The Closer gives us a lovely finale to this winter mini-season, and I’m still a little teary-eyed. Not everything is perfect — there’s dissension in the squad, the case is a bit depressing, and Brenda worries that her heart is like that of the pre-epiphany Grinch — but it all feels authentic to the characters we’ve come to love.

It’s finally happening — Brenda and Fritz are getting hitched. Of course, that’s assuming Willie Ray and Claire don’t kill each other in the run-up to the ceremony, and that Brenda doesn’t get distracted by the police copters and screaming sirens, and that nothing else goes horribly wrong…

Surprisingly, Brenda’s not the one who breaks first — Fritz admits that he’s got to sneak out and arrest El Jefe, the drug lord he’s been chasing for the past two year. That means Brenda has a free pass to check out the latest in a series of escort-agency robberies. This time, the manager was killed, and one of the escorts was shot.

The team gets a break when Whisper, an escort who fled the scene, comes in, and she’s really not very bright. She tells them that 1) she’s employed with several agencies, and 2) all the agencies use the same lawyer. She gives Brenda and Sanchez the number for the lawyer, and then asks them to talk to him. This gives Brenda the opportunity to have a fake conversation with the dial tone after the lawyer has hung up. Brenda tells Whisper that the lawyer says she should tell them everything. “So I can tell you guys about the drugs?” Whisper asks. Wow.

Brenda poses as an IRS agent when the lawyer comes in and threatens to audit the heck out of all the agencies he works for if he doesn’t turn over the employment records. He caves, and they discover two social security numbers associated with the agencies that have been robbed. One belongs to the lawyer. The other belongs to Kelli — the woman who got shot. Kelli gives them a sob story about how she’s stripping to support Vince, her Iraq-war-vet husband, who can’t hold down a job. Coincidentally, the shooter used the sort of gun an Iraq vet would have… They search their (very plushly appointed) apartment and find a whole lot of money walled up behind fresh drywall, along with a gram or two of coke. Vince is the thief, all right, but Brenda can’t believe he planned this. It must have been Kelli. But how will they get him to testify against his wife?

A bit of Photoshop trickery that the wedding photographer uses gives Brenda an idea. She has Buzz erase the bodyguard Vince was aiming at when he accidentally shot Kelli, and tells her that Vince was trying to kill her so he could take the money and run. Kelli blows up — and Brenda arranges to have her disdainful comments broadcast to Vince. He’ll certainly testify now. Brenda got her mastermind.

Domestic affairs
Things are not going smoothly in the wedding suite. Willie Ray and Claire have VERY different ideas about how things should be decorated (Willie Ray favors traditional Southern touches, which conflicts with Claire’s Feng Shui). Clay agrees to stay behind and referee so Brenda and Fritz can have some alone time. Yeah, about that… they’re both working their own cases, so they just don’t see each other until the wedding itself.

The squad room is equally chaotic. Gabriel and Daniels are at each other’s throats, and Daniels finally slaps Gabriel. Gabriel wants to file a complaint, but Provenza tells them to quit it. When they can’t stop sniping, he tells them that Pope wants to promote someone out of the squad, and one of them better apply for the job. He doesn’t care who.

Perhaps he should have been more specific — both Gabriel and Daniels apply, and neither of them tell Brenda. Who will be left standing come the new season?

The wedding

After all the drama, the wedding is actually lovely. Claire officiates (much to Willie Ray’s dismay),and she pulls it off. “Brenda: Fritz never gives up on the people he loves,” she says. “Fritz, I know I don’t need to tell you this, but Brenda never gives upon anything. That why you two — y’all — make the perfect match.”

The reception is even better — each squad member films a message that suits them perfectly. Some of the best ones:

Tao and his wife are asked what makes a good marriage. “Patience,” Tao says. “Patience and separate bathrooms,” his wife adds.
Provenza: “Up until now, you guys have avoided all the big mistakes people make in a relationship: Getting married, buying a house and having kids. I look at this wedding today as a big red flag.”
Flynn: “Hey guys, enjoy Italy, you’ve earned it. And make sure you ‘sleep in’ a lot the first week out.”
Sanchez: “My wife died six years ago, and I’ve never taken off her ring. Always love each other. Always.”
Taylor: “So, just say something nice? OK, lemme think…”

Brenda freaks out a bit at the reception — “I feel like I know my limitations better and you still don’t have any,” she tells Fritz. “I love you with all my heart, but sometimes I think my heart is only this big.” “Your heart is big enough to carry me and the job and then some. I’m fully aware of who I just married,” Fritz says. And then he proves it — he leaves a Ho-Ho for her in the hotel room. Brenda gazes at herself in her wedding dressing, munching the Ho-Ho, dipping it into wedding-cake icing, and contemplating the future. Mazel tov, Brenda and Fritz!

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Oh, Gabriel. If you don’t know why holding up a stripper cop dress to your ex-girlfriend the cop would be a bad idea, you’re just not doing well.
  • Later, Brenda confiscates the pictures of the escorts from the guys, and Daniels laughingly puts them in a drawer. Gabriel blows up — see, she’s a total buzz-kill! I gotta say, I’m with Daniels all the way on this one.
  • Fritz apologizes for not being there because of his case, and Brenda milks it for all she’s worth: “Just remember this the next time you’re mad at me because I have to put my work first.”
  • When Brenda calls in to the squad room, Gabriel asks if she actually got married. She confirms it. Sanchez hands $20 to a smiling Tao.
  • Brenda throws the bouquet, and Provenza catches it. He’s absolutely horrified. He tosses it back, and this time, Claire catches it. She bounces all over the place — “A win is a win is a win!” — and ends up jumping on Flynn.
  • Was anyone else worried that Stroh would show up in the hotel suite and kidnap Brenda, kill Fritz or otherwise wreak havoc? I’m so glad they didn’t go there!
Posted by:Sarah Jersild