The Closer Closes Painfully Overused Clichés and Plotlines

Over the past decade, there has been a switch between television and Hollywood movies. In the past, where movies gave us depth of characters, complex plotlines and suspense, television provided simple stories in short, thirty minute segments. It was a simpler time for television, and movie-makers really knew how to put on a show. Both of them created entertainment that fit well with the times, each of them knowing their place and doing what they did best.

Today, Hollywood is falling flat on its face with titles that would have done well in the 80’s, while television has become much more sophisticated, giving us depth where Hollywood is failing. Wake up, Hollywood, the WB’s Charmed has more teeth than Troy, even though Troy had Brad Pitt and Legolas.

Ok, that’s it. I think we’ve had enough. We’re leaving you, Hollywood. Television can give us what you can’t.

Over the past few years, a whole list of new titles, as well as entirely new genres of television, has been coming out of the woodwork. And the people saw that it was good: 24, a new and improved Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Extreme Makeover and many more. Now everyone wants a piece of the action, including TNT, who has moved out onto the television playing field with The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick.

As far as the casting is concerned, Kyra Sedgwick fills the lead role very nicely. The character takes a little getting used to at first because it is a bit of the unexpected. She is refreshing, as is her appearance, because it’s typically expected that a main female character should be porno-hot with huge breasts that upstage the entire show. Not so in this case, as the character’s intelligence and charisma, as well as the plot, takes center stage. Another unexpected bonus is the character’s persona, who is not overly-confident about her abilities. The story includes the character’s shortcomings to give her a little more depth.

The Closer is an hour long, and does pretty well for the bulk of the show. She is the underdog Police Chief who, with her band of misfit officers under her, solves crimes. Ok, it’s not quite that campy, but the body of the show is quite good and keeps you interested. The stories are new and refreshing, and there is enough content to keep you watching until the very end.

And that’s where it craps out on us. The stories and settings are new and refreshing, but the very ending – and I’m talking about how the crime is solved in the last three to five minutes of the show – does not deliver. I believe the writers and producers were trying for the “ending a la CSI,” but for The Closer, it doesn’t work – it’s too fast. It took me sitting through a couple of episodes to figure it out, and then I realized the ending left me wanting more: More drama, more impact, more originality. When the first show was released, I thought it was quite good, and the ending was, well, at least somewhat of a surprise. (Oh, by the way, this is a spoiler so in case you don’t want to know, you’d better go read something else.)

Any pilot show is like putting your best foot forward – you want it to be good, but you also want it to give everyone just a taste of what the future holds for the series. Although I’ve only watched three or four episodes, I have found that the pilot had the most creative ending of the ones I’ve watched so far, which is disappointing. The story was not unusual: A man is killed and the police unit investigates the murder and interviews potential suspects.

In the end, it turns out that the man who was killed was actually a woman who had been wanted for other crimes, so he/she changed their appearance to look like a man, and used their l33t hax0r skills to change their identity. This person had a female secretary who had no idea that they were really a woman and of course they have a pseudo-affair where they were never intimate but were emotionally involved. Of course when they told the secretary that they were really a woman, the secretary hit them over the head with a large blunt object, killing them. This isn’t a completely original concept, but it had a nice morality twist to it: the secretary was a devout Catholic who would rather kill her lover than be known as a lesbian. Fox News Factor: Catholics are evil and dumb. Or maybe just dumb. So it wasn’t a completely new concept, but it at least had the interesting twist on the end.

The other episodes I watched had great bodies, that is, the meat and bones of the story is good, but the endings are overused plotlines that we’ve seen before. This week’s episode was: A powerful Arab businessman is shot and killed. After chasing clues and interviewing different people, Kyra Sedgwick’s character finds that the Arab guy’s wife (who I think was Councilor Troi from Star Trek, thankfully without the spandex suit) was having an affair with their daughter’s doctor. The wife and doctor conspire together and kill the husband. Morality Factor: In other countries, wives don’t divorce husbands because it’s wrong and women are oppressed, so instead of divorcing husbands, they kill them. Fox News Factor: Arab countries are evil women oppressors. Also, they are brown.

Snore. This week’s episode will be the last one that I watch until they can think up more creative endings.


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