The Closer

Season 1 Episode 10

The Butler Did It

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Aug 15, 2005 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
229 votes

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Episode Summary

Rated: TV-14-LV

Three wealthy, spoiled and unruly children become the target of Brenda's investigation when their stepmother is murdered and the family butler seemingly commits suicide shortly thereafter. Riding heard on the trio is their family attorney, who cleans up their messes and provides them with alibis. Convinced the butler was actually murdered, Brenda sets out to discover which of the children committed the murders, and finds the real killer was someone altogether different!moreless

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  • thank yeww...

    Oh, oh oh – I hate parallel parking so much – I feel Brenda’s pain. So I loved the clue references – I have been waiting my entire career to say this – the butler did it. Loved it. I was hoping that all of the Duton children were guilty. Those are so spoiled brats that needed to be brought down to reality. The lawyer was driving me crazy – so glad that he was guilty. Love the Julio teasing – so funny considering that he is always hitting on the girls. Where were Fritzy and the kitties?? I want to see more off them – thank yeww.moreless
  • Again a great episode as usual!

    Again this is a great episode as I love the writing

    GW Bailey is underrated as he provides most of the comic relief of the show

    Brenda again is stepping on peoples' toes although she means well

    As she tries to gain a confession

    To making the suspect talk and she will make sure they finally break down and confessing to the killings.
  • Funny and serious at the same time

    This was another unbelievable episode with a twist on a very old cliché. While I haven\'t been able to see the whole episode, I did catch the last 25 minutes. Enough to figure out who was the actual killer and why.

    It was clever when Brenda unmasked the murderer by grilling the original suspects, a bunch of immature adults who never grew out their playpens except physically. The family lawyer in defense of their actions actually gave himself away without realizing what he did. I saw what she was doing all along and you know what. The oldest son who was giving Brenda that hungry \"look\" appeared to have realized it as well judging by the knowing expression on his face.

    The DA could learn a few things from her; after all, he did not read between the lines.

    Very Columboesque.moreless
  • Provenza: "I've always wanted to say this: The butler did it."

    Let's just start with that parking job.

    Y'know, I get the sense that Brenda's a woman with a lot of pride. That not only does she enjoy being in control of the impression she's making on people, but that she insists on it.

    Now, L.A. has gotta be a freeqin' nightmare to try to get around in when you're new, so she'd put up with leaving a little early and taking a few wrong turns, and she'd expect her colleagues to be gentlemen about it, and for the most part they'd understand.

    I know it's possible that she's come in from a place with mainly diagonal parking. But after one attempt at parallel parking upon arrival, I'd assume she'd leave her car just any damn' way (like she ultimately did) and stride forth. Then, if she really had an issue with parallel parking, I'd assume she'd take a few moments between cases and just drive to a residential neighborhood and practice.

    It's the vehicular equivalent of tripping on one's shoelaces and I know that Brenda has a lot more grace than that.

    What is //wonderful// about this character, however, is that she doesn't lose poise for a moment. Faced with a gate and a wall, she is willing to climb on top of a black-and-white and pull a header to gain entry.

    "There's a bit of a drop." :D

    These little adjustment quirks they've included do keep her sympathetic without becoming, in my opinion, //actually// pathetic.

    Now, to the murder.

    Well, no, not yet. We must first have the D.A. ask her to run along and make some coffee.

    I really did enjoy that exchange.

    I also enjoyed him helping her do the dishes and clean up a little by way of apology.

    Her house was spotless when Gabriel was stumbling around as kitten-wrangler. One wonders what that pile of mess was about. She //is// getting herself moved in and such but ...

    ... um ...

    Did she leave Fritz in //Mexico//? He wasn't much in evidence in this episode.

    I //do// hope they're not just bringing him in when he can help with the cases. Brenda would be a lobotomized fool to let that guy go.

    And she proved, once again, that she is no lobotomized fool.

    No fingerprints on the 30-pound ladder which the butler with his dodgy leg did //not// wipe down after clambering to his suicide drunk off his butt tottering out to the end of the flagpole.

    Not especially clever on the part of the attorney, who has gotten perhaps a bit //too// good at cleaning up the Duttons' many, many messes. But an //extremely// pleasant exchange with the coroner, I thought.

    Even so, it must've been possible to heave the body from the floor above. Meh, it's not that big a deal.

    The leering vibe off the one son and the daughter's having the grace of Courtney Love at the prom was just some fun storytelling. I guess for $50,000 he'd have expected Det. Sanchez to have any name he gave him. :)

    Then the creepy come-on by the other Dutton at the end of the episode -- "Be careful what you wish for," was an excellent line.

    She's just so damn good. "Is that what you consider an interview? Dragging people in and just asking them questions?"

    In the end, Occam's razor won out. Eliminate the impossible, and you're left with the only possible solution.

    Nicely played, and once again, well done.

    I see I've got another set of DVDs to purchase when this season is over. :)moreless
  • This episode felt more like we were returning to why most of us liked the show to begin with. Brenda was in her element sorting out the clues and solving the crime like nobody else.moreless

    The lure of "The Closer" all hinges on Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. She's "The Closer" and it's her ability to conduct interviews and illicit confessions that makes the show so entertaining. This makes for a daunting challenge for the show's writers, but this week's episode "The Butler Did It." truly delivers and is a perfect example of why I watch the show.

    The story itself was not as gripping, or as gritty as past episodes, but I for one was happy that it wasn't. Some episodes this season were more along the lines of "justice at any price" more than the formula that was introduced at the start of the series. I like it when Brenda closes the case by outsmarting the criminal and building an air tight case, instead of relying on others to deal out justice as in last week's episode "Good Housekeeping". I needed something lighter and more soft hearted.

