"The Closer" Standards and Practices (TV Episode 2005) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Captain Taylor makes his move against Brenda, meaning she must juggle concerns of an I.A. investigation with solving the murder of a famous producer.

  • Brenda and the team investigate the death of high profile Hollywood producer Dick Pruitt, a man found floating in his hot tub, seemingly alone. The autopsy reveals he was quite drunk, his expensive toupee pulled off, perhaps indicating a struggle, and the presence of a wet robe suggests to Brenda it may have been used to restrain the dead man and hold him under water. His wife had left with their 3-year-old a few days before and there are signs that he may have been physical with her; however, her parents provide her with an airtight alibi. Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Pope has to look into allegations of professional misconduct on Brenda's part when the department receives anonymous allegations about her relationship with the DA's office and the FBI. Captain Taylor has obviously had a hand in all of this and Pope makes it quite clear to him that any attempt at collusion will result in Taylor being investigated. Fritz suggests to Brenda that they move in together.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Priority Homicide is called to a Hollywood home where a naked man is draped over the edge of an outdoor poolside hot tub, face down, bottom torso in the water. Loud music is playing, a liquor bottle is present, a wet robe is in a nearby chair and Lieutenant Provenza is giving orders to his fellow officers in his best Chief Johnson exaggerated southern voice. The orders include SID be called to the scene, secure a background check on the victim, identify any fingerprints on the bottle, summon neighbor calling into police and get an estimated time of death. As he is issuing his directives, Brenda congratulates him on his choice of excellent ideas.

    Detective Sanchez informs the Chief the victim's name is Dick Pruitt, Hollywood producer, found alone in his present state. Detective Daniels brings the neighbor over to talk, Pruitt's wife and son moved out yesterday according to Daniels. Lieutenant Tao assesses the use of alcohol in the hot tub, giving the tequila to SID, Brenda picks up the wet robe, smelling like chlorine. Brenda begins her directions for the officers, find the spouse, I would like to talk with her, I'm surprised she is not around, identify any prints from the cd player, Lieutenant Flynn is requested to do the honors at the morgue and Lt. Provenza to get the hair piece to SID.

    Pope hands Captain Taylor an internal anonymous complaint issued regarding Chief Johnson's working with the District Attorney's office and the FBI. Taylor feigns surprise at the complaint declaring how serious the document could be while Pope wishes it be made to disappear. Pope informs the Captain if there is any complicity in the charges being brought to IA then Captain Taylor could be brought forward to IA, also; assuming he had a hand in the complaint. Pope advises the Captain he will be acting on the complaint straight-away.

    The murder room meeting yields information on Dick Pruitt's arrest record including DUI's and a wife refusing to press charges after being assaulted by him, the autopsy report from Lt. Flynn found water in the lungs, he did not cook, he drowned, with a BAC of 0.16. Detective Daniels announces the toupee evidences there might have been a struggle, for it was expensive and was not easily removed. The water saturation indicates he was in the hot tub for at least three hours. Brenda needs the finger prints on the cd player be secured, the know-it-all neighbor will be visited again and I plan on seeing the spouse at her parent's residence, her father is a concert pianist, according to Det. Sanchez.

    Brenda summons Gabriel to accompany her, but beforehand, meets Pope at the elevator asking when he was going to tell her about the anonymous complaint. Pope says he never planned on telling her, he was trying to make it simply go away, as it reflects badly on him as well. Brenda looks at him, iterating conduct unbecoming. Pope summarizes, it is in my hands, go solve your case. He gets on the elevator while Sgt. Gabriel stands off, but within earshot.

    Brenda sits at the dining table with Pruitt's wife, Amelia Pruitt, her mother, Delia Lopez, her father Alonzo Lopez, guest Dennis Burke and Sgt. Gabriel. Amelia is at her parent's home since she left her house days ago, Dennis Burke, Alonzo's master student, claims they were all dining when the incident happened with Mr. Pruitt. Amelia doesn't know what the argument with her husband the other night was about, as Brenda questions her, seeing the bruising around her neck and wrists. The Lopez's wish to be alone after this initial questioning. Brenda excuses herself and Sgt. Gabriel, they exit the house, in the driveway, Brenda mentions murderers need air-tight alibis, while Gabriel seems to think Amelia has one.

    Deputy D.A. Powell and FBI Agent Jackson are in Pope's office discussing Chief Johnson's competency versus her dismissive attitude. If IA were to contact you regarding Chief Johnson, Pope enquires, your concerns her intra-agency relations are considered bad. Pope proposes a meeting with the two individuals and Captain Taylor, since he is the anonymous source.

