The Closer

Season 2 Episode 3


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jun 26, 2006 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
209 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Rated: TV-14-LV
Things are not as they seem when Brenda and the team investigate the accidental murders of three college students caught in the middle of a gang shootout.
Brenda must also continue her attempts at keeping her relationship with Fritz under wraps while her mother remains in town.


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  • mothers always know...

    So I love the fact that Brenda lies to her mom about taking some time of work but really is still on duty and there is Fritz right by her side. So the little signs start to pop up that all is not right at the Johnson household. Forwarded mail starts to turn up, that tacky U-Haul is still out front and Fritz has been wearing the same pants since Mama has shown up. Brenda must have gotten her investigative powers from that side as her mom drops the bomb that she knows they are living together and tells Brenda she’s relatively ok with it, but that she is not telling Brenda’s father.moreless
  • Great acting and writing!

    No wonder I love the show a lot as it

    Just keeps getting better and better as Brenda must keep

    Her relationship under wraps with Fritz from her mom who must not like the feds I guess!

    As well as investigate three college kids murders as the show was great on both a personal and professional level.

    GW Bailey, very underrated, is great as the comic relief in the show!
  • Brenda: "I can't believe I left my mother alone with Fritz, for the whole day." Gabriel: "I'm sure she'll be fine." Brenda: "I'm not worried about my mother."

    During the limited time that Brenda actually got her day off from work, it didn’t seem like she was completely leaving behind her job. Did you notice the first words out of her mouth, at Gordon Shaw's residence, were 'cause of death'. How funny she's treating her day off almost like an investigation. I also liked in the opening scene, Fritz not wanting to share that Gordon Shaw died of in autoerotic asphyxiation in front of Brenda's mother.

    Brenda: "Cause of death?"

    Fritz: "It doesn't say."

    Brenda: "That's the most thorough book out there...Fritz, how did Gordon Shaw die?"

    Fritz: "Autoerotic asphyxiation."

    Mrs. Johnson: "What on earth is that?"

    Brenda: (pause) "Doesn't say."

    Well onto the real investigation. I normally don't like episodes of any show, where the case is centered on a gang shooting. I don't know if I just feel it's over done, or what it is, but usually they don't interest me as much as other cases. This one sucked me in though, and struck at my heart. All the guest stars did an excellent job in this episode and I give them all an A+, their acting was magnificent. I felt myself moved both when Teresa recalled the shooting, and when the valet was stating how he was a 'dead man' for confessing.

    The solving of the case this week, was a departure from how the cases normally turn out to be solved. No red herring and no sudden plot twist, where the murderer is someone we already know. We didn't even get a face for the real murderer, and we didn't need one. This episode was all about those affected by the shooting and their lives. I couldn't imagine living like the valet is going to, or like any gang member, thinking that any day your life could be taken from you. The amount of fear the valet had must have been tremendous, to make him break down in tears in the interrogation room. This episode did a very well job dealing with two big issues, race and gangs. While both have been covered on television a good deal, 'The Closer' still managed to make them feel fresh.

    On a lighter note, I loved the mini-interrogation Brenda's mother had with Sgt. Gabriel about Fritz, and I loved that she was able to figure out Fritz was bunking with Brenda on her own. She lead Sgt. Gabriel right into a trap during their conversation, and it appears she might have also made a good closer like her daughter.

    Final Notes and Quotes

    - It's all the little things that make me love Brenda, such as her looking for her lost glasses throughout the episode.

    - Brenda: "Have you seen my glasses?"

    Fritz: "No, maybe you left them at my house. Oh no wait, I don't have a house I live out of a U-Haul."

    Brenda: "I'd really appreciate it if you didn't mention anything about Fritz."

    Gabriel: "You didn't tell your mom about Fritz?"

    Brenda: "Of course I told my mom about Fritz, just not some of the details, and I don't have time to tell you which ones so let's just leave them all out."

    Oh you mean that little detail about Fritz moving in with you?

    - Mrs. Johnson: "So you've never met him?"

    Gabriel: "No."

    Mrs. Johnson: "That's funny, because Fritz said he's worked a couple of cases with your squad."

    Gabriel: (pause) Ohhhh, Agent Howard? His name is Fritz? Great name."

    - I loved watching Brenda try and tackle the valet, only to be dragged along by his leg.

    - Brenda: (regarding Fritz moving in) Are you going to tell daddy about this?"

    Mrs. Johnson: "Oh, Lord no."

    Can we look forward to a visit from Mr. Johnson? I'm imagining a conversation between Brenda's hard ass father and Fritz. Now that would be entertaining.

    Final Rating: If not 4 out of 4 stars, very close to it. I loved it.

    - Tim Bronx

    Find this, and many other reviews at: www.motionpicturereviews.commoreless
  • As Brenda tries to solve what appears to be a gang shooting, her mom solves a case of her own.

