Synopsis for
"The Closer" Tijuana Brass (2008)

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A man walks down an alley to a truck. He peels back the tarp over the back and finds two dead bodies. He puts on his priest's collar. He anoints their foreheads and palms, performing last rites. He looks around nervously, rushed, choking on the smell. He performs the sign of the cross and then calls 911 to report the murders and hangs up.

Brenda and the team arrive. The victims are Tijuana police officers. Flynn's hot about a story in the Times calling Priority Homicide "elite." Pope wants to see Brenda.

The victims have IDs and guns. It's not the crime scene.

They traced the call of the man who called it in, a Father Donohue of a nearby Catholic church.

They find bracelets in the victim's mouths, related to a cartel. Sanchez thinks that means they're dirty cops.

Brenda hands out assignments. She wants a crime scene.

Provenza notices the crosses in olive oil in the men's heads. She wants to talk to Father Donahue.

Pope tells Brenda she has to go through channels to talk to the Catholic church. Pope is all fired up about the article. He reads some to Brenda in which she's quoted saying that 90 percent of the time she's sent out on cases by her superiors to handle media coverage. He's not a fan of that part. She points out inviting in a reporter was his idea. He points out she was his idea, as was Priority Homicide. He tells her the police commission wants her division dismantled. Pope isn't thrilled that there's a part two of the article coming.

Pope tells her he's shutting down Priority Homicide, today. She gets to keep her rank and salary, but she won't be in charge of anything. She's stunned. And then dismissed.

Daniels briefs them on Father Donahue. Brenda is near tears, so Provenza leads questions. The dope dog found nothing, but there was dried blood on the seats in the stolen car. There is also a shots fired call from last night. When the police investigated, they found that everyone nearby heard it except one worker, Mateo Hernandez. His social security number is only two years old. They figure he's illegal and his job site is their crime scene. She thanks them for their excellent work, choked up.

Fritz walks in, calling Hernandez a "seriously good guy" who has helped the bureau a lot, but he can't tell them more. He goes with her to Hernandez's work.

The boss leads them around, noticing the workspace has been rearranged. Fritz tries to tell her again that Mateo wasn't the kind of guy to do what she's looking at. She disagrees because she's looking at two casing on the floor.

The team comes and finds blood in the mop bucket, tape like the kind found on the tarp and a lock busted from the inside. The victims were inside when the officers responded to the shots fired call. She thinks he waited then bundled up the bodies and moved them. She's ready to storm the church to talk to the priest. Provenza tries to argue for diplomacy, then Gabriel. "Let's fight one Pope at a time," Provenza says.

Fritz says the FBI is faxing over declassified stuff on Mateo.

Back at the office, Fritz tries to ask what's going on after the article, but she brushes him off. He summarizes the report on Mateo. He was a Mexican comandante, but wouldn't back down when the Ochoa cartel moved in on him. He thinks the victims, Gonzalez and Gomez, were sent there by the cartel to kill Hernandez. Mateo's nephew visited recently and was killed when he got home. They think he was followed.

Sanchez finds the nephew's murder pictures online, the investigating officers were Gonzalez and Gomez. The best way to get away with murder is to investigate it, Flynn notes. They try to figure if Mateo was defending himself or lying in wait for the men.

They still can't find him. The dried blood is bugging her, she asks Tao to look into it.

Martin Vasquez, a comandante from Mexican internal affairs arrives to hear about the case. Taylor intercepts Brenda and tries to act like he's only trying to help Pope keep his job by sacrificing her division.

The comandante knew Mateo as Manuel Rivera. He doesn't deny that the victims might be corrupt. He wants to believe it was self-defense on Manuel's part. He asks for a report from the morgue.

They visit the coroner, who recreates the scene with Gabriel as his dummy. One approached Mateo while another held him around the neck from behind and he managed to shoot them both. He uses a sponge as his gun and squirts water on Gabriel. Gabriel's not pleased he doesn't know where the sponge has been.

Brenda doesn't understand why Mateo ran and told no one if it really was self-defense. The IA points out Mateo did warn the FBI a week ago and now he might think that someone ratted him out. He says he himself sleeps somewhere different each night for safety, including sometimes churches. Brenda gets back on the priest's scent.

