The Closer – Season Seven
The last season of The Closer ended (big surprise) with serious issues hanging in the balance for Deputy Chief Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick). Johnson had been slapped with several lawsuits as quite a few suspects had died while in, or right after leaving, her custody. Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) was also supposed to be investigating a leak in the department. The first episode of the new season opens with a dramatic crime scene. Captain Raydor charges in, asking lots of questions, taking notes and taking control of the situation. The crime itself is the shooting of a high school principal driving his car. It is soon established that there was a similar shooting on a car of the same make, in the same spot, with the same type of weapon. Suspicious?!
The wife of the principal told the LAPD investigators that she had pleaded with her husband to stop switching jobs – he took jobs at inner-city schools and tried to make them better. The team finds a break when the wife tells them that her husband recorded many of his conversations with other members of the faculty, troublesome students and students' parents. When the team listens to the recorded conversations, they found that the last conversation the principal had was a very heated one with the high school coach. The goal of the principal seemed wholly noble – he tried to make the school and its students better by raising their academic scores. He wanted to make changes for the athletes – that as long as they maintained a C average, they could continue to play on the athletic teams.
Though this goal was positive and not too hard to adhere to, the coach accused the principal in their conversation of not truly caring about the students, since he wasn't concerned whether less academically-inclined students left the school – which would lead to the average of the grades going up. The coach is then made the LAPD's prime suspect and is brought in for questioning. He insists he's innocent, but Deputy Chief Johnson is convinced of his guilt from the get-go. She just wants more proof before she can crack down on him and elicit a confession.
Meanwhile, Captain Raydor meets with the Assistant Chief and tells him she wants to quit, as she feels unwanted by the Homicide Division. He begs her to stay on, and even offers to make her commander if she does. She says she'll stay a bit longer, but she has another enticing job offer and she wants to leave soon.
The police department obtains a search warrant and barges into the coach's house, looking for the murder weapon. They don't find any weapons, but they do find three students who have been living with the coach. They immediately assume the worst, that the coach preys on these 'throwaway' teens, whose parents were either thrown in jail, too busy and neglectful. They thought that he gave them a place to live and also abused them.
While this show has glorified and showcased Chief Johnson in all of her pro-interrogating, ball-busting glory, this episode showed that her process is truly not infallible and she does make mistakes. Her strength has been her ability to read people, but in this episode, and especially in this case, she's shown that she can be so off – and in a very unfortunate and sensitive situation. She seems to assume the worst. The truth is there are horrific and sad circumstances for youth from the inner-city and lower-income families. Parents can be very busy trying to make ends meet, or they just don't care and they neglect their children.
The truth of the crime turns out to be ironic and tragic showing Johnson making a grave error in judgment. This season is to be the last, with Mary McDonnell stepping up to be the lead of a spinoff. The Closer had Chief Johnson front and center, and though she was never portrayed as being a flawless chief, the continuation of the tearing down of the show's hero indicates that indeed, the end is near.