The Closer

Season 1 Episode 3

The Big Picture

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jun 27, 2005 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
256 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Rated: TV-14-LV

Brenda must fight for justice for two Russian prostitutes murdered by the illegitimate son of a Russian mafia figure whiles she overcomes the prejudices of a department who sees one dead prostitute as pretty much the same as another. As she does, she confronts her own prejudices, and discovers the justice for these women is scarce in a world dominated by men. When the FBI steps in to take over the investigation, she shows the stern stuff she's made of, using highly unorthodox methods to finally bring the murderer to an unusual form of justice. Meanwhile, Brenda's relationship with Fritz takes a new direction, as the FBI's involvement in this case hints at the challenges that will come when they must balance their work and professional lives. At the end of the episode, Brenda purchases one of the dead girl's house, and finds herself the owner of a cat she doesn't want, but who has ideas of its own.moreless

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  • I kinda' liked this episode. But it had them all on a little too high a moral horse.

    The whole, "you didn't think this was important 'cause she was just a hooker until the client list came out" thing got old fast. I like that Brenda and Fritz are getting more open with the attraction, but I'm not sure where it'll go. I like that Taylor's starting to warm up, because the whole police infighting is so pass! Some might say that this is an interesting look into the Russian mafia (who? I hear you say...) but I'm not one of them. It was good, but it was a little too leading.

    We start out in the morgue, which an every day person might find highly odd. However, those of us that are fans of crime scene investigations pretty much expect it. What's new about this series is that it does it during the opening credits. Now that's what I call nice and refreshing.

    Right, back to the review... I find it interesting (and would like to know if it's fact) that bodies are dumped in a large cold room... rather like big slabs of meat. I know that it's not meant to be disrespectful, but it totally blows my idea of the nice wall of rolling shelves behind stainless steel doors.

    Anyway (do you think I'll ever be able to stop digressing?), they are looking for a dead hooker. Why since they're such a high profile unit? Well, because of her client list, of course. While Brenda is trying to get all the information on the case, Captain Taylor comes in and freaks out at her about dissin' his team. (Yeah, your team does so well and that's why this unit was taken away from you...) And what would an episode be if Taylor didn't freak out.

    So while looking at the list, she's looking for people over 6' because the wounds go down and she's 6'. Right 'cause she couldn't have been done while lying down... but still. Pope comes up to her and tells her that she needs to be circumspect because he doesn't want feathers ruffled and Brenda sees right through his crap. He has a friend that was a client and he's a federal agent and getting married soon. (Boy, his fiancé sure knows how to pick 'em, doesn't she?) Lt. Provenza (the least tactful of Brenda's entire team) is tasked with interviewing all the johns, except for Pope's friend. (Oh, there's no favoritism here... He wants her to be a hard a** unless he's friends with a suspect.)

    Brenda takes one of her team (well, the only woman on the team, but I can't remember her name at this precise moment) to the hooker's house and they're amazed at how nice it was. Not only that, but the kitchen has just been remodeled and tricked out with the latest and greatest in appliances.

    While Brenda's checking out the still unnamed hooker's place, Provenza is doing interviews. Then of course it keeps flipping between the two, but really besides Brenda finding a cat, she doesn't do anything supremely nteresting for a few minutes. He talks to a judge who has a girlfriend and may be over 6', but can't stand up straight. Then he talks to a congressman who has a dog (which makes it seem like he met the hooker at the vet, but they don't say for sure). He says she had a boyfriend who was remodeling her kitchen. (When he said that, I immediately pictured a big burly construction type who would work without his shirt on and... uh... {Danae wipes the corner of her mouth.} Right. Anyways, didn't think of just some guy who was paying to get it done...)

    Next we get to the son of a Russian heroine mob boss, Nicholai Koslov. He refused counsel and at this point Brenda's back so she's doing the questioning. He knew the hooker's name (Zoya Patrovna) and was clear that he'd had sex with her on the day of her death so the sex kit would definitely come back with his DNA. His alibi is the FBI...

    He was with them for 10 hours. (No wonder he wasn't worried about facing Brenda for a few minutes in their interrogation room...)

    Fritz comes to Brenda's hotel room early and she freaks 'cause it's a mess. At this point, I'm wondering why she couldn't have moved out 'cause you know it's costing her lots and lots of money. He gives her some advice about getting her own place (which definitely indicated to me that she was going to get her new place during this episode) and then confirms Nick's alibi.

    Brenda then questions Pope's friend in Pope's office (and not only is he looking a little hung over but rather stoned as well). Pope tries to answer for his friend and she totally puts the smack down on him and he shuts his dirty mouth. She notes that the friend was Zoya's first appointment in L.A. and her last appointment the day of her murder. She also asked him where in the world he got the money to pay for so many visits. ($500/hr, at least 3 days a week... You do the math.) The friend works at the immigration and customs department... which is also highly suspicious. (But in these types of shows, you always have to be suspicious, right?) She snags the sleaze's cup

    and Pope freaks out about it.

