The Closer The Closer

Is he a good Santa or a bad Santa? Sounds like a case for Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick), and in a very campy Christmas episode of TNT's The Closer (9/8c) — one of many holiday episodes we'll be weighing in on this week — the Santa is question (and under questioning) is played by Fred Willard, so at least you know you'll be entertained. When a fellow Santa is killed during a sabotaged zip-line stunt at the "North Pole Village" run by Willard, he is brought in to the precinct in full costume, drinking and smoking and barfing and raving. This causes great dismay for Christmas-loving Buzz (Phillip P. Keene, resplendent in a reindeer sweater), who's accompanied by his head-turning sister Casey (FlashForward's Christine Woods), an instant favorite among the guys in the precinct, described at one point by a petulant Brenda as looking "like a bunch of diabetics standing in front of a candy store." But the biggest gift of all for me is the return of Mark Pellegrino in his devilishly funny turn as Brenda's outrageous lawyer, who's asking for more money to continue working on her federal lawsuit. If you ask me, he's worth every penny.

The cartoon classic that defines Christmas TV, A Charlie Brown Christmas, returns to ABC (8/7c), and I can already feel myself dancing around the room to that jazzy Vince Guaraldi score. This year, it's paired with the new Prep & Landing cartoon Naughty Vs. Nice (8:30/7:30c), in which elves Lanny and Wayne race to rescue classified North Pole technology from a Naughty Kid hacker.

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