Television Series DVD
 

The Closer: The Complete Second Season

Distributed By: Warner Video


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            I absolutely loved The Closer and tuned in to the television crime drama on TNT for every single episode and many re-runs.  And then, it was gone.  I watch Major Crimes, a spin-off series containing many of the original characters from The Closer, but, although I enjoy it, it's not the same as the original.  Thus, when I want my Closer fix, I am forced to check out my DVDs.  I just finished watching The Closer: The Complete Second Season.

            In the second season, things heat up a notch.  Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) has finally been accepted by the members of the Los Angeles Police Department's Priority Homicide Division, who see her as a competent investigator and interrogator with a number of endearing, and often times confusing quirks.  Sure, she still is finding it hard to deal with Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett) who is still quite perturbed at having lost the Deputy Chief spot to Brenda, but at least the members of her squad respect her and are finally working together as a cohesive unit.

            But that doesn't mean that Brenda's life is perfect.  In the first episode of the season, Blue Blood, Brenda has to deal with the controversy regarding how she handles the murder of one of LA's finest.  In the second episode, Mom Duty, she receives a surprise visit from her mother...on the day that her boyfriend, Special Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney), moves in.  As if the stress of inviting Fritz to move in with her isn't enough, the fact that she hasn't even discussed him with her parents is more than enough to send Brenda over the edge when Mama arrives. 

            And let's not forget the stress handed to Brenda by her colleagues in To Protect & To Serve, when Brenda finds herself investigating the murder of a woman found in Lt. Provenza's (G.W. Bailey) garage.  Oh, did I mention that Provenza and Lt. Flynn (Tony Denison) decided it might be a good idea to report the murder after going to see the Dodgers game...or that the body had disappeared upon their return?  Then there is Heroic Measures in which Detective Daniels (Gina Rivera) decides to shut down a hospital operating room on the basis of a grief-stricken mother's accusation that her son was murdered on the operating table.

            And if that weren't enough, Brenda finds herself in some seriously embarrassing waters when testifying in Chief Pope's (J. K. Simmons) child custody hearings in The Other Woman, especially when tidbits about their former relationship become less than private in No Good Deed.  It all culminates in a double-homicide involving the FBI that put Brenda and Fritz at odds and ends up with a shooting right in Brenda's murder room, which puts Brenda and her team in the hot seat...at home, wondering where the investigation into the incident will leave them.

            If Brenda works one final case for the CIA, will she be able to restore the members of her squad who have been sent on other duties and get her job back as Deputy Chief?  Or is she walking into a deadly trap that can ruin everything she has worked so hard for?

            While the first season of The Closer introduced us to the main characters and helped us bond with them as they developed bonds with each other, the second season fleshes the characters out at a deeper level, placing them in situations that give us better insight into the people they truly are.  Brenda is definitely that tough interrogator who has the knack for getting that confession out of the murderer, but there is a softer, much less confident side of her that comes out in this season.  We already get a view of Brenda's private life, but I loved getting a glimpse into the private lives of some of Brenda's colleagues in this season.

            The acting in this season, especially among the witnesses and murderers seemed to be much better in this season than in the first.  Not to say that the acting wasn't good in the first season, but this season featured actors who were able to express their emotions in more subtle, physical ways than before.  You actually believed that these folks were terrified, anguished, incredibly smug or downright psychotic based on their demeanors as well as the script.

            All of the regulars on this series are terrific actors, but I noted some terrific acting by some of the guest stars as well this season.  Frances Sternhagen was wonderful as Willie Rae Johnson, Brenda's mother.  She performs the role in such a way that we begin to understand just where Brenda gets her endearing quirks from...and why she is reluctant to tell her much about her love life or her job.  James L. Avery excelled as the medical examiner, Dr. Crippen.  Other notable performances came from Joe Spano as the grieving husband of a murdered juror, John Billingsley as a lovelorn food critic with murder on his palate, Dale Dickey as the ex-wife of a murdered paparazzo, James Frain as a husband whose wives keep disappearing on him, Deidre Lovejoy as a mother grieving over her son's death during an operation and Paul Hipp as the smug doctor who operated on him, Luis Antonio Ramos as an illegal immigrant who escapes murder, Hillary Tuck as a young student obsessed with clearing the name of a convicted killer convincingly portrayed by Keir O'Donnell, Michael O'Keefe as an FBI agent who has become to close to his investigation, William Daniels as top brass in the CIA, Debra Mooney as a disgraced CIA operative and Eli Danker, a CIA-watched terrorist.

            The storylines in this second season were unique and contained enough twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing as to the identity of the killer.  The characters were quirky and entertaining, people you would want to get to know in real life.  The second season of The Closer was a lot of fun and so were the extras on The Closer: The Complete Second Season DVD.  In addition to the deleted scenes we got with the first season DVD, this DVD set contained a hilarious gag reel and a Breaking Down The Closer featurette full of interesting information for The Closer fans.  Can you imagine anyone other than Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda?  Well, according to the actress herself, she almost turned it down.  Her reasons for accepting the role and more are found in this featurette.

            The Closer: The Complete Second Season is an excellent follow-up to the first DVD set.  Not only does it deliver the great episodes available in this season and the deleted scenes that accompany them, but extras that will delight The Closer fans everywhere.  An excellent addition to any Closer fan's video library.

 

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