A Love Letter to the Small-Screen LAPD


This week, the New York Times published an article in the ever-awesome Health & Science section analyzing consumer behaviors, asserting that “interrupting an experience, whether dreary or pleasant, can make it significantly more intense.” One example cited by writer Benedict Carey is an NYU study comparing audience satisfaction when watching classic television — Taxi and Happy Days — with or without commercial breaks. Surprisingly, the test subjects liked Taxi better when it was broadcast with its original advertisements chopping up the program.

This lady begs to differ. Granted, we may not be the target audience for network television: we don’t have cable, don’t hear about “new” shows until months or years after they begin, and, ahem, usually watch them on the Internet. But it is always worth the wait. Imagine the especially huge payoff when a random show ( The Closer ) on a random network (TNT) with a random-er cast (Kyra “One Degree from Kevin Bacon” Sedgwick) is so pants-off charming that you manage to watch four entire seasons in less than a month? Interruption free for maximum pleasure, of course.

So what makes The Closer so gosh-darn special? Read on for our juicy love letter after the jump.

Dear Priority Homicide Division of the LAPD,

So, you’ve made it through four entirely entertaining seasons and we won’t see you again until the summer. In our painful and lovelorn state we wanted to outline a few of the reasons we heart you so. This is more than just a crush.

1. Kyra Sedgwick Your Southern accent is as fake as can be, but you’re so convincing as the proper-but-tough Deputy Chief Johnson that we’ve managed to forget that you were once Julia Roberts’s sister. We’ve also heard you ride the M14 bus like regular folk, so we like you, we really really like you.

2. Brenda Leigh Johnson Your character… She is a royal pain in the ass. She wears mauve lipstick. She wears jackets you might find in a Decatur thrift shop. She calls her hunky fiance “Fritzy.” She can’t remember her cat’s gender. She’s addicted to Ho-hos. She carries an enormous purse. She fibs. Basically, Brenda Leigh is Everywoman without the hackneyed female self-loathing.

What did we say about the lipstick?

3. The Squad From the Laurel and Hardy rapport between the grizzled veterans Flynn and Provenza to the bad cop routine of Detective Sanchez to the political aspirations of the noble Sergeant Gabriel, Priority Homicide is crack team of investigators. Our favorite is Lieutenant Tao, who hacks into cell phones, over explains everything, and has a constant, knowing twinkle in his eye.

4. Directing No cameras wooshing down a mocked-up artery to trace cyanide or other silly animations meant to explain “forensics.” Just the facts, ma’am.

5. Story arcs A finely-tuned balance between gritty, gang-influenced crimes and the rich people living in the ‘burbs. When the series gets too intense (the reformed city councilman confessing to the murder of his own brother 15 years after the fact, that was tough!), the writers bring us back to something lighthearted (embezzlement, robbery, jealous husband, the usual).

6. Web site (!) So maybe we love the Internet. And maybe we just found a little something TNT likes to call “Brenda’s Corner,” where fellow dorks can find recipes for pecan pie and fried green tomatoes. Between the comfort food and audio clips of Brenda’s favorite phrases, maybe we can last until June for new episodes.