Most helpful positive review
95 of 97 people found the following review helpful
Some of the best writing and acting on TV
on March 16, 2010
We own all the seasons of "The Closer" on DVD. In fact, we own them in the most expensive possible way, because we buy the individual episodes on iTunes so we can watch them on the computer while we're waiting for the DVD to come out. A frequent scene in our household: my wife and I are thumbing through a deck of Netflix, and we will say, "Oh, let's just watch a Brenda." I will suggest an episode. She will say, "Is that the one where ..." (and here she describes the entire plot). I reply, "Yes, where ..." (and here I add some plot details). "Okay." Then we watch the episode again and throughly enjoy it.
I've been told, in some English class long ago, that the mark of a "classic" is that you can read it over and over and still get something new out it of each time. There is only one other TV show ("Monk") that I've ever enjoyed watching repeatedly like that, and the reason is the same: the writing, acting, and directing are superb. Even when I know what is going to happen, I enjoy watching all the characters.
Kyra Sedgwick is a thoroughly believable as Brenda Leigh Johnson. In fact, I was floored when I saw her do an interview and realized that she doesn't really have a Georgia accent! Brenda is so human. Yes, she is great at extracting confessions, one way or another, but she also has her foibles, like her penchant for chocolate, her reluctance to throw away old love letters from Will Pope, her rather high-handed and ineffective parenting style with her niece, Charlie (played by her real-life daughter, Sosie Bacon, which is pretty funny).
It's not just Brenda, though. All the characters are fascinating. Personally, I identify with Lt. Provenza because, well, he's me. But Sgt. Gabriel, Flynn, Fritz, Lt. Tao, Buzz, and all the rest are just interesting, believable characters, brilliantly portrayed. And J. K. Simmons, as Chief Will Pope is a delight. That man can say more with one brief facial expression than many actors can in an entire speech. And I look forward to visits from Brenda's mother (Frances Steenbergen) as much as Brenda dreads them.
As a writer, what grabs me most about this show is the writing. The plots are always realistic, the story lines tightly interwoven. For instance, frequently, some little detail in Brenda's "real life," some little detail arising out of a sub-plot about her relationship with Fritz, or her mother, will give her the sudden insight that lets her close her case. But these story points never seem contrived. The interwoven subplots never seem out of place -- you don't realize until the end how neatly everything fits together.
If you are new to "The Closer," I recommend starting with Season 1, to get the background on Brenda's being in L.A., and her relationship with Will Pope. If you are familiar with the show, then this review is probably unnecessary except to say that Season 5 is better than ever.