    Even though the tone was lighter, there was plenty of good stuff going on. A handful of suspects, 3 different murders and plenty of drama thrown in the mix. This episode felt more like we were returning to why most of us liked the show to begin with. Brenda was in her element sorting out the clues and solving the crime like nobody else.moreless
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

Rick Ravanello

Rick Ravanello

Devlin Dutton

Guest Star

Douglas Sills

Douglas Sills

Dennis Dutton

Guest Star

Katy Selverstone

Katy Selverstone

Deanna Dutton

Guest Star

Michael Paul Chan

Michael Paul Chan

Lt. Michael Tao

Recurring Role

Raymond Cruz

Raymond Cruz

Detective Julio Sanchez

Recurring Role

James Avery (I)

James Avery (I)

Dr. Crippen, Medical Examiner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Fans of the early Star Wars movies may recognize the voice of Clive Revill, who played the butler, Alfred. Revill supplied the voice of the Emperor in the original Star Wars and in The Empire Strikes Back.

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Devlin: Actually I was with a hustler that I met online. Give me a pen, I'll give you his number.

      Brenda: How long were you with this guy? A matter of hours? Days?
      Devlin: More a matter of inches. 8 to be exact. (To Sanchez) Don't get insecure.

    • Provenza: (To Brenda) Don't drive mad!

    • (Brenda climbs and jumps over the wall)
      Provenza: (to Gabriel) I don't climb.

    • Brenda: Thank yewww.

    • Brenda: ...We are running him down the flagpole and that's all that there is to it. If you want to examine the body, you may do so after I'm done.

      (Albert's body comes crashing through the window)

      Brenda: I'm done.

    • Provenza: (After Albert's body crashed through the window) I'm glad he's dead, 'cause that would have really hurt.

    • Yates: Look, we got off on the wrong foot yesterday.
      Brenda: Maybe that's because it was in your mouth.

    • Coroner: That's disturbing.
      Brenda: Was I right?
      Coroner: That's what's disturbing.

    • Yates: Are you sure you don't want to wait for your lawyer?
      Dennis: I'm perfectly capable of ignoring your questions without him.

    • Bloom: (after confessing to the murder) I'm really sorry that I never got the opportunity to knock off those horrible children. (pause) Is there a chance I could plead insanity?

    • Brenda: If you attempt to interview Dennis without me, not only will I release Deanna and Devlin, I'll help them escape.

    • Yates: I'll let you participate in this interview if you let me participate in yours.
      Brenda: I'm a little bit past the "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" stage of life.

    • Brenda: That's your idea of an interview?! You just pick someone up and hope they tell you something?
      Yates: What's wrong with that?

    • Bloom: On Sunday at the time in question, Deanna was finishing up her 30-day detox at local rehab. She just got out yesterday morning.
      (Deanna vomits into the toilet)
      Brenda: I hope you kept the receipt.

    • Provenza: Ok, everybody; mark the date. (Long pause) I was wrong.

    • Brenda: Oh, God; I can't believe it. I've got to arrest those awful Dutton children again.

    • Bloom: (after confessing to the murder) I'm really sorry that I never got the opportunity to knock off those horrible children. Is there any chance I could plead insanity?

    • Dennis: Is it too much to hope that you and I might cross paths again one day?
      Brenda: Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Dutton.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: March 13, 2007 on Prima

    • This is the first episode where Brenda interacts with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. The Los Angeles County District Attorney is responsible for all felony prosecutions in the county, and his staff of over 900 Deputy District Attorneys handle misdemeanor prosecutions in nearly 80 cities county-wide.

      The DA's office also includes a staff of nearly over 250 investigators, the fourth largest law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County, who are charged with witness location and supplemental pre-trial investigation. The DA's headquarters is located at 210 W. Temple, about four blocks from Parker Center. (Among the consultants for The Closer is former District Attorney Gil Garcetti.)

    • The Frolic Room, where Sanchez meets and arrests Devlin Dutton, is an old Hollywood landmark still in operation today. Located near Hollywood and Vine, it was once the watering hole for the biggest Hollywood stars of the late 30's, 40's and 50's. Featured in numerous films, including L.A. Confidential, the bar is best known for its Al Hirschfeld mural of Hollywood luminaries who socialized there in its heyday.

    • J.K. Simmons (Asst. Chief Pope), Robert Gossett (Capt. Taylor), Tony Denison (Det. Flynn) and Jon Tenney (Fritz Howard) do not appear in this episode. However, there were several scenes including these characters that were later cut from the episode.

      The Season One DVD include a series of deleted scenes involving a gathering of the high command at the LAPD, including Assistant Chief Pope and Captain Taylor, to which Brenda has not been invited. Brenda apparently learns of it (we don't see this) and confronts Will, who assures her she just missed an invitation. She and Fritz arrive ahead of the appointed time, to find the all-male group having dinner, still having excluded her. Brenda puts on a brave face, and heads for the bar to wait for the dinner to conclude. There she laments the lack of respect she receives from the upper echelons as she gets drunker and drunker. Eventually, she leaves without ever having joined the group, but not before having an awkward conversation with Pope and Taylor.


    • Devlin: Looks like you're left with Dennis the Menace.

      This is an allusion to the famous cartoon character, a young blond boy in a striped shirt and overalls with a penchant for mischief, often to the annoyance of his neighbor, Mr. Wilson. Dennis the Menace first appeared in as a newspaper comic strip in 1951, drawn by Hank Ketcham. Dennis has also appeared in both live-action and animated TV series and a 1993 movie.

    • Provenza: I've waited my whole career to say this: The butler did it.

      The title of this episode refers to an old cliché from British and American drawing room mysteries, particularly those involving the wealthy. In fact, the phrase is so commonly used it has become a bit of a joke, as Lt. Provenza demonstrated early in this episode.