    Gabe has hooked up with one of his old co-workers and she's looking for cases similar to the current one. Taylor catches him at it and Gabe does his best brown-nosing which only gets him so far. They find another murder with the same profile as Zoya's and that was linked to the Koslov's. Gabe asks Taylor for info on the family since he's apparently an expert, but he says Brenda can ask for her own info... Oh, look at you, Mr. Snottypants! (Maybe that's what I should call him all the time... Hmmm...)

    The team goes through the phone records and Flynn tells her that she only made 3 calls regularly and one was to this lady, Nadia ('cause you know Nadia in Russia is as common as Mary in the U.S., right?). Brenda goes and finds Nadia and just before talking to her, she makes a cutesy phone call to Fritz. (So, if any of you aren't sure if she's having a relationship with him, I think your question's just been answered!) Nadia was playing dumb until Brenda pulls out the murder scene photos and she crumbles. The information goes that the Customs guy made them date him for letting them in the country. Zoya was pregnant. Nick keeps their passports until they pay off their debt or they refer three others. Lots of crying and sympathetic looks from Brenda.

    As Gabe is telling Brenda about the second murder, the FBI show up with Pope and take all the evidence regarding Zoya 'cause it's a matter of "National Security". (Isn't that always the convenient excuse anymore?) They take all the stuff which kinda' pisses everyone off, but Brenda smirks 'cause she still has the parallel case. She and Gabe go to a cemetery and start digging up unmarked graves. (Must be nice that all these type of women get buried in the same place... Or maybe it was just Russian hookers...) The priest is with them and when they find the first murder victim says that he'd been meaning to put a marker on her grave. Brenda asks him why and (surprise, surprise) this girl had been preggers as well. So now there's a definite connection.

    So the story is recapped for those that haven't been paying attention. Customs guy (possibly called Booth and that's what I'll be using for the rest of this...) lets Russian girls go through for the mob for their prostitution ring so he can have first choice. Brenda told him that she doesn't think he killed the girls, but makes him make an appointment with the FBI or she'll talk to his fiancé about his extracurricular activities. (Can you really threaten someone with tattling? Doesn't that seem way too 2nd grade???)

    So Brenda pops in to see the 2 jerk FBI agents and when they try and tell her they have an appointment, she says that Booth isn't coming. When she asks them to verify Nick's whereabouts for the 2nd case, they always give her an alibi for him no matter where he is. She's pissed and as she walks out Fritz comes after her and tells her to look at the big picture. He says they'll stick to the story no matter what and she says she hopes they do and hopes he isn't angry with her the next day. (They have a nice "awww" moment when he says that he agrees with her that it's bad, but dude! Do I have to reiterate it???)

    When she gets back, Poke starts talking about how the FBI is on her case and Taylor is in her office. She asks him for an update on the Family and he looks surprised, but tells her. It might have been because the Captain was there, but I think that he may finally be warming up a little. Anyways, he said that Nick's a bastard (and I mean that in the definition sense) of his father and an American girl. When he was 4, his mother went missing. His brothers are being groomed to take over the family business and he's the family pimp.

    Brenda goes in to interview him and the family criminal lawyer is there and says he's not going to say anything. Brenda says that's fine and gets him all worked up when she starts talking about his mother and how that made him view women as disposable. She actually got him so mad that he lunged across the table at her. Then she asks the lawyer if he can account for his whereabouts during the day in question because he was at the FBI for over 10 hours and she couldn't imagine Nick being there that long without his lawyer. (All said with wide-eyed Southern innocence, which I thoroughly enjoyed.) The lawyer is looking at Nick and says that he can't say anything about that and Nick is all upset. Why? Well, I didn't realize until nearly the end of the interview, but now the family will know he's been selling them out to the FBI. Then he says he wants to confess, but because the FBI won't budge on the alibi, there's nothing they can do, which suits Brenda just fine. Then he threatens Brenda but she knows he won't be a danger. Poke confronts her about it and she pulls up the pics of the two Russian girls and he shuts up.

    Last scene... Brenda is in Zoya's house and says that the owners are desperate to sell it and she's going to buy it. Fritz is pissed because Nick was found dead and she pretty much pulled the trigger. She gives him Brooks as the new informant, and he takes the info but says he doesn't want to talk work for awhile with her. He gets snarky when she gets mad that the cat is still in the house and then leaves. She faked me out and looked like she might actually keep the cat, but then picks him up and you know she's going to get rid of him straight away.moreless
  • Very good of Brenda standing up to the feds

    Don't you just love it when someone stands up to the arrogant feds

    Like Brenda did and though I find Fitz decent and likable

    She definately doesn't put up with any bull not just from the feds but also from her own team

    Again Brenda holds her own against a usually male dominated office and her boss tries to look out for her.

