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In the series finale, Lt. Tao is stuck in a room with a potential bomb. Provenza finally identifies the real Ms. Bechtal, and Major Crimes comes face-to-face for the very last time with Phillip Stroh.

The Victim[]

Stroh's Current Victims[]

  • Emma Rios, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and the prosecutor in the Phillip Stroh case. Drowned in her pool by Stroh even though she had bodyguards from the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation. Received false information from Dylan posing as an Interpol agent that Stroh has terminal cancer. Determined to have been murdered in order to lead the police to the fake file on Stroh's cancer.
  • Jim Bechtal, Phillip Stroh's former stepfather. Stabbed five times in the abdomen by Stroh in his search for his mother, Gwendolyn Stroh. Owner of the yacht Ms. Bechtel, Stroh's escape plan.
  • Doctor Daniel Perez, Hunt Sanford's therapist. Murdered by Stroh to get to Hunt.
  • Hunt Sanford, Stroh's "almost stepbrother." Murdered by Stroh after he apparently got his mother's money from Hunt.
  • Ella Stewart, Dylan Baxter's girlfriend. Hung by Stroh to threaten Dylan into complying. Rescued by Major Crimes before she could die.
  • Tammy Bechtal, Stroh's stepsister. Found murdered in her home by Buzz Watson to gain access to her father's yacht.

Stroh's Victims after his escape[]

  • Gary Roberts, an Uber driver. Murdered by Stroh and his body dumped in the Salton Sea.
  • Unnamed bank employee in Cyprus, managed Stroh's joint account with his mother. Murdered by Stroh after the account was closed by Hunt Sanford.

Stroh's Victims after his return to the U.S.[]

  • Gordon Ducrest, Phillip Stroh's sixth-grade science teacher. Found electrocuted on the side of his house about a year ago. Cared for his wife who had Alzheimer's', kids never heard of Stroh. Revealed to have been burned by Stroh as a child with sulfuric acid; paid off by Gwendolyn Stroh.
  • Lynn Porter, Phillip Stroh's former high school girlfriend. Former lifeguard from Ohio who drowned in her own pool. Parents state that Lynn and Stroh broke up when they were sixteen but they don't remember much about Stroh aside from him being "odd".
  • Clyde Fowler, Phillip Stroh's former law school professor from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Supposedly shot himself a month after Lynn's death despite showing no signs of depression and leaving no note. His sister has never heard of Stroh and according to her, Clyde used to travel two or three times a year to Europe but quit about a year before stating that he couldn't afford it anymore. Presumably paid off by Gwendolyn Stroh.
  • Elizabeth Dunn, Lived in Colorado and died in a car accident. Used to go on trips to Europe over a winter break with her children until a year before. Like Clyde Fowler, claimed financial reasons for stopping her trips. Identified by Rusty Beck as the sister of Mary Wellington, Stroh's first victim. Paid off by Gwendolyn Stroh to stop searching for Mary.
  • Carolyn Sayles, Phillip Stroh's first step-mother. Fell off a hiking trail in Arizona.

Stroh's Early Victims[]

  • Mary Wellington, disappeared in Chagrin Falls, Ohio in 1985 and was never found. According to Gwendolyn Stroh, was murdered and possibly raped by Phillip Stroh. Suspected to be Stroh's first victim. Her body was buried in the foundations of a house by Gwendolyn and Phillip. Her body located by the Chagrin Falls Police Department due to information obtained from Gwendolyn Stroh. Sister of Elizabeth Dunn one of Stroh's current victims.
  • Emily West, went missing in August of 1992 and never found. Claimed by Gwendolyn Stroh to be one of Phillip Stroh's victims while he was in law school. One of Stroh's law school professors was "very suspicious" of Stroh's role in her disappearance, presumably Clyde Fowler.
  • Donna Anderson, went missing in November of 1992 and never found. Claimed by Gwendolyn Stroh to be one of Phillip Stroh's victims while he was in law school. One of Stroh's law school professors was "very suspicious" of Stroh's role in her disappearance, presumably Clyde Fowler.

The Suspects[]

  • Phillip Stroh, serial killer and serial rapist who escaped prison three years before. After his mother's money he lost access to when Hunt Sanford closed the account he was using. Killed by Rusty Beck during a standoff with Lieutenant Provenza who took credit for the shooting to protect Rusty.
  • Dylan Baxter, Stroh's accomplice and an expert hacker. Stroh helped him escape statutory rape charges in Cyprus. Infected the phones of Major Crimes' detectives at the crime scene (except Lt. Provenza's), gaining access to their microphones and cameras, allowing Stroh to spy on them. Managed to also hack into the Major Crimes' murder room's display systems and its cameras as well as all info displayed on them. He is also spying on his "girlfriend", Ella, a possibly under aged prostitute/escort who he is trying to pressure into leaving with him after Stroh pays him for his help. Has no fingerprints in the LAPD database or FBI database. According to his Interpol record, Dylan is 24, British, studied computer science at Trinity College Cambridge before being expelled in his sophomore year for hacking into the webcams of coeds, no charges filed. Has an appetite for "computer equipment he ought not to have." Discovered when Dylan was arrested two years ago in Cyprus for using credit cards swiped off tourists cell phones. Arrested in the company of a fifteen year old girl he was having an affair with. Charges were dropped, Dylan's fingerprints disappeared and Dylan himself vanished, bribery suspected to be involved. Has a rich family that apparently disowned him after Dylan's peeping-tom incident. Had Hunt Sanford transfer Gwendolyn Stroh's money to his own BitCoin wallet instead of Stroh's, presumably wanting all of the $15 million to himself and his "girlfriend" Ella Stewart. Caught by Stroh and forced to transfer the money into Stroh's own account. Killed by Lieutenant Michael Tao in self defense.


