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It’s Personal: The Closer “Road Block” 

Photo Credit: TNT

The episodes that resonate with me most are the episodes that hit close to home. I’ve been deeply affected by a handful of shows this year because a situation or scenario reflected something that happened in my life. In tonight’s episode of The Closer, the police commissioner’s wife tried to get out of a hit and run because of who her husband is. She was drunk, fled the scene, and the person she hit ended up dying. That she tried to blame it all on someone else is despicable. That she thought she’d get away with it is deplorable. I have a history of addiction in my family so I know what it’s like to deal with an alcoholic. This episode really touched me. It brought back some unpleasant memories and made this episode incredibly powerful.

Photo Credit: TNT

I knew I was a goner as soon as Flynn got out of the car after the incident and started talking to the victim. We weren’t even two minutes into the show and I was bawling. Those pictures of a young Gracie Gates killed me. But it did make me that much more invested in major crimes finding out who did this and why. I liked that Jim Leonard, who wrote this episode, took a slightly different approach. We usually don’t know who’s guilty so early in the story and we usually don’t get to see them in action trying to cover up their crime. In essence, Brenda Leigh Johnson and the LAPD had to work backwards. Brenda knew immediately that Elizabeth Perkins‘ Gail Meyers was lying but as Chief Pope pointed out more than once, she had to put Gail in the car and had to prove Gail was drunk. I honestly wasn’t sure they were going to be able to do it. I should never have doubted them.

Elizabeth Perkins really made me hate her in this episode. Alcoholism is an epidemic in this country and maybe this episode – in some very small way – will make people reconsider driving after they’ve had too much to drink. I’m sure no one thinks it’ll happen to them. But a lot of people end up dead and in jail because of drinking and driving. I thought Elizabeth Perkins’ performance was great on multiple levels. She played the entitled wife of a powerful man perfectly. She was convincing as the neglectful mom of a worried child. She gave the disease a human face. Well done.

I also like Flynn and Agent Howard’s role in this episode. They’re both recovering alcoholics and this case affected both of them. Flynn had to call his sponsor after he watched Gracie die and Fritz told Brenda he could have been Gail Meyers before he met her. And the fact that Mark Moses‘ commissioner was going to resign because of this incident also made a powerful statement. Maybe it’s too little too late, but I still want to applaud him for taking some responsibility instead of trying to make this go away. Even Chief Pope got in on the action. Seeing him lose his temper with the commissioner was inspired. I loved that even Pope wasn’t about to let this man’s position interfere with their investigation.

The Closer airs Mondays at 9/8c.

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