THE CLOSER: Series Finale – A Farewell to Brenda Leigh Johnson

Episode: Last Word

I feel silly, but I am really going to miss Brenda Leigh Johnson!

Great opening shot of Brenda riding up to a crime scene. The entire team reflected in the van windows. A mass grave has been found. All victims are female, at least four.

Love that we are witnessing the story of what happened the night before in flashback. The murderer was seen burying the body by a male prostitute. His “john” ran off and left him there.  Rusty, the prostitute was chased by the murderer but got away.  On security footage, Brenda and the team see the victim meeting a man in a store – it’s Philip Stroh! So, it does look like Brenda will go after “the one that got away” one more time. Brenda is frustrated by the political hoops she has to jump through to pursue Stroh, but Raydor helps her out.

The team has found Rusty. In the meantime, Fritz has found out who the victims are. All of them were blond and wanted to be actors. The latest victim’s roommate tells the team that she met a photographer at the store who offered her free head shots. There is still a lot of tension on the team about David. It turns out Rusty is a minor. His mother dumped him and moved away. He wants help to find his mom.  Brenda realizes he saw his attacker’s face.  She decides to use him as bait! It works! Stroh shows up to “talk” to Rusty.

Brenda is interrogating Stroh and nothing is working. Stroh is one upping her every step of the way. As he is leaving Stroh mentions her mother and Brenda jumps into the elevator and attacks Stroh.  By the time the team gets the door open she is covered in Stroh’s blood.  At least she has a DNA sample from him.  Of course she is suspended.  I wonder if Raydor is in on what she is doing. I don’t’ buy for a second that Brenda didn’t do it on purpose.  In fact I will be mad if she didn’t! Brenda Lee is too smart to let this creep get away again.

Brenda goes straight to the Morales. So that he can get the DNA off of her and plant it in the cap. The D.D.A. is waiting to support Brenda.  She tells Morales that they are not going to use it in court.  Just to trick Stroh. The D.D.A. mentions that the D.A.’s office needs a new chief investigator. Brenda asks if she can bring someone along. I guess we know where Brenda and David are going. The D.D. A. is surprised Brenda is considering it. Brenda points out that she probably needs a job, attacking Stroh will get her fired.

Brenda connects with Rusty especially when he says he feels like the time he spends with “bad men” is starting to make him a bad person. He begs her for help.  Brenda goes into the bathroom to cry and she sees that the bathroom window is open.  Stroh is there and she doesn’t have her gun on her. I have to believe the  team is there to help her. But he has a knife to Rusty’s throat. She tells Rusty in code to attack him.  Rusty gets away but Stroh is attacking Brenda. The team isn’t there. Brenda gets to her gun and shoots Stroh. Stroh begs for his life and says he will confess. She tells him she doesn’t want to hear it, and calls 911.  Brenda isn’t going to let herself become a bad person.  What a great arc and dimension the writers and Sedgwick have given Brenda. Pope and Taylor aren’t going to fight for Brenda to keep her job. Raydor  tried. Brenda resigns and takes the job at the D.A. office.  The team got her a new bag (hers was ruined when she shot Stroh) and filled it with ding dongs!   Perfect parting shot Brenda eating a ding dong as the elevator doors close.

I certainly wouldn’t have wanted Brenda to die or leave Fritz.  So a new job makes sense.  And it means she can always come back as a guest star.  Thank you Kyra Sedgwick for one of the most fascinating characters in TV history!

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