The Closer

Season 3 Episode 3

Saving Face

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jul 02, 2007 on TNT

Episode Recap

Flynn, Provenza and Tao are attending the funeral of a colleague, Ray Hodge, where Lt. Flynn gives the eulogy. As Flynn and Provenza assume their duties as pallbearers, Provenza commenting on how much weight the deceased gained. He loses his grip on the casket at the top of the stairs in front of the church. Then, everyone loses their grip and it rolls to rest on the sidewalk popping open revealing the deceased along with an unidentified blonde woman wrapped only in a blanket. Tao points out that the casket and two bodies must stay put as the stairs are now a crime scene. Provenza isn't going to let Tao keep a 35 year veteran of the force lying on the sidewalk while the widow and children wait by an empty grave so the decision is made for the casket to proceed to the service and they will bring it back after the service. At the graveside, few are happy to see Brenda, who tells the clergyman that he must stop the service and not lower the casket.

Back at the church steps, Brenda is accosted by a furious bride to be. She stomps to the body of the dead woman and begins to drag her away. Brenda has Gabriel stop her, but just as Brenda thinks the young lady to be calmer, she attacks Brenda, striking her in the face, and bedlam breaks out. Brenda orders her team to arrest the entire wedding party and sends Detective Daniels to close down the funeral home.

In Pope's office he rants about how Brenda has embarrassed the LAPD and Pope insists that she has let the situation escalate from a minor embarrassment into a major incident. When she asks how that is possible, he has three words for her: "Flynn and Provenza." Commander Taylor offers to deal with the press. He cannot resist pointing out that the incident would have been a lot worse had "Chief Johnson done anything effective to defend herself." Brenda spits back that she made a conscious choice not to strike the bride to be. She stomps out of Pope's office and encounters Fritz who is upset having waited for her over an hour in front of 'their new house.'

Entering the murder room, Brenda listens as Flynn describes his former partner, Ray Hodges. Hodges had retired after a second heart attack to become a private detective. Brenda asks what the coroner has said about the bodies and Tao says there was no sign of sexual assault on the Jane Doe in the casket. As Brenda whirls around, the entire team sees Maggie Hodges strike Flynn across the face, twice. Brenda rushes into her office, upset that Flynn is holding the widow a bit roughly by her wrists. He protests that she hit him, and Provenza agrees that she had, but Brenda points angrily, sending the two detectives out the door.

As Brenda sympathizes with the distraught widow, Maggie repeats over and over how unfair this is. She tells Maggie that while her husband's death was thought to have been due to natural causes, now she had to ask if anyone might want him dead. The widow says "You mean, more than me? I seriously doubt it." Brenda gets the widow's consent to turn over her husband's files. She assures Mrs. Hodges that she will get her husband's body back to her for reburial as soon as she possibly can.

Returning to the murder room, she is told the funeral home director, Andrew Eckhart, has been brought in to speak with her. Before she enters the room to talk to him, she is waylaid by Chief Pope, who wants her to resolve the situation with the wedding party. "I arrested them. Situation resolved," Brenda fires at him. Pope drags her into the room of screaming wedding attendees. He announces that after consulting lawyers for the LAPD, he has been assured that Ms. Morgan and her family have no cause for action against the force, and that their own video clearly shows Brenda to be the injured party. As the two women appear to be headed for another physical confrontation, Pope holds Brenda back. Brenda takes a deep breath and graciously says she will release everyone if the will sign releases abandoning plans for any civil action. Just as the situation appears to have been defused, Mr. Morgan demands to know who is going to reimburse him for the cost of the wedding pointing that the caterer alone cost over $30,000.00. Pope points out that the price of the caterer will pale in comparison to the attorney's fees paid out in a losing civil action. The angry bride wants the last word: "I will never, ever, ever sign a release. Not only that, but when I am done suing you, I am going to take the city's millions and have the most beautiful wedding ever."

Brenda and Gabriel enter the interview room with the funeral home director. Andrew Eckhart is very upset to have been read his rights. He asks Brenda what he is accused of doing. Brenda points out that burying two bodies in a single casket is an excellent way to disguise a murder. He insists that he has never seen the young woman in the photo. Brenda asks him how he could possibly be certain. He describes himself as 'The Closer,' explaining that he is always the last person to look at a departed family member and closes the coffin lid himself, every single time. He is insistent that the day's events have ruined him. Brenda then asks for the logs of every guest book for the last five days suspecting that someone may have entered through the front door and left out the back.

