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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
From the start, "The Closer" has been one of my favorite TV shows. This
episode the the best yet. The opening 9 minutes are more hilarious than
most comedy series manage in an entire episode, yet firmly rooted in
reality: This is the genius in "The Closer" - no matter how absurd the
events in any episode may appear, they are always within believability,
and more importantly, *in character*. Never does a character do
something uncharacteristic - actions that at first might appear
uncharacteristic represent mental growth in the character. And the
characters do grow over time, like real people. The only series that
outperforms "The Closer", is of course, "The Wire", but you probably
guessed that already.
OK, what about this specific episode? The flow of humor stays constant, while the police work is depicted naturally. Brenda's investigation into the mystery of the extra corpse is of the same high quality writing we've come to expect from this series, though the interrogation scenes do not threaten the best ones we've seen in the series. However, the truth behind the mystery is among the best ones yet.
The running jokes about the catering and the lawsuit are marvelous fun, as is Brenda's anxiety over the size of her lips. But the best, most genius comedic moment in the episode comes with Robert Picardo's one-scene cameo as Mr. Sheffield of the prestigious Sheffield & Eckhart funeral home. The scene features a clever meta-joke that must not be spoiled. I've seen similar jokes before, but the actor's here are (Picardo and Sedgwick) so good they make this the best variation of the joke yet.
All in all, this is the perfect example of why I choose "The Closer" over the avalanche of CSI franchise or any other *episodic* police series with the possible exception of "The Mentalist" (I've only seen six episodes of "The Mentalist" so far, so it's too early for judgment).
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