Brenda thinks Mateo has sought sanctuary there. Gabriel reiterates that he thinks it's a bad idea to go in. She goes anyway. She starts by lying to the priest, saying that the Archdiocese said she could talk to him. She notices she's interrupted his dinner and that he has Spanish TV on. When he turns his back to get her water she puts a fork in her purse. She asks him how he knew about the bodies. He says through confession. She says she doesn't think killing someone in self-defense is a sin. He says that's not his call. She asks him about Mateo Hernandez. He shuts her down. She tells him the cartel is going to find out where Mateo is. She takes a picture of his nephew out of her purse and shows the priest what the cartel did to the last person they found. He asks what she'd do if she found him. When she says arrest him he tells her the cartel is waiting for someone named Manuel Rivera to be put in jail so they can kill him. Whoever gets him earns $50,000. Brenda thinks they could find a safe place to hold him. Brenda asks if it's politically incorrect to declare themselves at a Mexican standoff. He tells her actions speak louder than words.

The team swarms the church, sealing it off. Provenza can't believe she's picked that day to close off a church.

Tao reports on the blood in the truck. It was seven days old and matched the rare type of Rivera's nephew, even though the owner said the truck just went missing that day. Brenda sets Gabriel after the owner.

At the office, Pope and Taylor try to diffuse Ricardo Ramos. Brenda joins them. Pope does his best political speak, saying it's a misunderstanding and that they weren't only solving white rich murders. He tells him they're in the middle of a departmental reorganization that will shut down the division. Ricardo says he didn't misunderstand anything and cites what Brenda said. She goes along in saying she misspoke. Pope tells Ramos, and Brenda, that she'll be heading up a new Major Crimes division. She takes the opportunity to define her job, saying it will include fraud, kidnapping and rape. Pope can't argue in front of the reporter. She continues. Commander Taylor will be reporting to her, helping her coordinate with other divisions, and her "elite" team of detectives will stay intact. "It's gonna be great." Ricardo asks if he has an exclusive. "You're the first to hear it," she says as she leaves.

Pope and Taylor fume but put on happy faces to Ricardo.

Gabriel shows Brenda the name of the owner of the pick-up truck. Tao confirms the prints on the fork were Manuel Rivera's. She wants him to lift prints from something she digs out of her purse and match them to an unidentified set on the truck.

In the Buzz booth he looks over border footage with the comandante over his shoulder. The comandante says he thought the truck was stolen last night. "No, that's just what you told the San Deigo police this morning when you realized your plan to kill Manuel had gone terribly wrong," she says.

They find the truck with Gomez and Gonzalez crossing on the tape. She asks the Martin for his passport. Gabriel and Sanchez help him get it from his pocket. Both of them. Watching the tape, Buzz says "Oh my god," as he sees the comandante pull up right behind the murder truck.

Tao gives Brenda news. She tells the comandante they just matched his prints from the photos he touched to ones in the truck. He tells them the boy was killed in Mexico, it's not their concern. Brenda asks him how he knows he was killed in Mexico.

All they've got on him is using a phony passport. She accuses him of putting a bounty on Manuel's head. He dares her to prove it.

She gives him a chance to confess. He doesn't, but she arrests him on the small charge anyway. She doesn't know which name to arrest him under. He says it doesn't matter. So she arrests him as Mateo Hernandez and Manuel Rivera, the names with the bounty on them. He flips out, saying it's murder. As he yells more, she points out his quandary: how would he know he isn't safe unless he put the hit out? He lunges at Brenda, choking her. The team drags him off and, as he continues to scream, takes him away.

Brenda visits the church with Fritz. He notices it's beautiful. She goes into the confessional, telling the priest that "Manuel Rivera" was killed in the county jail last night and it's been reported in the news. The priests asks what will become of the man he knows as Manuel. She tells him there's an FBI agent outside who can give him a new identity. Or, if there's one thing the government has proven it can't do, it's find illegal aliens. The priest promises to keep her in his prayers.

On the way out, she wishes the janitor, Manuel, good luck.


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