Tag Archives: Police

TELEVISION: The Closer: Suicide Is Painless – But Was This Suicide?

The winter premiere of The Closer [Mondays, TNT, 9/8C] is following a pretty hard act – it’s mid-season cliffhanger, and so we both learn the fate of Detective Sanchez [Raymond Cruz] and witness Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson’s [Kyra Sedgwick] reaction to Fritz’s marriage ultimatum. Even better, there’s an apparent case of suicide that coroner Dr. Morales [Jonathan Del Arco] won’t sign off on – and he’s extorting Deputy Chief Johnson into taking the case [or he’ll take it to another division, making her team look like idiots!].

Tenney, Sternhagen, Sedgwick

The deceased is a recovering drug addict and con man who seems to have gone straight – though that doesn’t jive with the recollection of his ex-wife which is, in turns at odds with the experience [or at least testimony] of his pastor [church in a slating rink!] and cancer-suffering girlfriend. Add in the after effects of the cliff-hanger’s two-pronged dilemma – and the presence of Brenda’s parents [Barry Corbin and Frances Sternhagen], who are visiting for a few days before setting out on a Hawaiian cruise – and you’ve got all the ingredients for a truly odd mix of confusion, misdirection and pathos. The episode, Good Faith, is also notable for actually having scenes that do not require the presence of DC Strong.

Upcoming episodes feature a body found in the trunk of a car, and a suspected rapist/murderer whose lawyer has a track record of successfully defending sex offenders.

As usual, The Closer is written well enough to give us a few moments pause over each ep’s mystery, but it remains most notable for giving us a strong lead character that continues to grow as a person – and as a high-ranking member of the Los Angeles Police Department. Though this is Sedgwick’s show, there are moments for several members of her team as well as J.K. Simmons’ Assistant Chief Pope [who gets some really good stuff in the premiere].

All in all, The Closer hasn’t yet lost a step. It remains one of the best [and most watched] programs on cable television.

Final Grade: B

TELEVISION: Flashpoint: A Cop Show With a Real Difference!

Flashpoint [CBS, Fridays, 10/9C] looks like a lot like an updating of SWAT – for most of the first two acts. The members of Toronto’s Strategic Response Unit [based on the real Emergency Task Force], Team One, are called in to deal with a hostage situation – which is resolved, uncharacteristically, before the end of the second act.

The teaser introduces SRU Team Leader Ed Lane [Hugh Dillon] and sets up the team’s shift preparation and a hostage situation. When the call comes in, assignments are made and the team rolls. Onsite, Jules [Amy Jo Johnson] and Ed take up sniper positions [Ed winds up being lead when her location isn’t as good as his] and Sergeant Gregory Parker [Enrico Colantoni] tries to talk the gunman into putting down his gun.

The SRU

To this point, Flashpoint is a smoothly executed cop show as it cuts back and forth between the events leading up to the hostage taking and the team’s shift preparations. The difference comes in the second act, when the situation is resolved and we follow Ed through the regulation follow-up investigation. Now we’re into something different – the way the day’s work affects Ed – leading up to the ep’s compelling final scene.

At first Flashpoint seems like just another cop/SWAT series, but then it takes a turn that changes the game for the characters and the audience. As skilfully as the first two-thirds of the episode are produced, the flashpoint pilot doesn’t quite fully engage us until after the resolution of the hostage situation, when Dillon takes Ed through some strange and affecting moments. When Parker tells him that he’ll one day have to do the math on the “I’m fines,” Flashpoint goes from being about cops to being about people – people working a job that has incredible ramifications. From that point on, it’s appointment TV.

Final Grade: B