I bought the first season of The Closer on DVD for my Mom a few months ago, but she was saving it for a rainy day. Last week is ended up pouring all week long, so the two of us spent some time working our way through. I've never really been into the TNT dramas (or the USA shows which always seemed very similar based on the ads), so I had always discounted The Closer as another lame police procedural.
Turns out it definitely is a police procedural, but it's definitely not lame.
I love the character of Brenda Leigh Johnson. I love how she assess a situation in a few seconds and immediately knows what needs to be done. I love how (at least when it comes to a case) she knows how to just buckled down and work without the usual hand-wringing and whining. I love how she expects and demands competency from others. I also love her cute southern accent and how she is always polite, even if raking you over the coals.
She'll make you confess your deepest, darkest sins...but still be as sweet as pie while doing it.
While each case is a stand-alone episode, the course of the first season is clear. Brenda transfers to the LAPD from Atlanta where she becomes not only the new kid, but also an automatic Deputy Chief in charge of the Priority Murder Squad (PMS...ha) without having to come up through the ranks. The detectives under her command are immediately hostile to her for several reasons--her easy promotion, outsider status, and gender are some of the most prominent--but through the season they all come to hold a grudging respect and loyalty for her. It's fun to watch Brenda's relationship with the other detectives evolve and even more fun to watch her navigate the antics of the "villain," Detective Taylor who leads the Robbery-Homicide division of the LAPD.
For the most part, the mysteries were engaging and centered around your typical LA-types. Actors, software millionaires, politicians, your typical Hollywood folks. There may have been a few clunkers in the mix, but I enjoyed all the episodes purely from a character stand point if not because of the plot. Like Law and Order, there's usually some kind of twist at the end, and for the most part I wouldn't figure out the mystery out ahead of time (though in fairness, I don't really try--I like to be surprised).
So The Closer gets a solid B rating; I'm not rushing out to watch the new episodes, but I definitely look forward to continuing with the series. And with that, all that's left to say is "thanks yeeeew, thank you so much!"