Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What I’m Watching: The Closer

The Closer: Season 5, Episode 3 “Red Tape” (B+)

Now here are two ingredients for a standout episode of a procedural: spotlight one actor as he or she is implicated in a questionable shooting and introduce a perfect new character portrayed by a fantastic actress. Sergeant Gabriel’s drive to be the do-gooder among his team makes him the right person to become the suspect of an investigation. In the early episodes of the show, he used to suck up to Chief Johnson without caring whether he was pissing off the other members of his team. Now, he’s become fond of all of them (a bit too fond of one of them who’s now gone), and they’re willing to help him out. Flynn raising his hand and repeating Gabriel’s inadmissible suggestion during their brainstorming session was particularly enjoyable. It’s also always nice to see Commander Taylor getting along with Chief Johnson and working actively with her to protect the department’s people. Chief Pope didn’t do much, but he’s amusing in his brief scenes as always. The real scene-stealer was guest star Mary McDonnell, late of “Battlestar Galactica.” From the moment she came onscreen directing her crime scene, she was a perfect fit for the role. Her scenes with Kyra Sedgwick were fantastic. She has the right respect for authority motivated by disrespect for those who refuse to acknowledge hers. It’s a great guest character, though “The Closer” has introduced terrific recurring players over the year. I hope McDonnell will return again and join the list, which already includes district attorney James Patrick Stuart, doctors Jonathan Del Arco and Bob Clendenin, and pyro Jason O’Mara (I’d also like to see Billy Burke’s murderous attorney back). In summation, this was a fine episode of “The Closer” showcasing its strengths and its casting wonders.

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