“The Closer” hits us with one heck of a depressing series of events, and then tries to show us the good that may come out of them. Do you buy it? Are you a Sanchez or a Flynn?
Reggie Gray is found shot in the back of the head, execution style, outside the Crenshaw Community Center. He’s a former gangbanger, an ex con, and he’s got a record a mile long… but by all accounts, he paid his debt to society and is working to turn his life around and improve his neighborhood, in part by working at the center. His biggest champion? Father Jack. Yep, that Father Jack. Oooh boy.
Father Jack is convinced the cops are more interested in blaming the victim (thanks, Flynn!) or destroying his ministry than solving the crime. He’s unwilling to help, which is problematic, since Reggie was living in Jack’s church, and Jack won’t let them search Reggie’s room. Brenda works around that, which gets Jack all het up. Pope tries to soothe the ruffled feathers, and he and Brenda end up agreeing to a community meeting — despite Jack’s (somewhat satisfied) prediction that the community will NOT go easy on them. They don’t: The cops don’t care about us! You can’t — or just don’t want to — protect us! Now you come crawling here asking us to do your job? Feh!
A couple of people theorize that Reggie’s death meant he was involved in gangs again, which prompts his mom to stand up: He didn’t deserve this! How many of our children are we going to have to bury before we make a change? Oof. That hits Brenda (and me) hard. Also disturbing — news that there were shots fired at a nearby gas station, and the cops just did a drive by. They didn’t even stop!
Brenda sends part of the team to the gas station, where they find .32 caliber shells — the same kind of bullets that killed Reggie. Sanchez has a theory — he climbs to the top of the church tower and has Tao point his “geeky laser” in the direction of the community center. It’s bang on where Reggie was standing. He was hit by a stray bullet.
The team tracks down Tommy, the guy who made the 911 call from the gas station, and he’s at first reluctant to talk. But Brenda uses some magic words she learned from Fritz and gets him to reveal what he saw. A couple of gangbangers were hassling a guy in a Cadillac. Caddy man pulled out a gun and fired a couple of shots, and the gangbangers ran. Caddy man drove away, but Tommy got his license plate. Why didn’t he give that to the cops? Because they never talked to me, he says — and don’t look so shocked, lady, that’s what always happens.
Caddy man is Kelvin Blake, who has a rap sheet from years ago but has a nice, stable life now and seems like a nice guy. He tells Brenda that yeah, he fired his gun — two thugs threatened to carjack me, I was scared for my life (and still am), so I scared them off. He IDs the guys to threatened him. “Kelvin — when you fired those rounds, did you ever wonder where they were going to end up?” Brenda asks. “No, why? What happened?” Kelvin answers. When he discovers he accidentally killed Reggie, he falls apart. Oof again.
That leaves the gangbangers who threatened the carjacking. Brenda convinces them she’s just interested in the murder. OK, fine — we said something about how we’d look good in his Caddy, but we never got around to stealing it. We only tried to steal it, and then that maniac starts shooting at us! Brenda gets them to write that statement down and then explains the felony murder rule — i.e., if someone dies as a result of actions you commit in the course of a crime (or attempted crime), that’s murder. And you two? You’re under arrest.
So yay, we got the bad guys! But… wow, sucks that we’ve got a completely meaningless, random, pointless death on our hands. Not so, says Father Jack — “Meaning it’s something you find, it’s something you give.” And the meaning in Reggie’s death? Well, more than a dozen community members are out repainting Reggie’s wall. It brought the neighborhood together, and even brought you and me together, Jack says. Sanchez grins and takes off his jacket, joining in the work. Gabriel follows, then Tao. Provenza gets a huge grin on his face and joins in. “I can’t believe you’re falling for this!” Flynn protests. “It’s not gonna change anything! And tomorrow or next week, this wall’s going to be covered in graffiti again!” “Well, until then…” Brenda says, picking up a paint roller.
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends
- Brenda is horrified by the random, heart-breaking crime — and by Reggie’s mother’s anguish. So perhaps it’s not the best day for Fritz to bring up having kids. Pick your moment, dude!
- Not that Fritz backs down: “You’re so great at imagining the worst. it’s part of why you’re good at your job. But try, just for a minute, imagining something better.” Brenda uses those same words on Tommy to get him to spill. Does that mean she’s considering what Fritz said, or just that she’ll use any line to get what she wants?
- Ramos is again (again!) at the crime scene. Brenda is appalled. I’m confused — doesn’t he have anyone else to torment?
- Reggie’s wallet is still in his pocket. If it wasn’t a robbery, why was he killed? Ramos asks. “You want an alphabetical list?” Flynn responds. “A: Asshole. B: Because. C: Criminal.” Father Jack is NOT happy to hear that.
- Sanchez is apparently going out for the Olympic Speed Genuflecting team.
- Buzz applied for a federal grant for surveillance equipment — and it came through. $70,000! He promises to spend it fast, and he does. Tao is thrilled to play with the split-screen, and various aspect ratio capabilities.
- Dr. Morales again makes me happy. When Brenda says Father Jack thought Reggie was a saint, Morales responds with “I don’t know about saint, but he meet the first big requirement for martyrdom.”
- Later, Morales overhears Brenda react badly to Gabriel’s suggestion that they have a community meeting. “You want me to share information with civilians? Absolutely not! I’m not doing that, ever!” she vows. “Just as well,” Morales says. “You don’t have any information to share.” Heh.
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