With its unique mix of deduction, humor and drama, THE CLOSER remains one of best shows on television- period. As I’ve stated previously, I am placing most of the credit for the show’s success squarely on the shoulders of actress Kyra Sedgwick, whose portrayal Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson is one of the most vivid and one of the best presently on cable television. The premise of THE CLOSER finds Chief Johnson in charge of the Los Angeles police department’s Priority Murder Division. With a CIA background in interrogation, Brenda Leigh Johnson is as shrewd investigator as they come; not only can she zero in on a murderer, she almost always secures a confession directly from lips of the killer. Despite her professionalism and obvious job skills, Brenda’s always seems to have a problem getting her ducks in a row, when it comes to her personal life.
The cast of THE CLOSER also features J.K. Simmons as Assistant Police Chief Will Pope, who was once romantically involved with Brenda. Corey Reynolds is Sargent David Gabriel, the first member of the Priority Murder Division to come around to Brenda’s side. G.W. Bailey is Detective Lieutenant Provenza, who is slightly cantankerous, decidedly old school and one of the series most amusing characters. Anthony John Denison is Detective Andy Flynn, who, along with Provenza, have gained tremendous respect for Brenda- and not only because she pulled both of their butts out to the fire. Robert Gossett as Commander Taylor, who continues to resent Brenda for getting the position he feels he was due. The remaining members of the Priority Murder Division include Michael Paul Chan as Detective Mike Tao, Raymond Cruz as Detective Sanchez, Gina Ravera as Detective Daniels. Finally, we have Jon Tenney ad Brenda’s fiancé FBI Agent Fritz Howard, who occasionally gets drawn into her investigations. Look for reoccurring appearances by Frances Sternhagen as Brenda’s mother Willie Rae and Barry Corbin as Brenda’s father Clay Johnson.
THE CLOSER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features the following fifteen episodes that were aired during year three: Homewrecker, Grave Doubt, Saving Face, Ruby, The Round File, Dumb Luck, Four To Eight, Manhunt, Blindsided, Culture Shock, Lover's Leap, 'Til Death Do Us Part, Part I, 'Til Death Do Us Part, Part 2, Next Of Kin, Part 1 and Next Of Kin, Part 2. Story arcs that play out over season three include Fritz twisting Brenda’s arm to get them into a house large enough for both of them; Fritz popping the question and Brenda facing a health crisis in her typical fashion- by trying to ignore it.
Warner Home Video has made all fifteen episodes from THE CLOSER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. The episodes are on par with what we saw in season two, thus they look pretty sweet on DVD, which is always better than they did on cable. Image sharpness and detail is just fine for a television production. Colors reproduce at a natural level saturated and the flesh tones are appealing. Blacks are sufficiently deep, whites are crisp and the contrast is better than what one finds with television lighting. The film elements from which the episodes have been transferred are quite clean, displaying few imperfections. A mild grain structure can be noticed here and there, but it never becomes excessive. Digital compression artifacts remain in check..
All of the episodes that constitute THE CLOSER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. The soundtracks are crisp and well defined, but the sound design takes the talky crime drama approach, so much of what we hear is front and center. There are occasional channel separations, but the outlying channels don’t see too much activity beyond ambient sounds and musical fill. Fidelity is good; the music sounds fine and sound effects are reasonably convincing. Dialogue is clean and easy to understand. Portuguese language tracks have been included on the DVD, as have English French, Chinese and Portuguese subtitles.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as a featurette entitled The Art Of Interrogation, Deleted Scenes, which have spread throughout the set and a Gag Reel.
THE CLOSER remains one of the best shows on television. THE CLOSER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON looks and sounds mighty fine on DVD. Definitely recommended.
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