    Which is nice!
  • here kitty kitty

    Hmm…not sure that I could live in a house that someone died in. That is a bit creepy. I get it that she feel in love with the house and that it was cheap and in a good locations, but still…also I get that justice was served for the murders and that she did fins someone who was willing to turn evidence against the big Russian Mob, but that would still put the FBI back lots of time and work and the new witness was not the same as family. So is that a decision that she can really sleep with at night?!? Cute kitty.moreless
  • This episode really develops the character of several characters, including Brenda Leigh Johnson, Fritz, Pope, Flynn and Gabriel.

    This episode is as good as any in this excellent series. We learn a little more about how Brenda works, taking charge of looking for the body herself in the morgue when no one is there to help her. Gabriel is coming around to respect the way Brenda thinks. Flynn is so sure he is right that he tries to go around Brenda, so she takes the time to let him know that he can't fool her. I love the interaction between Gabriel and Flynn. But the best part is the writing, the suprise of Brenda figuring out what the FBI was doing and getting the killer anyway, the crooked Immigration guy being forced to take his place as mob informant. Perfect!moreless
  • Brenda takes on the Russian mob\'s trafficking in prostitution, and discovers justice may not be for all.

    When an 18-year-old prostitute with a high-profile client list is murdered, it seems like just another dead hooker to Brenda and her team. Soon they are plunged into the world of the Russian mafia, and trafficking in young women for prostitution. The steel in Brenda is on display in this episode, as she struggles to overcome the obstacles set up by what should be the guys on her own side, and seek some unorthodox justice for two murdered Russian girls viewed as acceptable losses by the FBI.

    A study in values and how societal prejudices influence policing, \"The Big Picture\" is an unsettling study of the uneven application of law enforcement in aid of what is seen by the FBI as the greater good. But Brenda and her team don\'t come out clean either as she confronts her own attitudes while dealing with those around her. It\'s not until she meets a former prostitute who got out by betraying a friend, powerfully played by Serbian-American actress Stana Katic, that Brenda knows which side she\'s on, and from there, she moves with clear-eyed certainty toward the inevitable outcome, her colleagues stunned by the lengths to which she is willing to go.

    \"The Big Picture\" is a character defining episode for Brenda. In the first two episodes, we saw her lighter side, her toughness, and her skills as a detective and an interrogator. This episode establishes Brenda as a force to be reckoned with, one who will do what has to be done to be sure justice is served. She emerges a fully fleshed-out, three dimensional character.

J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Assistant Police Chief Will Pope

Corey Reynolds

Corey Reynolds

Sgt. David Gabriel

Robert Gossett

Robert Gossett

Capt. 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

Don McManus

Don McManus

Danny Booth

Guest Star

Amy Hill

Amy Hill


Guest Star

Michael Woods

Michael Woods

FBI Agent Bill Blackburn

Guest Star

Raymond Cruz

Raymond Cruz

Detective Julio Sanchez

Recurring Role

Phillip P. Keene

Phillip P. Keene

Buzz Watson

Recurring Role

Gina Ravera

Gina Ravera

Detective Irene Daniels

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The house Brenda purchases is probably located in Monrovia, California, a community immediately east of Pasadena. The area is known for bungalow-style architecture and the use of river rock detail seen in Brenda's house, and is favored by television and movie productions as a location site. The house's architectural style dates from the 1920's, when small, affordable bungalow-style houses were built as the Los Angeles suburbs began to develop to the northeast of downtown LA.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Pope: (after Brenda asks him to stall the FBI) Okay, but when the black helicopters start hovering over the building, try to wrap it up!

    • Brenda: Oh no, no, no. You don't need an attorney because if you get an attorney I plan to sit down with your fiancée and have a nice long chat with her about what you've been doing with your penis.

    • Pope: When did the FBI get back to you so fast? I'm still waiting to hear back on Oswald and Kennedy.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: January 16, 2007 on Prima

    • The FBI Los Angeles Field Office jurisdiction includes Los Angeles and the six surrounding counties of the Federal Central District, the most populous in the US. Supported by nine resident agencies spread across the district and an office at LAX, the FBI brief includes elimination of organized crime under the federal RICO statutes.

      Although traditional Mafia-style organized crime never gained a foothold in LA, its location on the Pacific Rim and its border with Mexico make it a gateway for organized drug and human-trafficking efforts.

    • The FBI Los Angeles Field Office is located in the Federal Building at 11000 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, the address Brenda recognizes. Situated near Santa Monica, the building houses a large number of US government offices ranging from the US Passport Office to the Social Security Administration.

    • Brenda makes her first visit to the LA County Coroner's morgue in this episode. The LA County Coroner investigates 20,000 cases annually to determine cause of death and/or identity of victim. The morgue is located at 1104 N. Mission Rd. in Boyle Heights, adjoining LA County/USC Medical Center. The Coroner's Office has found a certain maudlin humor in their task, operating a very successful gift shop known as Skeletons in the Closet ("for those of us of dubious distinctive taste") which can be accessed online.