    Sandy DeCourt, Dick Pruitt's agent, is there to be interviewed by Brenda, per Lt. Flynn. Sandy is very open about her client's behavior, saying he played around, and she would have killed him too, if she was in love with him, but she wasn't. She got dismissed by him recently, no specific reason, so she could be a suspect. While she is talking to Brenda about her former boss, Gabriel is in the media room inquiring about the IA complaint which everyone knows was Taylor's doing. Sandy says Amelia did it, she says I know she did it.

    Back in the murder room Provenza and Sanchez cannot believe Amelia could have killed Pruitt, hold him under water until drowning. Daniels wants to show Sanchez how she could do it while the other officers observe. Daniels is behind Sanchez with his feet below him, in a sitting position, he is able to stand with her on his back, but Daniels proves it with Sanchez's feet up, level on a chair; he cannot stand up. Amelia possibly could have accomplished the task with him relaxing with his feet elevated in the tub. Pruitt's feet show marks on them as Brenda held up a photo, indicating he struggled causing the abrasions on his heels. Flynn takes a call from the neighbor. Brenda says she will go visit him at his home. Where is Sgt. Gabriel? Provenza volunteers to go with Brenda.

    Gabriel is in Taylor's office declaring he would tell IA the charges against his boss are small-mined, petty and malicious; he is ashamed of whoever may have filed them. The charges further make him sick to his stomach and you will excuse me Captain, I am investigating a murder. Taylor tried to play the role of the aggressor, but Gabriel leaves him speechless as the Sergeant exits.

    Pruitt's neighbor, Mr. Mitchell, says the argument he heard was with the girlfriend, overhearing how she worked on the recent project, how she was too expensive for what she did, identifying her DMV picture Provenza shows him. Mr. Mitchell identified her car as well, saying that was her in the picture. Mitchell also said the gardener was present that evening, he saw the truck. Interviewing the gardeners proved neither could understand English, likely eliminating them when they chose to invoke counsel. Sanchez asked them questions in Spanish evidently eliminating them as suspects.

    Pope meets Brenda in her office informing her of the planned meeting in his office. She will be there as scheduled, after listening to all his scenarios. Essentially she is expected to apologize to all three, promising to do better, where IA will turn to Taylor exposing his accusation as frivolous.

    Chief Johnson and Sergeant Gabriel have been waiting in the Lopez residence for twenty minutes, Brenda enters the den where Dennis Burke is playing the piano. He replays the works he just completed by touching the control on a recording device attached just below the keyboard. Brenda and Gabriel witness the device and hear firsthand what it is capable of doing. Dennis uses the piano when he cannot secure a practice piano at school. He speaks very highly of the family and reflects on exactly where everybody was in the house the evening of the murder. Alonzo retired to the piano room to practice for an upcoming concert, Delia Lopez took her husband in a plate of food leaving Dennis to be with Amelia. Amelia was not in the mood to chat, going upstairs to her room. They continue to probe where everybody was with Dennis answering questions, when Delia enters vouching for her daughter being up in her room. Delia summarily dismisses Brenda and Gabriel threatening harassment charges. Brenda mentions you will have to take a number and she leaves with the Sergeant. At the car, Brenda comments the subway would have allowed sufficient time to commit the murder and attend the concert.

    Lt. Tao goes over the train schedules while referring to a map. Lt. Flynn describes the unlikelihood of backtracking from the trains to the Pruitt house. Provenza brings up the truck reported parked near the Pruitt's; college students drive such trucks. Lt. Tao mentions the cd player did not have any prints on it, it was wiped clean, maybe it was brought to the scene. Brenda invites Tao secure the footage of the security cameras of the subways around the time before the murder and after. Let's look for such a truck parked in one of our subway stations and include the impound lots. Brenda has Provenza and Flynn retrace the train travel routes including a car-drive to the Pruitt house.

    Brenda takes time to clearly state how she will attend the meeting tomorrow regarding the complaint about her and she has enjoyed working all the people in the room. Interrogating people, getting to the truth and knowing the right thing to do politically are two very different things. In fact, to do either of them very well, you pretty much have to ignore the other. Brenda interjects that she might not be here tomorrow after the meeting, and she compliments every one of the officers how great it has been working with them. She leaves for the evening. Provenza says the smart move is to not get involved until the dust settles. Flynn fires back, that is the smart move, what is your idea? Provenza grins.

    Brenda is likely thinking of the long day ahead while sitting at her desk when Lieutenant Tao enters with pictures from the surveillance cameras, there was a truck found in the impound lot taken from a subway station lot and a cap found in the truck matching that worn by the subject in the pictures. Thank you Lieutenant Tao, have Sgt. Gabriel meet me outside of Pope's office, I am going to have to speed out of here like the wind. Tao comments we are pulling for you Chief. Thank you Lieutenant, that means a lot.