    While the case was compelling, if not overly complicated, the real story of this episode is Mrs. Willie Ray Johnson, Brenda's mother. Because Brenda obviously takes after her in so many ways, it was seemingly inevitable that Mrs. Johnson would figure out what was going on between her daughter and Fritz. I like the fact that she knew quite some time ago, but willingly went along with the charade that Brenda laid out. And Fritz just has to LOVE her now.

    Now back to the case. Certainly a tragic story, but the valet stealing the car was a little too easy to guess. But all in all, another very well written show.moreless
  • Brenda's mom knew all along -- which didn't surprise me. Sharp as Brenda is, that apple didn't fall far from the tree. But where's her cat?

    As soon as Mrs. Talmadge mentioned the restaurant, my first thought was valet parking.

    I don't necessarily know why that is. I guess "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" made a bigger impression on me than I think it ought to have.

    [i]* comes over with an urge to sing "Danke Schoen" *[/i]

    First and foremost, tho, I need to reaffirm my love for Willie Rae. Her scene at the end was perfect, and I [i]knew[/i] that a sharp old lady like that -- one who brought Brenda Leigh up to be the marvel that she is -- would figure it out.

    Her phrasing was unfortunate -- her response to Brenda's "I didn't want to disappoint you" being "It's much too late for that" -- but the pride beaming in her eyes was unmistakeable.

    And really, how much of a mensch is Fritz? A whole week of probably crashing with friends or taking a hotel while all of his clothes are locked up outside Brenda's place. And as much of a burden as Willie Rae already knew this had to be for him, inviting her to please stay on longer. That and not wanting to say "autoerotic asphyxiation" in front of Willie Rae. Oh yes. Brenda's got herself a keeper.

    But is it weird we haven't seen her cat this season?

    That, of course, is not the hot issue.

    I'd thought from the previews that Brenda was going to have some kind of throwdown with Sanchez over his history with gangs. As it turned out, that history proved invaluable, not only with deciphering the graffiti and the interviews with the Upright Citizens Convention (I really love Pope sometimes), but in their pursuit of the case and who they were looking for, based on what the girlfriend said.

    I have to take a second and applaud her mentoring of Sgt. Gabriel. It was nice to see her draw back the curtain a little bit, reveal some of the secrets behind why she so completely rocks. His notification of the family was perfect, and led to some really well done investigation.

    The valet was so broken up by his part in the whole mess, and rightly so. Slights escalated impossibly until people were firing weapons at one another and senseless loss and tragedy were expanding in every direction.

    Gang culture was explored reasonably well, and I thought Brenda maintained a really well-run investigation into the questions that were being raised, following evidence and not personal bias.

    The result: A truly sensitive but relentless pursuit of the truth, regardless of personal patronage or whose noses might get out of joint.

    Even Cmdr. Taylor was impressed.

    I know for a fact [i]I[/i] was.

    Nice installment, great eppy, and nice spotlight on Sanchez and Gabriel.

    Good work, guys. :)

    [i]* wanders off humming "Danke schoen, darling, danke schoen ..." *[/i]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

Tony Denison

Tony Denison

Detective Lt. Andy Flynn

Jon Tenney

Jon Tenney

FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard

John Lafayette

John Lafayette

Ronald Talmadge

Guest Star

Lovensky Jean-Baptiste

Lovensky Jean-Baptiste


Guest Star

Kathleen Lancaster

Kathleen Lancaster

Theresa Hoover

Guest Star

Phillip P. Keene

Phillip P. Keene

Buzz Watson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • In this episode, Fritz is no longer driving the black SUV he had last season. Perhaps this was changed deliberately to stop confusion, due to the involvement of the victim's black SUV in the murder.

    • The gangs of Los Angeles figure large in this episode as they have in earlier ones. The scope of the gang presence in Los Angeles County is enormous: at present there are an estimated 600 gangs with over 150,000 members in Los Angeles County.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Brenda: (In reference to Fritz moving into her house): Are you gonna tell Daddy about this?
      Willie Rae: Oh, Lord no.

    • Brenda: I rented you a car.
      Willie Rae: I don't trust L.A. drivers. Everybody's always talkin' on their portable telephones.

    • Sanchez: Take off your shoe.
      Buzz: Oh, I love when he does this.
      Suspect: You ain't got nothin' on me. I ain't gotta tell you nothing.
      Sanchez: Take off your shoe. (Suspect does, Sanchez whacks himself in the chest with it)
      Sanchez: You kicked me!
      Pope: (to Brenda) Well, it's good to see you're having a positive influence on your team.

    • Pope: What's with the Upright Citizen Convention in the hall?
      Brenda: I had the Gang Squad haul in the most active Six-Dueces. We think this might've been some kind of tit-for-tat in their war with the Five-Threes.
      Pope: Is that the legal term for revenge killing, now? Tit-for-tat?

    • Gabriel: Ma'am. I guess notification's gotta be one of the hardest parts of your job, huh?
      Brenda: It is. But I'm not doin' my job today. You are.

