“The Closer” 5.7 mini-cap: “Strike Three”


This is the seventh episode and lesbian Det. Mikki Mendoza (Paola Turbay) makes her second appearance. I desired to recap this series with the impression that the lovely detective would recur on my screen more frequently. I don’t know why I should have assumed anything other than what we have been given. Lesbian characters on television are about as rare as an honest politician on C Street. Nonetheless, Mary McDonnell is back as well, and she is fabulous. This one is an estrogen rush.

Shots fired. Officers down. Major Crimes squad on the scene. Chief Johnson arrives. Nice shoes, Brenda Leigh. Two cops and one civilian are dead.

Looks like a routine traffic stop. The officers were fired upon when they pulled up. By the number of casings, an assault weapon.

The Force Investigation Division is already there. The captivating Capt. Raydor (Mary McDonnell) is making demands at the crime scene. Her tenacious meddling interferes with Brenda’s investigation.

Brenda says officers killed on the street belong to Major Crimes. Raydor adds that civilians killed by LAPD belong to FID. I would say this is a cat fight, but, if you remember, Brenda is short one kitty.

The Pope commands FID share the crime scene, but the holy see belongs to Brenda and Major Crimes. He instructs Raydor not to interfere.

Raydor says she is going with Brenda for next of kin notification of the civilian. To Brenda he is a probable gang member, to Raydor, he is a possible victim. Brenda says she hopes the Capt. has her own car.

The mother of the dead civilian calls Sgt. Gabriel “boy” and demands that she doesn’t want her son’s possessions touched by Mexicans. Sounds eerily familiar to a hearing run by Senator Sessions.

There is a neo-Nazi swastika on the ceiling and a template of an Aryan tattoo with lightning bolts on the table. Det. Sanchez points out that you don’t get the bolt until you kill someone. Brenda asks Capt. Raydor if this is proof that her victim was in a gang. No. Brenda sighs: “Bitch.” Raydor thinks, “Thanks.”

The token Fritz moment arrives as the FBI volunteers to track all the Aryan gangs. Brenda’s squad is arguing with FID. They took all the evidence, ballistics and the broken tail light found at the scene.

Brenda requests an audience with the Pope. Raydor says the victim has no tattoos, there is no GSR, and gang membership is being based on a drawing. The Pope’s dogma: Release the evidence now.

Brenda interviews the tattoo artist. Raydor says she usually goes first; Brenda alludes this will be a nice change for her. Much to Raydor’s chagrin, Brenda threatens the tattoo artist with putting him in a general population with the snitch moniker. He rolled on the two white supremacists who brought the kid in with them. Their pictures, not their names, are in his example book.

Provenza tells the chief “Nurse Ratchett” determined the tail light matches an old model Oldsmobile. Brenda needs some time to herself. Knowing Raydor has a case, too, Brenda excites the squad with a little long blue line propaganda and throws them at Rador.

A tip caller informs them she lent her Olds to her nephew last night and it came back damaged. Her nephew was released from prison a year ago and has the same tattoos.

The beautiful and absent from the drama more than we would like, Det. Mikki Mendoza, is requested for surveillance. There has been no sign of the nephew, but the aunt is home. Brenda and Raydor match the broken tail light to the Cutlass in the garage. The nephew left for some reason; he’ll be back.

Raydor wants to know if Brenda knows the consequences of lathering up the police mob. Brenda affirms if they have to shoot the criminals, then the case is all hers.

Sanchez and Mendoza are undercover as a couple strolling their baby. He is feeling his mojo beside the beautiful Latina. A decorated detective in Major Crimes, Sanchez still has no major clue Mendoza plays for the other team.

Bikers arrive and begin with the racial slurs when they see Sanchez and Mendoza. Sanchez takes one down and Mendoza levels the other with the fake baby. They got them. Brenda allows herself a millisecond of celebration and clutches her pearls to calm herself. She needs a confession.

The racist pair refuse to talk and ask for an attorney. Brenda reads them their rights and takes them back to the neighborhood with the pretense of letting them go if a search of the aunt’s house comes up empty. AV equipment is set up in the car.

The two get nervous and start talking to each other. They never should have brought the kid that night. They keep talking and lead the squad the assault rifles and drugs. They begin fighting about the night of the shooting and then the confession caught on tape.Raydor is a little impressed, and gives an acknowledged smirk.

One of the suspects slips his cuffs and begins choking the other. Raydor runs to the scene telling Brenda she has to do something. A stun gun is used. Brenda waited to make sure the use of force is appropriate and responsible.

The squad is dressed in blues for the fallen officers’ funeral, including Raydor. She informs Brenda the officers have been exonerated. Brenda tells Raydor continuing to investigate all good cops will cause hesitation. That hesitation will mean more good cops will die.

Have you ever thought bout what that costs? Raydor responds: $70 million in settle lawsuits last year and over 100 cases overturned because of police crossing the line. Until there is a better way, Brenda will haveRaydor. And don’t worry, Brenda — she has her own car.

Brenda tells Provenza it’s back to the six of them — for now. Outside, the flags fly at half-staff.

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