This short season of The Closer featured two episodes on addiction: The one wherein Flynn was attacked after an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and “An Ugly Game.”
When Flynn was attacked, Brenda asked him if she could see the sign in sheet or meeting roster to help narrow down the suspect list. He had to point out to her that there is no list, as the meetings are truly anonymous.
This wasn't the first indication that Brenda is out of touch with the reality in which she is living. In a previous season, Fritz asked her to try to understand what it did to him when she came home from work every night and had wine. I don't remember the outcome of the discussion, but she has continued her practice, so if she did understand how it made him feel, she somehow managed to wriggle her way out of it or Fritz gave in; either conclusion is due to his love for her.
There are many scenes when Brenda is drinking wine in front of Fritz, even going so far as to carry the bottle around the house. Fritz opens a bottle for her when he knows she's stressed. I can only imagine this would be beyond difficult for him to do.When he wanted to celebrate the possibility of her ascension to Chief Pope's position, he had champagne for her and sparkling cider for himself. He has had to walk away from her in the past to go to meetings to cope with his desire to drink, but at no time has she ever seemed to understand what this really meant.
His addiction has always been front and center, but treated like a dirty secret Brenda didn't want to talk about. The elephant in the room.
Things came to a head this week when Brenda was looking into the eyes of an addict (and murder suspect), believing his every word. She considered him childish and immature, but not capable of hurting anyone. Gabriel didn't trust her judgment and went over her head.
By the time he was done, Fritz had been called in, and he had to lay it on the line. Addicts believe themselves to be victims, and because Brenda is used to siding with the victim, she fell for his story with a thud.
Fritz shared with her his near-criminal experience due to his drinking. Awaking in a stupor, he realized he had three rounds missing from his gun. Apparently he had shot out the driver side of his car while intoxicated. He tried to get her to imagine how easily it could have been him sitting in that interrogation room. She was stunned.
She couldn't believe he was making himself out to be a monster, when he is the kindest person she has ever met. He quietly responded that he is both.
I have an alcoholic in my family, and even remembering what we went through with the victim mentality, I can still see how easily Brenda could turn a blind eye. If she deals with the suspect in terms of his addiction, she will have to deal with her loved ones in those terms as well. It's a difficult pill to swallow. But swallow it she does, because not to do so could mean the difference between life and death for a young woman who was lost to the hands of an addict in her custody.
Like I said last week, you never know where The Closer will take you once the credits start to roll, and this week was no exception. For a season finale, it did a wonderful job setting up the upcoming final season.
Brenda and Fritz finally sat down to talk about his past. Knowing how he was will surely have an impact on their relationship.
That Gabriel went over her head because he knew she was missing the bigger picture is also a great set up. He has been steady and true to Brenda, and his aggressive behavior threw her a bit. He was one of the first people on the squad to trust in her, and yet he is one of the least explored characters on the show. Perhaps they've been setting him up for a big arc in the final season.
In any event, it was another great episode. Not funny and full of quips to make us giggle, but a deep seated story digging into the heart of the characters and what makes them tick. Very well done.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.