In autopsy, Dr. Crippen confirm Mrs. Hodges suspicions that Ray died of natural causes. He believes Brenda will find Jane Doe a bit more interesting. The x-rays reveal that her neck was broken using considerable force and that she has had a great deal of plastic surgery within the last 18 months. Dr. Crippen holds up a plastic bag containing a pair of breast implants from the body telling Brenda that she can use the serial number to locate the surgeon.

Chief Johnson and Detective Daniels wait in the surgeon's office. To Daniels' amusement, he suggests Brenda has come due to dissatisfaction with her lips, suggesting that she might simply want to use a different color, and less of it, if he can be blunt. Brenda interrupts to say she is there regarding breast implants. The surgeon drops his eyes from her lips, and asks just how much larger she'd like to become. Daniels rescues Brenda, holding up the breast implants from their Jane Doe. The doctor tells the two detectives that it is Sue Emory, an aspiring actress. Daniels asks how an aspiring actress could afford the procedures. He has no idea, adding that she'd always paid up front and in cash. Brenda asks for a copy of the patient file. The doctor refuses and Brenda reminds him that the doctor-patient privilege expires with the death of the patient. Dr. Stone replies that discretion is the basis of his business and he will be ruined if the rich and famous think their cosmetic procedures might become public knowledge.

In the murder room, Gabriel says that no one other than the mortician or the widow had access to Ray Hodges' coffin. Brenda says the victim's name is Sue Emory, but she'd learned little else and thinks the name might be as fake as the woman herself. Tao announces that the LAPD has a complaint on record against Sue Emory, accusing her of extortion. Daniels says that this is the connection between the two they have been looking for, Emory was blackmailing Hodges. Sanchez theorizes that if Sue Emory had photos of herself and a client that could be the basis for the extortion. Daniels points out that extortion might explain how Sue Emory had paid for her surgeries in cash.

An angry Brenda demands to know why Flynn and Provenza kept from her the fact that they had known that Ray Hodges was being extorted by their victim and said nothing. Flynn swears they had never seen Sue Emory until she rolled out of Hodges' casket so there was no way they could possibly have made the connection. She accuses them of manipulating the system to help out an old friend. Provenza points out the good news: they already know a lot about the victim, her address and the name of her boyfriend who has a record for assault. She asks them if they have any idea who Sue Emory was actually extorting; they do not. Brenda demands they bring the boyfriend, Scott Hauser, in for questioning, adding that they had better not withhold one more little bitty smidgeon of evidence from her again.

The team finds signs of a struggle at Sue Emory's house. It has been ransacked. Brenda is amazed at the monthly rent of $6,000.00. Tao tells her the killer left no prints tying him to the murder. They see that the shams on the bed match the bedspread the woman had been wrapped in before being dumped into the casket with Ray Hodge.

Entering the interview room, Brenda introduces herself to Scott Hauser, adding that she feels she already knows him, having found his prints all over the house of his girlfriend, the murder victim. Buzz, Commander Taylor and the rest of the team are watching the interview from the electronics room.

Hauser tells Brenda and Flynn that he did not murder Sue Emory. Hauser protests that he wasn't Sue Emory's boyfriend, he'd been her manager. She had come to him with a book she wanted to sell, a book worth millions of dollars. Brenda asks what it could possibly have been about to be so valuable, but Scott Hauser doesn't want to say. She asks where the book is, he claims he doesn't know. Sue Emory is some kind of call girl or high priced prostitute that possessed compromising photos of herself and some client. Perhaps her 'manager' had helped her select the client to blackmail. Perhaps the 'manager' had even participated in the shakedown, and after Sue had collected the money, Hauser had decided his cut wasn't enough and when Sue wouldn't part with more of the money, Hauser had strangled her. She demands a name, who were they blackmailing? He is silent. Flynn asks "Did you dump the girl's remains into the casket at the funeral home?" Hauser denies ever having been to the funeral home and says he doesn't even know where 'that Sheffield place' is. Brenda points out that she never mentioned that the funeral home was Sheffield and Eckhart. Hauser thinks he now needs a lawyer. "Yes, you do," Brenda says, "preferably one with death penalty experience."

