The Closer Review: The One That Got Away

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The writing on "Hostile Witness" was extremely tight and you could feel the tension inside Brenda waiting to explode with her every breath.

With the Johnson Rule behind her - or rather stuck upon her every working moment like a piece of gum on the bottom of her shoe - Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson walked around this episode of The Closer with a whole hive of bees in her bonnet.

As the final six episodes come to a head, the reintroduction of of Phillip Stroh felt like a wicked taunt to from someone wanting to prove Chief Johnson "ain't all that." There were very few cases during the run of The Closer that weren't actually closed.

When the City of Los Angeles forced Brenda to comply and acquiesce to the Johnson Rule, they did more than break her spirit. They broke her faith in the system. She no longer believes that being on the side of justice will necessarily bring the desired results and watching her deal with the consequences of that federal lawsuit is almost painful.

Brenda Confronts Phillip

Stroh is the worst of the worst. As an attorney who commits crimes by duping dumbass criminals into doing the dirty work with promises that he'll clean up his mess, he has the best of both worlds. He has access to all the bad guys he needs to get his fix - and knows all the rules to skirt around getting caught.

Every time he hid DNA from Brenda by tossing his glass and napkin into murky dishwater, I wanted to break his fingers. That Brenda didn't pull out her gun and blow him away shows how much restraint she possesses, and yet at every turn Pope had watchful eyes ensuring she was towing the line.

Sharon Raydor has become an unwilling water pistol to Brenda Leigh's hornet's nest. With every pull of the trigger Pope makes through her, the buzzing in the background gets louder. How far into the six episodes will we get before Brenda breaks? 

As for Stroh, I was rooting for Brenda to get her man. When that blank look came across Natalie's face at Stella's Bar, I was hoping anything would light it up. Was it the cocktail? Did he need to wipe his face in a certain way? The smug look he had when she recognized the second man as an employee of the bar rather than himself wasn't enough. Stroh had to rub Brenda's face into his "win" with this Closer quote

Drugging women to have sex with them. I don't understand it. It's just so...unsporting. Not to even give them a fighting chance. | permalink

Not everything has changed in major crimes, but the lifeline leading the division has most assuredly; Brenda Leigh Johnson is a wild card. The more Pope pokes her, the more she's going to want to find ways around her very own Johnson Rule. Do you think we've seen the last of Phillip Stroh? Will she stop trying to land the one that got away? Will that case be the downfall of her career, but the conclusion to which that will allow her to retain her dignity and integrity?

We have five more episodes to find that out. We also need to learn the identity of the leak. It sure looks more like Pope all the time, doesn't it? To me, that's almost such a foregone conclusion that we're clearly on the wrong path. What are your thoughts for the final five? 


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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Does anyone know if the show will change its name once Kyra leaves? I missed a lot of that. I never really liked Pope and always thought he was out for himself, so it could be him. I liked Gabriel for most of the seasons, but it could be that he is the leak. He has had a chip on his shoulder the couple of seasons.


Well, in an article in TV Guide, Kyra Sedgewick stated that she doesn't know how Fritz will be back but Brenda doesn't die and she and Fritz remain married. So I doubt he is the leak.


I was surprised when it wasn't Stroh. WOW is he going to always get away??
The mole I still don't know. Pope is an ass. Don't know why anyone would want him. He would do whatever to get the top job. I would think Brenda would have to die for Fritz to still be here and on the new show. Can't figure it out.


I think thev the mole is fritzs hes coming back next year so that tells me they are not together. I think her father dies and she ends up going home to her mothers to live after she is fired.


Ten cents Gabriel's the rat...he never forgave her for bringing down the black community leader who killed his brother. Plus it's the only way to explain why the actor isn't reupping for another cool mil!


I love this show... Do not want it to end.....


I think that it is Gabriel and Pope, who said that there has to be only one person leaking information. Pope because he is still mad that she almost got the position that he wanted; Gabriel because he always gave the impression that he was not happy with the decision that she made in leaving Baylor their by himself. I hope she is able to walk away with her head held up high and with the knowledge that she did the best that she could given the situation that was placed in whether she gets Stroh's or not. Also I'm starting to like Sharon Raydor and hope that when she takes over one of the first thing that she does is to take down Stroh's!


I thought the Stroh character was killed off in a previous episode/season by a terminally ill retired detective played by Tom Skerritt. Knowing he only had a few months to live, he tracked down Stroh and tortured him to get out of him where he had the bodies of two girls. He, Skerritt's character, killed him and got a confession on tape. Does anyone remember?


In previews for the remaining episodes it looks like either Brenda has shot someone or was shot. I think Phillip Strohl is going to try to rape Brenda and she will get away and shoot him? I just hope that the show has a good ending with her character. We already know Fritz will be back so it really does make you wonder what is going to happen to her. I think it is Pope or Gabriel that is the leak since neither will be back. I think Brenda has finally figured out that Sharon Radnor has her back and respects her.


@Denise: The lawsuit over the death of the young man was settled @ the end of last season and led to the Johnson rule. The Federal lawsuit is a different lawsuit.

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The Closer Season 7 Episode 16 Quotes

Provenza: Dammit, Chief, how long have you been tracking Stroh's car with a GPS marker?
Brenda: Since the day after the Johnson Rule went into effect. Don't worry, I have a warrant.

Drugging women to have sex with them. I don't understand it. It's just so...unsporting. Not to even give them a fighting chance.