THE CLOSER “Off the Hook” Review

THE CLOSER "Off the Hook"

Tonight’s episode of THE CLOSER, “Off the Hook,” was all about the blame game. After the commissioner of the state parole board was murdered while on the phone with Sergeant Gabriel, Chief Pope totally freaked out and started looking for a scapegoat. In an unprecedented move, he took over the case from Brenda, and Operation Swift Justice was born. Despite his interference, Major Crimes solved the case, although Brenda and Pope’s friendship might have been a casualty.

In keeping with the theme of pointing fingers, the murderer turned out to be a woman who blamed Commissioner Ross for her husband’s murder. To me, it would have made more sense for her to blame, you know, the guy who actually killed her husband. Still, it was a nice twist and it was cool to see Major Crimes put everything together while in hiding from Pope.

During Pope’s epic freak out, he displayed an ugly side that I didn’t realize he had. Like Brenda said, “this whole chief selection process has not brought out the best in you.” He lashed out at Detective Verico, overreacted to the murder before he had all the facts, and nearly bungled the investigation by interfering with Brenda’s interview. If this is how he acts when he’s super stressed out, maybe he’s not cut out to be chief of police. Even though I didn’t love Pope tonight, I loved J. K. Simmons, who played him like a man at the end of his rope. This episode just reminded me that he’s a terrific actor.

While Pope was blustering, Brenda remained cool, calm, and collected (despite that horrendous red plaid suit). This really makes me think she would be a good chief of police. Though, like I mentioned above, I don’t know if Brenda and Pope’s relationship will survive the selection process. Between their exchange (Pope: “You think you could do better?” Brenda: “I would be really disappointed if I couldn’t.”) and they way he left her office at the end, I’m sensing they will butt heads again before the end of the season.

A few random observations:
It was funny to see that Pope annoyed Commander Taylor to the point where he teamed up with Brenda. I think those two could actually work well together.

It’s a bummer that Fritz was MIA this week, even in the scenes at their apartment.

Provenza always gets the funniest lines (Pope: “You’re asking where your proctologist is?” Provenza: Yes. I hate it when he surprises me.”).

I think “Off the Hook” was another solid episode of The Closer. The crime this week wasn’t as brilliant as last week’s organ snatching doctor, but we did get to see a new side to Pope, one that I hope we never see again. But I’m a little worried that this new Pope is here to stay. He and Brenda are pitted against each other for this job and it was bound to take a toll on them. If he keeps acting like this, he’ll make it very easy for Brenda to become the next chief of police.

What did you think of this episode of The Closer? Will Pope eventually apologize to Brenda? Do you think stress is the only explanation for his behavior?

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