Michael Paul Chan

In my own little world, nothing has meant more to me than family: It is the foundation of my daily life. Properly attended, our immediate kin can be extended by fresh relationships, more marriages and new children; its growth nurtured by the best instincts of the human heart.

So when an organism like a family splits apart, it can provoke a nuclear reaction, a shattering force every bit as powerful as the one that held it together.

Lt. Michael Tao's 16-year-old son, Kevin, who has taken on the title of Day Camp Counselor as part of his summer vacation from high school, encounters an arguing divorced couple, one of whom seems to have misplaced their boy. This soul-rattling fear - that one unsupervised moment in a young child's life can lead to irreversible tragedy — gives the next episode of The Closer a primal jolt; it also offers a glimpse into the private life of Lt. Tao, whose teenage son, Kevin, travels with him through most of an incredibly dark journey, every step of which leads us nearer to the solution of a heinous crime.

Many people might be aghast that Tao allows his son to observe the inner workings of a murder, but the children of police officers are often exposed to the darker side of life at an earlier age. Indeed, many detectives make sure their kids know that human nature also includes violence, ignorance, greed and even worse horrors. To say that Tao's wife has different ideas from her husband only serves to dramatize our theme. Some family's can argue, and grow closer; others are destroyed by their conflicts, leaving themselves prey to dangers they cannot even fathom.

The theme of improper supervision of a family also asserts itself in the pending lawsuit against Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, who finds herself struggling against the relatives of Turell Baylor, the suspect she released last year from LAPD custody (in front of his house, which might have been surrounded by gang members). What actually happened to Mr. Baylor after Brenda drove away and left him alone? It's up to Captain Sharon Raydor to explain.

Losing control of a child, a case, a suspect, a family can lead to terrible consequences. Several people end up facing these relatable fears as we discover, once again, even in the best of circumstances, our lives are never fully "Under Control."

Some families don't require as much supervision as others. The diverse group of people who gather seventy hours every work week to manufacture The Closer are a case in point. Our crew, whose goal it is to make every episode of our show look like a little feature film, is made up of so many disparate individuals that the very concept of blending them together into one indivisible team would seem impossible. Every political opinion, every religion, every age group, every gender, every race, every sexual identity, every associated union and guild regularly join together in a mutually supportive effort, allowing each person on the squad to play at the very top of their game. We accomplish a lot through the practice of mutual respect.

Respect, of course, comes easier when one recognizes that all the human beings with whom one lives and works are members of the same family. We are, after all, much, much more alike than we are different, and my constant appreciation to The Closer crew for demonstrating this scientific fact on a daily basis knows no bounds. Thanks to the strength of their collective vision, every week we deliver the best we can do to our much-appreciated family of viewers.

Until next week - James Duff