Recap/Review – The Closer – “Last Rites” – 7/30/12

Brenda and her team investigate the murder of a priest; Clay and Willie Ray return to LA in hopes of receiving better treatment.

Recap:

Father Adams is called upon in the middle of the night to perform last rites by a Dr. Haylin. Arriving at the address provided, Adams finds a note from the doc saying that he had to leave, and the patient, Arnold Basky, is in the bedroom. As Adams approaches the bed, he calls out to Mr. Basky, asking for his confession. When he pulls the covers off, Basky, clearly in better health, chokes and stabs Father Adams right in the collar. He rolls up the body in a rug, and it’s found in an elementary school parking lot.

Jump with me to read more.

Pope is first on the scene along with Major Crimes sans Chief Johnson. Pope’s primary concern is to work with the church, removing the body from the eyes of the children in the school lot, and appeasing the archbishop by allowing an archivist to remove Adams’ belongings from his living quarters before searching it. He must know that this won’t go over well with Brenda, as he tells the detectives to send her complaints his way.

They call Brenda at home; Clay is there, recovering from treatments from his new doctor. Brenda is, appropriately, angered at the prospect of someone removing items that could possibly lead to the killer.

Brenda leaves her father in the care of her mother and Fritz to head to the crime scene but arrives after the archivist, who’s unwilling to hand over Father Adams’ journals. Captain Taylor tries to save Brenda from Pope’s wrath, but he’s too late. Pope asks Brenda to leave, and she refuses. After a condescending remark about her family problems, he barks at her to leave.

Before Chief Johnson was forced off church premises, she obtained the address of Father Adams’ last call from Ms. Wallingham. She sent Gabriel & company to check it out, and upon inspection, they find a mostly empty apartment, save for a closet full of pictures of young girls from the elementary school and a girl’s uniform. The apartment was rented to an Adam Gray…as in Father Adam…

No prints were found on the photos, and the FBI deemed the photos “creepy but not pornographic.”

Now back at the office, Raydor tries to convince Brenda to play nice with Pope for the sake of her career. He’s holding an (unsigned) official complaint because of her very public insubordination over her head until she respects his authority.

Adams’ prints were found on the shutter button of the camera and on a mug but nowhere else in the apartment. And the Dr. Haylin that called for the rites at 2am – he doesn’t exist. Provenza theorizes that the call for last rites was a code for something else; however, olive oil was found soaked into the rug Adams was found in – evidence that he showed up for nothing more.

Lt. Tao enlarges the photos at Brenda’s request, and the building manager is brought in to see if he recognizes Father Adams as the tenant that signed the lease on March 23.

Tao is able to provide approximate timestamps to the photos taken, and in each instance, Adams has a solid alibi.

Mr. Morris, the building manager, doesn’t recognize Adams’ photo but agrees to look at faculty photos and provide a list of all who entered the apartment.

Captains Taylor, Raydor, and Pope conference with Father Calhoun to provide both an apology and a request for Adams’ journal. When Calhoun isn’t as forthcoming as they’d like, that apology turns into a veiled threat to expose the church to further bad press if they’re unable to review the journal. Calhoun quickly concedes and agrees to share the journal for one day, provided it doesn’t leave his side.

The first date they look at is March 23. It doesn’t turn up the expected results, as Adams only transcribes about his travels to San Diego. Gabriel adds to the disappointing revelations: the handwritten journal isn’t a match to the lease provided by the manager, Morris was unable to identify anyone from the school website, and the only prints found on the lease belong to Morris.

Since all roads are leading to Morris, Brenda has the detectives look into his background and has Calhoun search for his name among the many journal entries. Morris was recently injured in a car accident, and his wife went missing eight years ago. She had a condo rented in her name in Cabo San Lucas, with a missing rug. Two empty apartments and missing rugs make for more than an unfortunate coincidence, so Brenda assigns a cop to keep eyes on Morris.

Back at home, but not off the clock, Brenda is beyond happy that Clay is feeling better. And even though Willie Ray would like a quick minute to speak with Brenda, the Chief takes a call from Provenza, updating her on the case. There was no mention of Morris’s name in Adams’ journals, but his sons, David and Michael, are listed in the journals, specifically on the day of Morris’s car accident. Adams performed last rites on a (at-the-time) dying Morris, and he left a message for his sons that the priest failed to write down.

Promising to give Willie Ray that minute in the morning, Brenda leaves home to attend to the case.

Morris’s car was towed 30 miles, found not too far from a large storage facility. When they check the stats on Adams’ car, they see that it was nearly out of gas. Morris probably meant to drive Adams’ car to that location, dump the body, and then drive his car back home, but with the car being so low on gas, he did the next best thing and dumped the body in the school lot.

Filling in the missing pieces, Brenda confronts Morris over Ho’s confession to Father Adams after the crash. As she and Sanchez interrogate him, Provenza and Gabriel find Morris’s storage unit and his “missing” wife. Thinking that the cops are without evidence, Morris admits to nothing and lawyers up.

As agreed, Pope tears up the complaint but offers Brenda some unsolicited advice. He’s afraid that her next boss won’t be as forgiving as he and suggests that she make some attitude adjustments or start looking for a new position.

After that encouraging pep talk, Brenda comes home to find her father making breakfast. She goes in to wake Willie Ray to have their long overdue chat and, very sadly, finds her lifeless body tucked under the covers.
 
Review:

I am completely prepared to cry during the series finale. (I’m a very emotional TV viewer!) But I was not prepared for this. I knew something was wrong: Clay getting better, Willie Ray telling Brenda she’ll miss out on life if she’s rushing off to work all the time, needing to say one, important thing – it was all set up to end that way, and yet, I forgot all about that in that last scene. Between the makeup on Frances Sternhagen and Kyra’s reaction, it was all so overwhelmingly tragic.

There’s this flow to the episodes; we’ve slowly watched everything fall apart in Brenda’s life, professionally and personally.

On a lighter note, I did love the conference scene between the priest, Pope, Raydor, and Taylor. If this is a taste of what Major Crimes will be like, it may ease the loss of Brenda Leigh.

Two episodes left.

– Lindsay

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