Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson: Sir, I've had a terrible day. I'm anxious, I'm stressed and I'm a little shaky, so if you don't drop your gun right now I'm gonna put a bullet through your head. Are we clear?
After seven enjoyable and murder-filled seasons The Closer wraps up its last case. TNT's first original series, the show garnered critical acclaim, won several major awards, and was highly rated. Even thought the sixth season of the show was the top-rated drama on cable television, star and executive producer Kyra Sedwick decided to pull the plug and end the program while it was still on top. A show that never jumped the shark, this final season of The Closer is just as strong as the rest, and sees many of Chief Johnson's sins come back to haunt her. Viewers who have been watching the series all along will be thrilled with this final collection.
Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) was brought to LA by Assistant Police Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons) to lead up a new special murder investigation task force; Major Crimes. She was recruited because of her uncanny ability to 'close' a case; obtaining confessions that ensure a conviction and her group is charged with solving high profile murder cases quickly and with as little drama in the press as possible. Johnson
At the end of the last season the fate of Major Crimes was in doubt. The Chief of Police was stepping down and while Chief Pope was a favorite to take over the job, ultimately it was given to Tommy Delk (Courtney B. Vance). Chief Delk started off by reorganizing the LAPD, minimizing Chief Pope's position and giving Brenda's sometimes foil, Capt. Taylor (Robert Gossett) a much more prominent role.
That comes to a surprisingly abrupt halt when Chief Delk drops dead unexpectedly of a brain aneurism. Pope is given the job as Interim Chief. That may seem like a good thing for Major Crimes, but with Pope's new responsibilities he has new priorities and protecting Chief Johnson isn't nearly as high as it once was.
On top of that Brenda and the LAPD are being sued by a slimy lawyer, Peter Goldman (wonderfully played by Curtis Armstrong), over the wrongful death of Turell Baylor. At the end of the previous season, Turell, a member of the Crips, was given immunity (over the objections of Chief Johnson) after which he admitted to killing a store owner and his grandson over the price of a can of beer. The store in question was under the protection of Turell's gang however, and Brenda made sure that they knew exactly who killed the beloved man. She then took Turell home where he was beaten to death by his own gang.
One of the key problems with the lawsuit is that Goldman knows much more than he should. For example, he's aware that Sgt Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) had strong misgivings about leaving Turell unprotected which he aired in the police car while they were dropping him off. The only way that Goldman could have know that was if someone in Major Crimes was feeding him information, which means that Brenda has a mole in her division. The suit also means that Internal Affairs, in the form of last season's antagonist Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica), is breathing down her neck. With all of this going on it's surprising that Chief Johnson has time to do her job.
This final season does a great job of wrapping things up as well as setting the groundwork for the sequel program, Major Crimes (the first episode of which premiered immediately following the final episode of The Closer). Things start off badly and soon get worse, and the amount of crap that Brenda has to take is staggering. The fact that a lot of it she brought on herself only makes it worse for her.
The show did a good job of making Captain Raydor more likeable, without changing her personality or position. They flesh her character out only slightly, but it's enough to see her side of things and while she's still a stickler for following rules to the letter, it's made clear that she's not the villain.
While watching Brenda get a confession is still the highpoint of every episode, the murders are just as interesting as ever. One involves the body of a sex offender who is found buried under a retaining wall that was just installed, and fortuitously flagged for a permit offense, or was it just luck. Another favorite involves a kind and caring cancer doctor who treats the indigent for free and was found murdered in his office.
The best episodes this season, as with every season, are the ones (there are two this time) where Detectives Provenza (G. W. Bailey, M*A*S*H) and Flynn (Anthony Denison) get into trouble by doing something on their own. In the first one, they decide to make a little extra money on the side by serving a warrant, and they use the department's equipment to track down the individual to a nice hotel room in a high rise building. They sever the warrant and get back down to the ground floor just in time to have the man's body land on top of their vehicle. Too bad the videotaped themselves serving the warrant and the man saying that he feared for his life.
Flynn and Provenza have some more explaining to do in a later episode where they help Provensa's ex-wife (his first ex, he has four) get a ring back from a store that buys gold. The nice lady behind the counter helps them, they the get the ring back and leave, and it's not until they see the woman running out the back and climbing into a car that they discover that walked in on a robbery. One that left the owner dead.
The series ends with this season, and it's wrapped up quite nicely. The mystery of the mole inside Major Crimes was resolved in a very satisfactory and unexpected manner, the actions that every takes seem realistic and natural. The one complaint I have is that the final episode isn't the greatest. It is one of the few installments of the show that has some fairly large plot holes, and given what's happened earlier in the season it's easy to determine just what's going to happen, but it wasn't bad. This is a fine coda to a great program.
The 21 episodes that comprise the seventh season of The Closer are presented on five DVDs. These come in a single-width keepcase with two 'pages' that hold the discs. This is housed in a slipcase. A very nice compact set.
This 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 firmly centered on the screen thought he surrounds are employed at times. The only subtitles available are French and Spanish. Inexplicably there are no English subtitles.
As with the earlier season sets, 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 intended 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 still no commentary tracks. There are a few deleted scenes that accompany various episodes, a brief gag reel, a music video, and a roundtable discussion with the cast and crew. This last piece is good, all of the major actors were present with one exception, and the group has a good time discussion the show and the part that they played in it. It is a bit odd hearing Kyra Sedgwick speaking without her southern drawl though.
The Closer is one of my favorite detective shows. A police procedural that doesn't end when the crook is captured, the ways that Deputy Chief Johnson drags confessions out of the perpetrators is both compelling and makes for some excellent drama. This final season does a great job of wrapping up the series. It's refreshing to have a show willingly end on a high note before it becomes tired and stale. Highly Recommended.