‘The Closer’: Brenda's Off the Wagon

Photo: Courtesy of TNT

It’s about time things got back on track with our twitchy woman in the Los Angeles bureau. Last night’s episode of The Closer delivered not only an engrossing, hard-to-solve case involving the poolside murder of an in-demand Orange County divorce lawyer (police-procedural gold!) but also a hefty dose of Brenda Johnson’s Personal Life, resulting in a satisfying double-whammy that will undoubtedly get legions of viewers back in front of the tube next week for the second half of the episode.

What we know: The prime suspect in the case, a rich, nearly divorced hunk, has a first-rate talent for frustrating the cops; Brenda’s fiancé, Fritz, has two DWIs on his record that he failed to disclose to Brenda when they got together (interesting, but not so shocking; we would gone with a titillating but easily explained road rage incident or better yet, vehicular homicide!); Brenda’s forced detox from sugar isn’t going well, as evidenced by the Ding Dong, jelly doughnut, and vending-machine fare she tried to get her grubby paws on this week; and an elusive boating enthusiast named Topper Barnes’s sudden reappearance on the scene has threatened to imperil the LAPD’s not-so-solid case. (Speaking of which, why does this case matter so much again?)

What we don’t: Will Brenda lose all reason and dump Fritz for getting too sauced half a decade ago? Will the writers wisely decide to kill off the awkwardly queeny medical examiner who unfunnily makes Sgt. Gabriel squirm each week? Will we be spared more awkward May-December skeeziness from G.W. Bailey’s Lieutenant Provenza?

To be continued… —Sara Cardace