The fourth season of The Closer
presents the show at the top
of its game, firing on all cylinders. The
writers are playing up the show's strengths (how Lt. Deputy Johnson
confession) while eliminating the things that didn't work well (the
episodes that were the low point in the previous seasons.)
While the shows in this set are a bit darker
than the previous years, there is still a nice mix of comedy, suspense,
few twists that are truly unexpected.
This is one of the better detective shows that are currently on
Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) has been brought to LA from Atlanta by L.A. by
Assistant Police Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons) to lead up a new
investigation task force; Priority Homicide.
In the TV world as in real life, the LAPD has taken it on the
blowing some high profile murder cases, and the bad publicity has lead
creation of this new unit. They want an
outsider to lead the division, and Pope has selected Johnson because of
uncanny ability to 'close' a case; obtaining confessions that nearly
In the first two seasons Johnson has to win over her
subordinates and her peers which she does with her razor-like intellect
creativity when it comes to getting suspects to talk.
Season three dealt with real-world problems
that police have to deal with, mainly budgetary concerns and a lack of
pay. These problems tie the episodes
together nicely and give a just enough continuity to make the show
without being so intricate that missing one show would throw viewers
Assistant Police Chief Pope wants to get some good publicity
for the LAPD, so (in a move that I can't see happening in reality) he
reporter to have open access to Priority Homicide.
The first case he gets to observe is a wild
fire in Griffith
Park where several
including a young woman who was already dead.
It looks like the murder was trying to incinerate the body when
flames got out of control. The natural
suspect is Bill Croelick, a pyromaniac from previous shows who was seen
crowd watching the fire. But when the
reporter finds Croelick and interviews him before Priority Homicide has
chance to track him down, Brenda is much less enthusiastic about having
member of the press tag around with her.
As the season progresses, the reporter starts asking tough
questions, like what is a 'priority homicide'?
Are some murders more important than others?
And why have the cases that Priority Homicide
investigates always the deaths of white people or movie stars? This later moves from a minor irritant to a
full scale problem.
Brenda faces other problems this season including handling
one of her officers when his younger brother is killed in a drive-by
shooting. Though he's ordered to stay
home and not interfere with the investigation, still stays one step
his other officers and Brenda follows a track of beaten gang members.
Then there's her personal life. Brenda and
her hunky-yet-sensitive boy friend
Fritz (Jon Tenny) are engaged, and when her parents come for a visit
especially her father, keep dropping oh-so-subtle hints. "Ya know what
like to do? Go to weddings."
Every season they have one episode that they play for
laughs, and this one is no exception.
"Dial "M" for Provenza" has the curmudgeonly Detective (G. W.
M*A*S*H) undercover posing as
a hit man.
He's able to get an older woman (wonderfully played by Jennifer
to hire him to kill her husband, but when the money, video tapes, and
evidence is stolen along with Provenza's car, there's no case. What makes matters worse is that husband ends
up getting murdered that evening...
While there were a lot of light moments in this season
(Fritz's sister stands out as one of those) this series took a
turn, especially at the beginning of the season. While
murder is often gruesome, this time
made some of the circumstances decidedly uncomfortable.
A high school virgin is violently rapped by a
jock while his friends laugh in the other room and a young psychopath
pet gerbils in the garbage disposal and turns it on for example. While these all occur off camera, it's still
a bit more disturbing than the typical events in previous seasons.
Like the previous seasons, this was a great set of
shows. The mysteries were all worth
while and the interaction between the various cast members really
show to life. The only real change is
that Brenda's personality has been tamed a bit.
In the past she didn't suffer fools gladly, and was likely to
at someone who could help her if they weren't doing their job perfectly. They removed that this year, and there's only
really one time that her sharp tongue came into play and that was aimed
As I've come to expect from the show, the acting is superb
across the board. Kyra Sedgwick has
an armful of awards for her portrayal of Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson,
deserves all of them. As I said of her
performance in the first season, she manages to walk that fine
line of being hard and professional yet feminine and vulnerable also. It's a meaty part, with her character having
to come across as very competent yet also worried about the problems in
professional life and she's more than up to the task.
Not always relying on dialog, Sedwick makes
Brenda Johnson live through her actions such as the way she eats
Dongs and the near sybaritic pleasure she get from consuming them.
The rest of the ensemble cast is terrific too. J.K.
Simmons deserves special mention for an
outstanding job. If you've ever seen him
in Oz, where he plays a vicious and
sadistic white supremacist, you'll be astounded at the job he does here. The contrast here can't be more
apparent. A consummate actor, he brings
a lot of humor and warmth to the show.
fifteen episodes that comprise the fourth season of The
Closer are presented on four DVDs. These
come in a single-width keepcase with
two 'pages' that hold all four discs.
This is housed in a slipcase. A
very nice compact set. The only gripe I
have, the same with previous season sets, is that Kyra Sedgwick's photo
cover, as well as on the DVD menus, has been heavily touched up to make
look like a blond bombshell. That's too
bad because that's not the role she plays in the show, and she looks
series comes with a DD 5.1 English soundtrack, which fits the show well. The dialog is clear and the range is
adequate. There is some use of the
soundstage, but since this is a dialog based show much of the audio is
centered on the screen thought he surrounds are employed at times. The only subtitles available are French and
Spanish. Inexplicably there are no
This show comes with a nice 1.78:1 widescreen picture which
is anamorphically enhanced. The image
looked very good. The
colors were strong, the image was sharp and the detail was fine. The show was a tad dark in some places, and
there is some grain but that is undoubtedly the way the creators
it. On the digital side, there was a bit
of aliasing present in the background, but this was minor.
The extras are similar to what has appeared on the last
couple of sets. Unfortunately there are
no commentary tracks. There are a few
deleted scenes that accompany five episodes, a brief gag reel, and a
featurettes. The first is To
Catch a Lie where an FBI investigator
talks about ways to spot a falsehood. In
the second one, A Day in the Life of a Homicide Detective, a retired
detective takes series co-star Corey Reynolds around to various
locations in LA
where murders were committed and talks about some of the cases he was
The Closer is
still running strong through season four.
If anything the writing is a bit tighter and the twists are more
unexpected. (Who wasn't surprised at the
revelation in "Power of Attorney"?) It
is an excellent show with well thought out scripts, interesting
developed characters, and some very funny moments.
The ensemble cast is stellar and the cases
they investigate are engrossing. Fans who enjoyed the first two seasons
want to watch this one two. Highly