      (The following lines of advice are delivered in the car, intercut with scenes of Gabriel notifying the Talmadges)

      Brenda: We need them to talk to us, so don't say you're from homicide. Just say LAPD. When people see you at their door and you say "Homicide," you lose them -- and any chance of learning something useful.
      ... Ask if anyone else is there, just in case they pass out when they hear the news. I had a single mother once who fainted, slammed her head on a coffee table and I was stuck waiting for an ambulance with a bleeding, unconscious woman.
      ... Answer any question they have with another question. We need to find out if they saw their son. It might even tell us something about their relationship with him -- maybe even who he hangs out with.
      ... How you say it is up to you. Once you tell them, watch closely. How do they react? What's the first thing they think of?
      ... Now get ready. You're about to become the main character in the story of someone's worst day ever.

    • Brenda: I can't believe I left my mother alone with Fritz for the whole day.
      Gabriel: She'll be fine.
      Brenda: I'm not worried about my mother.

    • Fritz: Gordon Shaw. Age 41. Actor. Found dead by the maid at 2 a.m. in the pool house.
      Brenda Leigh: Cause of death? ... Cause of death?
      Fritz: Doesn't say.
      Brenda: What do you mean it doesn't say?
      Willie Rae: Look at the size of that driveway, my word.
      Brenda: What did he die of?
      Fritz: Doesn't...say.
      Brenda: That's supposed to be the most thorough book available. Let me see that. Fritz! How did Gordon Shaw die?
      Fritz: Autoerotic asphyxiation.
      Willie Rae: What in the world is that?
      Brenda: Doesn't say.

    • Brenda: What? You moved your flight up? Why? I thought you were staying longer. I promise to show you stars that aren't dead!
      Willie Rae: Guests are like fish. After three days, you'd better throw 'em out.
      Brenda: You've been here a week.

    • Willie Rae: I'd best get on home. Your daddy's probably run out of fresh underwear by now. Besides, this gives Fritz a chance to move his stuff in from that tacky U-Haul. In fact, why don't you go out now and get yourself a clean pair of pants?
      Fritz: Thank you Willie Rae. I think I will. (exits)
      Brenda: did you...?
      Willie Rae: Half the medicine cabinet was empty. Half your closet. His mail was arriving here. I never could get a straight answer as to where he lived. And that baseball pyramid on your table. Why did you think you had to keep this a secret from me?
      Brenda: I didn't want to disappoint you.
      Willie Rae: Brenda Leigh, it's much too late for that.

    • Brenda: Have you seen my glasses?
      Fritz: Yeah, they're at my house. (pauses) Oh wait---I don't have a house. I'm living in the back of a U-Haul!

  • NOTES (7)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: April 24, 2007 on Prima

    • This episode was submitted to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Kyra Sedgwick's 2007 Emmy consideration in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category. However, the award went home with Sally Field ("Brothers & Sisters").

    • Sanchez again shows his gang expertise drawn from his days on the Rampart Crash squad. In several scenes we see some of the most common signs of gang membership or presence. The African-American gangs of South LA have a very different system of organization, naming, and identification from the Latino gangs of LA. Most are affiliated with one of two large gangs: the Bloods or the Crips.

      The 6-deuce members brought in wear similar clothing, as is commonly done, and red bandanas, affiliating them with the Bloods gang. At another time, Brenda interviews two 8-1 members wearing blue clothing, identifying them as members of a Crips gang.

      Later, Sanchez demonstrates hand signals used by gang members, and explains gang grafitti on a wall. Grafitti serves several purposes for gangs: to mark territory; to name members; to announce their presence, their actions or their plans in rival territory (such as what Sanchez explained) or to warn rival gangs what will happen if they stray into the wrong territory. Grafitti can be highly communicative, and the Bloods and Crips have unique alphabets.

    • The gangs figuring in this story are identified by numbers: 5-3; 6-deuce and 8-1. These refer to the street numbers roughly central to their territory. South of downtown Los Angeles, the east-west streets other than major arterials are numbered. Gang names are rarely street numbers alone but tend to incorporate street numbers into their names.

    • When Brenda goes through her mail, we can see her address and Fritz' both have a 90038 zip code. This is a central Hollywood zipcode, adding yet another small wink to Hollywood to the show by telling us that's where Brenda lives!

    • The Talmadge family live in Ladera Heights, known in the LA basin as the "black Beverly Hills." Located near Culver City, the hillside community boast multi-million dollar hillside houses with ocean views, and is one of the wealthiest areas in the state. It is not part of the city of Los Angeles, but is in a pocket of unincorporated territory.

      By contrast, although USC is a prestigious private university, the south LA neighborhood where it is located is known for its poverty and gang violence. The location used for the crime scene is on Flower St. Although slightly mis-located to be on the kids' route from Ladera Heights, the location is one block off Figueroa, and two blocks from the USC campus.

    • The Closer finished fourth (top cable shows) for the week ending 7/2/2006, drawing 5.6 million viewers.