    Brenda enters Pope's office, Chief Pope, I want to thank you for arranging this meeting. Brenda to Deputy D.A. Powell, I would like to start with you Miss Powell. I'd like to say how sorry I am, that I was unable to ignore your general level of incompetence in the wrongly obtained conviction in the case of Bill Croelick and I am sorry if you felt hurt and defensive about putting a man on death row for the wrong crime. I certainly hope that will never ever, ever happen again. Brenda turns to FBI Agent Jackson. Agent Jackson, I deeply regret that the FBI handed over two million dollars to a man on the terrorist watch list without the capacity to trace it or manage to follow him for months without knowing his wife was having an affair with her doctor; and, I hope you do much better in the future. Brenda to Captain Taylor, Captain Taylor, I suppose I should apologize to you for not having been born in Los Angeles, but having seen your work up close now for several months, I can honestly say that, try as I might, I can't think of any fair and reasonable system on earth where I wouldn't outrank you. I hope that clears everything up. Thank you very much. Pope smiles discretely, well, she did say she was sorry. Brenda leaves Pope's office.

    Chief Johnson is at the Lopez residence, Amelia answers the door, Brenda orders her to stand aside or Sgt. Gabriel will escort you downtown. Gabriel puts Dennis Burke in his place, with I suggest you step aside. Brenda moves to the studio, blocked by Delia Lopez. After asking her who she was with when her son-in-law was drowned in his hot tub, Brenda exclaims exactly no one, looking to Sgt. Gabriel, arrest Delia Lopez for the murder of Richard Pruitt. Stay inside Mr. Lopez, I need you to make a choice who you're protecting with this alibi of yours. Brenda and Alonzo step inside the studio, Brenda closes the door, he says my daughter is a victim herself, can't you see that? My wife is not a murderer.

    Brenda gets the truth from Alonzo. I know she was here, referencing his daughter, but where were you? Pictures blown up to show him getting on the subway near his house, wearing the cap found in the truck, he is pictured getting off the train at Western and Hollywood, pictured coming home from his son-in-law's house, his clothes damp from drowning Richard Pruitt and finally a pic coming home as fast as you can, riding the escalator at the subway station. Brenda dumps the cap from an envelope, stating here is the cap you bought from a used-car dealer off Melrose. Alonzo picks the first photo claiming it is not me, I was here playing the whole time. Brenda begs to differ, pushing the play button on the recorder attached to the piano, music playing. Brenda directs you didn't keep Dennis around here for Amelia, you kept him around for yourself. Dennis was stalled at the dinner table so he could say he heard you playing in the next room. Your wife came in with a plate of food, restarted your program while you were gone, making Delia an accessory to murder. Brenda's phone shows Pope is calling, she reads Alonzo his rights declaring he is under arrest for the murder of Dick Pruitt. Brenda prompts him if he would waive those rights, leaving his wife free of involvement, leaving her surprised he was not in the room when she bought the food into him. Alonzo consents, he says yes to waiving his rights, so his wife could visit him in prison. I do waive my right to an attorney, my wife and daughter are not involved. I murdered that filth who beat my daughter. I protected my family like animals are allowed to do, as I have the right to do.

    Pope is speaking from his office directly to Taylor, it doesn't make any difference what Jackson and Powell said; there's a limit to what the Chief cares about that. Taylor thinks he is not alone on looking at all grievances, but Pope reaches into to his briefcase with proof to the contrary. In it are transfer-request-papers from all officers in Priority Homicide declaring they want out of the division if Chief Johnson is put somewhere else or worse. Now if some one wants to be responsible for getting rid of some of the finest officers picked for Priority Homicide in the first place, I guess I can't stop them. If the Chief decides this was a colossal waste of our time and resources, there will be serious repercussions. If, on the other hand, this complaint was to suddenly disappear, low I am to suggest it, there is a promotion available. Taylor finally looks toward Pope, saying Commander Scotts position. Pope adds, one rank below Deputy Chief, any chance you might be interested? Captain Taylor perks up, grinning.

    Sgt. Gabriel is clearing the murder board with Lt. Tao, Buzz is nearby, Pope is in Brenda's office handing her the transfers, obviously not to be honored as she remains in her position. Brenda exits her office, grabs the wastebasket, walks in front of the murder board, so, we have a summation of a case to write. She begins assigning tasks to the officers. She calls their names from the papers before discarding them, one by one, in the wastebasket. Pope passes by noticing all is back to plan in the murder room.

    Brenda finishes by saying if you want, Chief Pope tells me at the conclusion of a successful case you all gather at O'Malley's to celebrate, so if you would like, I want to buy you all drinks; everybody agrees. Brenda retires to her office, shuts the blinds and enjoys a chocolate treat.

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