The Closer The Closer

The Closer is ruthlessly apolitical. The writers have opinions on national affairs, of course, but we don't think our little show is a place to air them. I mention this as preamble to one of the very best episodes we've ever produced because, between the time "Help Wanted" was written and shot, and it's date-of-air, the state of Arizona passed a new law dealing with the hot button issue of illegal immigration. And many people who watch the show might suppose we are commenting — one way or another — on this deeply problematic issue. We are not; we wouldn't even try.

Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson hates politics, principally because it generally has a negative impact on her work. She never proposes solutions to policy problems, choosing to focus on the less relative issue of murder, which to her (and to me) always seems wrong.

But since some of our victims in this episode turn out to be illegal immigrants, I think it's important to note that violent crimes against undocumented workers and their families pose special problems for local law enforcement; Brenda and her division bump against many of these obstacles as they try to find a serial rapist preying on the vulnerable nannies of L.A.'s upper classes. And there's nothing political about pointing out that families of great wealth sometimes employ many of the people who cross our borders looking for work: these circumstances are true no matter what one's political opinions on the issue of illegal immigration might be.

Now for the theme.

Sexual assault, a particularly heinous form of battery, has often been described as a crime of opportunity. Most illegal workers in this country are here searching for some kind of opportunity themselves. And the race for the LAPD's next Chief-of-Police, and Pope's open hunger for the job, gives Capt. Sharon Raydor of Force Investigation Division yet another opportunity to interfere and question Major Crimes. Mary McDonnell returns to annoy Brenda once again, and leave her with a huge, problematic surprise in the last few seconds of a taunt and disturbing story. The attraction to opportunity makes for a hauntingly disturbing premise for our second episode of Year Six.

Nelson McCormack directed Steven Kane's script with feverish energy, making the most of our stunning ensemble and a terrific guest cast that, in addition to Mary McDonnell, features D.W. Moffett, most recently of Friday Night Lights, and Titus Welliver, fresh from Lost and The Good Wife. No help wanted, though, in spoiling the outcome of the battle Brenda goes through in finding the solution to her murder.

The problems associated with illegal immigration (in what is often called The Land of Opportunity) are a kind of mystery, too, I suppose, but one to be solved by smarter folk than we.

James Duff