The strength of an ensemble cast lies within each individual that creates it.
This week's episode of the The Closer featured Anthony John Denison as Andy Flynn in a powerful story in which both his life and his integrity as a detective were on the line. I've often said that Denison and G.W. Bailey (Provenza) could easily hold a show together on their own.
Along those lines, Denison proved his individual value to the team with a remarkable and believable performance.
Although we knew that Flynn was in AA, until "Old Money" there was little in the way of detail about his past. Flynn and Provenza are often the jokers of the team, providing comic relief even during stressful times.
Here, Provenza was left on his own, as Flynn tackled some difficult situations. It was enlightening to have Flynn share his experience at the AA meeting and then offer his helping hand to a new AA attendee. It's a side we rarely see of Lt. Flynn and added some welcome depth to the character.
It's too bad the newbie was only a ruse; I hate seeing someone's kindness taken advantage of. For his trouble, Flynn was severely beaten, but successfully fought off his assailant.Afterward, Flynn was all business, wanting to ensure he gave enough evidence before being taken to the hospital to bring down the bastard who had attacked him.
Despite his injuries, he defied doctor's orders and insisted on joining the investigation into his attack. The case also brought to light what Flynn was like as a young detective. His stubborn pursuit of justice brought against him hundreds of complaints, but he was exonerated in every case. He's a badass, but a good detective.
Unfortunately, a little money was able to buy off a witness he used 15 years earlier to put away a murderer. That murderer then used witness intimidation and evidence tampering by Flynn, among other things, to gain an appeal and bring charges against Flynn.
Chief Johnson didn't seem to have any doubt whatsoever about his innocence. She knows her team. From the very rocky start they had six years ago, these officers are as close as family and trust is abundant.
The Chief and Flynn worked together to clear his charges and find his attacker. With Flynn under investigation and maimed, it was the Chief's turn to be a badass. When she wants information, there is nothing to keep her from getting it.
In this case, she walked right over to a convicted killer and squeezed his face in her hand as she told him how he would behave before finally giving her the evidence she needed to clear Flynn and further implicate himself in the crime. Tiny, sweet and hard as nails, Brenda shows no fear. When her team is threatened, she comes out like a mama bear protecting her cubs and that sweet southern charm turns into a ferocious sneer.
There were definitely comedic moments in the episode, such as Flynn awaking in the hospital to Provenza holding an "It's a Girl" balloon and muttering "So there is a hell," and the team tricking the flipped witness into coming into the station on her own by making her fear for her safety.
They accomplished this by having Detective Sanchez skulk around her house in a blue hoodie. It was laugh out loud funny, as she tried to explain to the police why she was afraid, "It's a Mexican! In a BLUE HOODIE!"
However, the strength was in the highlighting of Denison and the pairing of Flynn and Chief Johnson. Fritz is certain that she will be asked shortly to fill Pope's role as Assistant Chief of Police for the LAPD. This could seriously change the dynamic of the show.
At some point, they will have to make a change in order for the characters to grow, but with as finely-tuned as the team has become, it's episode's such as "Old Money" that make you hope things stay the same, at least for now.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.