The Closer Review: In A Blaze Of Glory

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It's not every long running series that gets to plan out its finale to the note like The Closer did, and as fans we had a great opportunity to see a show we love to not only go out on top, but on a unique high with "The Last Word." 

An interesting tactic was to take Brenda someplace she had, quite simply, never been before. The revelations that came to her as a result of the final season pushed her so far out of her normal range that we really got a chance to see someone different as The Closer wound down.

Fritz & Brenda Contemplate Their Future

To get to that place, however, some liberties with the man Brenda most wanted to get behind bars - Philip Stroh - were taken. From everything we've learned about him and his repeat appearances, he was nothing if not fastidious. Even in the interview room, he made sure to close the laptop case with his wrists and not his hands to avoid leaving fingerprints.

Does that sound like the same guy who would head off to Griffith Park, obviously a known location for seedy rendezvous and the like to carry the naked body of his latest victim, slung uncovered over his shoulders, for burial? Not so much. However, note to self: never go into the woods of LA at night, as even the most random of spots can be the spot for two simultaneously occurring felonies!

Whatever it was that was driving him to make mistakes, once he started Stroh just couldn't stop. I'd find it difficult to believe that given back of his neck and his extraordinarily specific walk, a court of law wouldn't allow the mall video as evidence, verifying Stroh as the man who approached the latest victim. Maybe that's why I'm not a cop or writing television. 

It was satisfying that both Raydor and Taylor were standing aside to let Brenda get at Stroh. With as much trouble as he and Brenda's fixation on him caused the department, you would have to think they would lay down the red carpet to get rid of the case once and for all.

The connection Brenda made with Rusty, the teen who was left to make a buck off of bad men when his mother abandoned him, was really touching. Of all people for her to relate to on such a deep level, it was a kid who not only lost his mom and just wanted a second chance to make things right with her, but who made his living with all the bad men, and who realized far too young the impact dealing with those men was having on him. It was infiltrating him and becoming a part of him. The relevance of his words were not lost on Brenda.

I don't know how I missed that Rusty had taken the mask during his struggle with Stroh but when Brenda uncurled the hat, I was taken completely by surprise and was overcome with chills. I so wanted Brenda to solve the case I was missing the little clues. I thought for certain Stroh had touched the table in the interview room, so when Brenda ran after him into the elevator like a lion on a gazelle, it took a moment for me to realize she was trying to get DNA from him in any way possible. 

Of course, I had no idea that DDA Hobbs was in on the attack, but what a brilliant setup not only for the case, but for the perfect ending to the series. To jump Stroh like that had to be incredibly cathartic for Brenda under any circumstances, and spending time with Rusty she had already made her decision that the job was no longer for her. When the coroner's door opened and Hobbs was standing there, I squealed. 

A part of me was really hoping that Brenda and Fritz would take in Rusty. Brenda had to know they would never find his mother. When someone doesn't want to be found, they won't be, and she wasn't going to win any mother of the year awards for leaving her 14-year old son behind to live a life of prostitution.

The fight scene between Brenda and Stroh was completely engaging. There had never been a reason for her to do anything even remotely similar in all the years on the job, but damn if she wasn't a little spitfire! With her thighs wrapped around Stroh's neck and punching him in the face; I've never felt such satisfaction at seeing a woman fight back.

Other things of note in this finale episode:

  • With Brenda leaving, that leaves Provenza as the ranking officer in Major Crimes.
  • It felt very strange to see Taylor at Pope's desk.
  • I hated hearing Taylor say it would be best not to remove Brenda's reprimand so they could completely restructure Major Crimes.
  • The perfect job opened up for Brenda, and taking Gabriel with her can allow us to imagine them living happily ever after.

Finally, I have to mention the gift her guys gave to her at the end. When you think back to how tumultuous their relationships with Brenda were to how they concluded, if you hadn't seen it unfold, you would want to watch every episode in between to see what transpired. Leaving the office with the bite of a Ding Dong? Perfect.

But not nearly as perfect as what the gift symbolized to her, as you can see in this Closer Quote

Flynn: Does it look okay?
Sanchez: Chief?
Brenda: It looks exactly like the...it looks like love. That's what it looks like. It looks like love. | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (213 Votes)

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

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I absolutely loved The Closer! What a great ending and wonderfully written. Kyra and the cast are suburb actors and a joy to watch. I wish the best for Kyra and Corey Reynolds and J. K. Simmons. I'm looking forward to watching Major Crimes. So thrilled the rest of the cast is staying. I think Mary McDonnell is a really good actor. Loved her in "Dancing with Wolves".

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I will miss Brenda Leigh so much - this was the best show on TV! I am happy for Kyra who does not have to leave her family for half the year - but she will be sorely missed! Major Crimes looks OK - but it does not have the same excitement or heart without Brenda!

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If you hadn't heard Kyra will be back from time to time on Major Crimes..It is obvious Stroh's story line is not over...

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Niki, I'll have to go back to the first episode to see that "it looks like love" line. Very good memory...or you must have the season on DVD.

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It was certainly a night of twists and turns. I searched high and low to find a "Brenda" purse, and my search ended a couple of years ago on Ebay. It was a fitting gift, as you seldom saw her without it. When the team presented it to her, I too, found myself reflecting on how much they had grown to love her (after asking for reassignments when she came on-board). I'm certainly going to miss the show, but I live in the South and the accent is common to me. But, as much as anyone, I'm going to miss Willie Rae. Her's death scene was the most realistic I've ever seen, movie or tv.

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Am I the only man who never missed a show? I thought it was great and really liked the entire crew. Wish it would have continued.

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How cathartic it was to watch Brenda physically battle Stroh twice, once when he had the cojones to mention her mother and she launched herself into him in the elevator, scratching at him to get the DNA, and then in her kitchen, so fiercely fighting for her life and the boy's--who I was hoping Brenda and Fritz might foster. It was so visceral and perfect, since we're so used to Brenda using words to get the bad guys. I wanted her to kill Stroh, but she knew she couldn't do that; she had climbed over the line too many times in the past and gotten into trouble for it, and she didn't want to take that liberty in front of Rusty. I will never forget Brenda Leigh Johnson or the brilliant performances of every single actor in THE CLOSER. Bravo, all!

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I will be mourning the loss of this show for a long, long, time. I loved the series and never missed it. Brenda was the heart of this series. I watched the new Major Crimes spin off only because of curiosity, but will not be watching it in the future. It was a big disappointment. I also would have like to have seen Mr. Stroh killed off or at least watched him being marched off to prison for life. Can't we bring Brenda back in her new job. Thank yewwwww Brenda you made monday nights exciting, now what am I going to do??? Major Crimes is boring without you.

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I liked the ending. will miss the show with a closer like Brenda.

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Yes, they did take some liberties with the story line, and perhaps the writers did stretch a little to fit some things together, but I do not see how they could have done a better job with wrapping up this original and delightful series. I loved it.