As Brenda enters the electronics room, Pope asks if she is ready to press charges against Scott Hauser. Brenda replies that she doesn't have enough evidence. She orders him held for 48 hours and then released. Flynn asks why she wants Hauser held for 48 hours if she's planning to release him. The 48 hour hold will give Flynn and Provenza enough time to fill out the paperwork to get a wiretap for Hauser's phone line. They can't prove that Scott Hauser had access to the casket, he may have suffered serious financial loss at the death of Sue Emory and his fingerprints aren't on anything connected to the actual murder. Provenza asks if she really means for he and Flynn to stay up all night working on a warrant for someone whom you could say had a good reason not to commit the murder? "Exactly!" Brenda them leaves the room after.

In the electronics room the next day, Flynn tells her that the judge approved the wiretap at 8:45 am and Scott Hauser that had been released about twenty minutes ago. Provenza tells her the guy has only made two calls thus far, one to arrange a massage, and one to the mother that thought her son was in law school. Buzz interrupts to say that Hauser is in the process of leaving a message on a cell phone. Brenda tells Flynn to get a warrant for the funeral home. Scott Hauser has called someone to say that the money is no longer enough, he will need double the agreed upon amount. It's still the same book, but now it tells a whole different story. He asks the person to meet him at a specific restaurant at noon.

Brenda has her team in place as Hauser enters the restaurant. Spying the person he's meeting, he greets the man. Hauser is meeting the plastic surgeon, Dr. Jonathon Stone. Stone demands the photos but Hauser wants to see the money first. This accomplished, Scott says he wants monthly payments to keep quiet about Sue's murder. As Sanchez, Daniels and Buzz listen from the kitchen, the details of the crime spill out. Scott accuses Dr. Stone of killing Sue Emory, the doctor claims it was accidental. Hauser asks which part was the accident, killing her or stuffing her body into the casket. They argue, the 'manager' loved her, but she'd believed the doctor when he'd promised to marry her. Dr. Stone says that a divorce would have ruined him financially, but she just wouldn't see reason and he'd only lost his temper for one split second. Flynn approaches the pair, placing Scott Hauser under arrest. Brenda asks if she can join the doctor at his table. Provenza slides into a table behind her. Dr. Stone exclaims that Hauser was trying to blackmail him and Brenda agrees that it is distressing. She tells him that she could not figure out who had access to the funeral home besides the obvious personnel. She details the crime, telling him that Sue Emory and Scott Hauser were blackmailing him, so he'd hired a retired LAPD detective to act as his go-between. And when Ray Hodge had noted that 'P.S. agreed to payment terms', that meant him, plastic surgeon. Then, Ray Hodge had suffered a fatal heart attack, opening a limited window of opportunity for the surgeon to get rid of her body because he'd had access to the dead officer's coffin. She asks for the book and is surprised, admitting she had been imagining a completely different kind of incriminating photos, not before and after pictures of his rich and famous clients. Turning back to the shaken doctor, she shows him the bug placed in the floral arrangement and asks that he not bother trying to deny anything, they have him on tape. She arrests him for first degree murder.

In Pope's office, Brenda once more confronts Mr. Morgan and his still-furious daughter. Mr. Morgan insists he will pursue his civil suit against the department. Pope asks him why he would bother to waste money on a losing action, and the angry rich man declares it is to protect his family's good name. Brenda asks him which daughter he is referring to. He is confused, but things clear up when Brenda produces two photos of Michelle Morgan, looking pretty much exactly as she appears today, the other the 'before' photo from Dr. Stone's book. Michelle is horrified and insists that the photos are confidential. "They were," Brenda says, "but then we arrested your plastic surgeon for murder, and they became evidence." Pope suggests that he might be persuaded to keep the photos from becoming public. Mr. Morgan agrees he will drop his civil suit if criminal charges against Michelle are dropped. Pope tells the Morgans that he wants them to apologize to Brenda and the LAPD, in writing, signed and distributed to the media. Mr. Morgan refuses, but Michelle demands he do it. As they rise to leave, Brenda hands Michelle the bride and groom statuette from atop her wedding cake. The look on the young woman's face is priceless as it dawns on her that the LAPD had enjoyed her $30,000.00 bridal feast.