The Closer - Season 5, Episode 7: Strike Three - Review

From TV Squad:

She's back. Clearly, the producers of The Closer decided that Brenda needed an antagonist. Mary McDonnell has fit the bill. So far I think they've made her character a bit one-note, but I'm willing to see how she evolves over time. Or maybe it's just that I like Mary McDonnell.

Anyway, like internal affairs officers in most cop dramas, McDonnell's character, Captain Sharon Raydor of Force Investigation Division, seems to be anti-cop/pro-victim. Harry Callahan would hate her. She was better in this than her previous episode, but not by much.

After a gruesome killing of two cops in the street, Raydor glommed onto the scene and immediately deemed that the most important death at the site wasn't the two police officers. No, she assumed that the civilian youth, Kevin Webber, was likely gunned down by the LAPD.

Raydor was the ultimate buttinsky, shadowing Brenda to the point of irritation. Of course, Brenda was feeling the need for elbowroom when every division got involved in the investigation. But FID was the worst -- and only represented by Raydor. Raydor's position became even more impossible position to defend when the Webber kid turned out to be connected to a neo-Nazi gang. The giant swastika on the ceiling was a dead giveaway.

One thing about Raydor, and the point of the character presumably, was that she got under Brenda's skin. Pope had to be the referee between the two lady cops, in much the same way that Pope used to get between Taylor and Brenda.

The episode featured competing interrogations. Brenda's style crossed the line, but was imminently effective with the tattoo artist, getting him to give up information that made apprehending the two Aryan gang bangers possible. Watching from Buzz's monitor room, Raydor was critical of Brenda, noting every infraction. Later on when Raydor took the lead and got to interview Ted, the Aryan nation biker dude, she failed completely.

But that forced Brenda to get more creative. Since the baddies -- Stomper and Ted -- opted to not cooperate -- waiting for their lawyers -- Brenda decided to put her all eggs in one basket by relying on the search of the house where the car from the shooting was found.

Raydor clearly doubted that Major Crimes -- and Brenda in particularly -- could get the result they were looking for. She watched from the van and you figure she was sort of rooting against Brenda and her squad. Brenda, however, had covered her bases brilliantly with a miniature camera trained on the pair in the backseat of a squad car to capture them incriminating themselves. The fact that one nearly killed the other was just a bonus.

There was a real sense of symmetry between the opening and the closing. The two police officers killed in the black and white were uniformed cops. When Major Crimes, Pope and Raydor all left station to attend their funeral, all the officers were in police blues. As they departed, the camera panned up to the flags over the building at half-mast. The overhead shot also echoed the helicopter shots that first identified the crime scene.



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