the middle laughing and laughing.



    I think whether he'd been adopted or not was secondary to the fact that the parents did feel that he was their responsibility and I can see them lashing out after he planned and executed the hit-and-run of a neighbor's dog.



    I loved his sister from the moment she appeared on screen. Whoever that actress was found the exact right voice for her character. I loved the picture of her with the kitty and the rage in her voice.



    And for a person who was on screen for less than a minute -- and dead for all of that -- Serge was a pretty powerful character.



    Also, this episode kept me guessing. Because Serge was dead and everyone they talked to could potentially know that, the interview of the Jason character made me think maybe he was lying, that he was the instigator, because it would be impossible for Serge to refute any of it. The sister seemed like a good candidate too a couple of times.



    The dad's confession, in the end, was outstanding. What could be done? What could he do?



    Short of locking him in a room for the rest of his life and feeding him by a tray, I honestly have no idea. That child was eff'd up in ways I've never encountered thank G-d.



    He made Brenda scared to have a child. Though honestly, any child with her and Fritz as parents would be a child who would be loved. And probably more than a little neurotic. But probably not a serial killer ...



    Probably ...



    P.S.: Nice to see the two of them getting along again. When Fritz joined her in the shower, Brenda looking down and saying "What's that?" made me spit out my Coke. :Dmoreless
  • Brenda and the team including Fritz are called in to investigate the case of a missing boy who is assumed to be a runaway after everyone finds out he is a problem child with a previous record. The case quickly turns to a homicide investigation.moreless

    10
    So Brenda and the team are investigating the death of an obviously seriously disturbed boy who was adopted by the Monroe family from Russia. The family had called the police when they figured their adopted son Sergey had just run away like he had done before, so they said. After investigating further Brenda decides the case is no longer considered a high risk missing child. Fritz is angry with her over this. After discovering the neighbor's dog had been killed by Sergey and his friend Jason, they suspect the dog owner to be the person that kidnapped Sergey. When the team can't find Jason for questioning they also discover that there were a lot more people who despised Sergey. The team finds out that Sergey had forced Jason to help him let the neighbor's dog out by blackmailing him because of his sexual preference. When Sergey's corpse turns up everyone suspects Jason, until other evidence points to Sergey's gothic adopted sister. Under pressure from Brenda and detective Gabriel, his sister still doesn't know what the team is talking about, and her parents tell the story of what really happened. This led to the father confessing to beating Sergey in the head with a hammer after finding out that he had run over the neighbor's dog and killed it, which was the straw that broke the camel's back in a string of tortures and killings of animals that the boy had previously done. Also Fritz tap dances around the possibility of he and Brenda having a child in the future, to which Brenda tries to lightly turn Fritz down...Brenda may not want a child.moreless
J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Assistant Police Chief Will Pope

Corey Reynolds

Corey Reynolds

Sgt. David Gabriel

Robert Gossett

Robert Gossett

Commander Russell Taylor

G.W. Bailey

G.W. Bailey

Detective Lt. Louis Provenza

Kyra Sedgwick

Kyra Sedgwick

Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson

Tony Denison

Tony Denison

Detective Lt. Andy Flynn

Cheryl White

Cheryl White

Susan Monroe

Guest Star

Jamie McShane

Jamie McShane

Brian Monroe

Guest Star

Vanessa Marano

Vanessa Marano

Theresa Monroe

Guest Star

Jonathan Del Arco

Jonathan Del Arco

Dr. Morales

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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