I’ve been watching The Closer for a couple years now. I think Kyra Sedgwick is pretty near awesome in the role. She runs things, and doesn’t apologize for doing her job. I thought the show was doing pretty well integrating a multicultural cast – maybe not perfect all the time, but trying. The show is fun to watch, so I’m not always sitting there with my critic hat on, anyway.
Sadly, all that changed last night. [spoilers ahead – and I do mean that both ways]
The show opens with a Latin@ family having been gunned down in their home in the midst of breakfast. Only the father survived, because he wasn’t at home when it happened. This made him a prime suspect. He was taken into custody and interrogated, and it became obvious that he was not the killer. He was hurting. Badly. The Latino detective under Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, Sanchez (played by Raymond Cruz), obviously felt this more keenly than the other detectives in the squad. Maybe because he had a long road back from being wounded last season – or maybe because he was really feeling the Latin kinship. I dunno.
Meanwhile, Brenda Leigh is waiting for the moment when she gets that flash of brilliance that allows her to solve the case, so she goes home. For some reason, it took her particularly long to reach her epiphany – maybe because her cat was ill. Her husband was concerned about the cat and wanted to take it to the vet, but she seemed to be in denial about the fact that it was ill.
After reaching the “break in the case” that all police dramas hinge on, Brenda Leigh returns to work, solves the crime, puts the baddies behind bars, and goes back to her office to wrap up. The father and husband of the family that has been murdered is distraught, but nearly unresponsive in his current state. Only Sanchez is paying him any attention. The father hasn’t been allowed home during this ordeal because his house was an active crime scene. So the last time he saw his house or family was at breakfasttime the day before.
Sanchez comes in to the Deputy Chief’s office and informs Brenda Leigh that he’ll be letting the victim sleep on his couch for a few days, until a family member can come into town. She remarks that it’s very kind of him to help the victim like this. Sanchez responds that he’s just giving him a place to sleep, he doesn’t have any real help to give. He then tells his boss of the scheduled funeral, and asks for the day off so he may attend. She approves.
Brenda goes home after a hard day’s work and walks in the house looking for the cat. But the cat hasn’t had a good day. The cat won’t be coming home. Then Brenda says to her husband something like – “I can’t believe that I just saw him [the cat] at breakfast and I won’t ever see him again.” She’s almost in tears, and the show fades to black soon after.
That’s when I started yelling at the tv.
I don’t know if they’re going to be exploring some kind of story arc where Brenda loses all her emotions, or has a brain tumor [that sure is popular these days (I’m lookin’ at you, ABC)]. Or maybe Brenda’s life in the city is “turning her racist“.
All I know is that I had tears for the man who lost his family, and Brenda was chillin’ in the office. Then, when she was starting to tear up about her cat, my blood started to boil.
I don’t know if I can watch next week and fell vindicated when I find that Brenda was temporarily body-snatched and replaced with a racist, but functionally skilled lookalike. Why else would they put this obvious parallel into the show? What possible point can you make about equating a brown family with a family pet that isn’t a big fat racist point?
And so, more proof that even a multi-culti cast can only do what the writers and producers give them to do.
Guess I can start whittling down my Netflix queue on Monday nights.