Closing the Case[]

Guest Cast[]



Episode Notes[]

  • Ending speech by Lieutenant Provenza:
    • "We've been tested recently in ways great and small. But we're working through our grief by putting the people that depend on us first. No matter what happens, Major Crimes won't quit until we find the bad guys. And that's how we'll keep doing things here. This team: Flynn, Tao, Buzz, Morales, Sykes, Nolan, Hobbs, Cami, Fritz and Chief Mason. Oh and I'll... I'll include you since you're standing right here. We are part of the greatest police department in America. And with the people standing here... I could go on doing this job... forever."
  • At the end of the episode, everyone stares into Sharon Raydor's office where a vase of flowers sit, a presumed final tribute to the character who died in “Conspiracy Theory, Part 4”.
  • Brenda Leigh Johnson, the original head of Major Crimes and the original protagonist of The Closer is briefly mentioned as having a hard time processing the news that Phillip Stroh, her greatest nemesis, is dead.
  • Several of the folders sent by Dylan Baxter are marked untitled but the ones that can seen that have titles include Social Security Office, Bank Accounts, Identities, Communications, Major Crimes Squad, Supplies, Expenses, Business, Travel, Miscellaneous, Gordon Ducrest, Emma Rios, Carolyn Sayles, Elizabeth Dunn, Mary Wellington and Rusty Beck. The original folder that appears on the electronic murder board is entitled Happy Christmas or Happy New Year. Dylan himself states that files contain information on Stroh's more recent crimes, how he and Dylan met, why they are in Los Angeles and where they intend to go.
  • The information that is received on Stroh's flight plans from Dylan is marked Preferred Skies. This was also used by Molly Pace in “Four of a Kind” when she planned to flee the country following the murders committed by Noah Willis.
  • Like all of Stroh's other accomplices on both The Closer and Major Crimes, he ultimately betrays Dylan Baxter. Like Wade Weller, Dylan is shot to death by a Major Crimes detective. Weller was shot by Louie Provenza; Baxter was killed by Michael Tao.
  • In a deleted scene for the episode, its revealed that Provenza's story, backed up by Buzz, was that he'd borrowed Rusty's gun for better firepower and that he shot Stroh so much when Stroh wouldn't release his weapon. Provenza is also implied to have waited some time before calling in Stroh's death, presumably to stage the scene. Julio Sanchez is obviously skeptical of the story and as in the episode, implied to suspect Rusty as the actual killer given the number of times Stroh was shot. Amy Sykes and Buzz are shown not to be sure of what to think.
    • The deleted scene also confirms that Rusty has gotten his concealed carry permit which has been implied but not explicitly stated in the show.
  • Though an exact date is never given for the events of the "By Any Means" arc, when Dylan opens the fake tipline folder, the dates December 21st and December 22nd are visible as to when some of the tips came in. Based on this, the date is likely December 22, 2017 during the episode. Additionally, when Stroh and Dylan looked at Hunt Sanford's schedule in “By Any Means, Part 3”, the month of December was at the top of the page and it was the month Stroh looked into to find a time when Hunt would be vulnerable.
  • When the news report mentions Phillip Stroh's escape, it puts the events of “Special Master Part One” and “Special Master Part Two” as "almost three years ago."

Wes Nolan[]

  • Wes' assignment is revealed to be testing Rusty and Gus' security detail. Wes is successfully able to penetrate the detail, proving that Sharon's condo is not safe.

Julio Sanchez[]

  • With Mark Jarvis at his side, Julio takes the promotion to Lieutenant and the transfer to the Criminal Intelligence Division at the end of the series, expressing his gratitude for what Major Crimes has given him and how much he will miss it.

Rusty and Gus[]

  • Following Stroh's death, Rusty asks for Gus to stay with him for the night and Gus promises to stay forever if Rusty wants. Rusty takes Gus' hand, appearing to resume their relationship.

Rusty Beck[]

  • Following Stroh's death, Rusty reveals that once he graduates law school, he intends to join the DA's office as a prosecutor for five years sending criminals away instead of getting into family law as he originally intended. This is stated to be part of a deal Provenza negotiated with Rusty.
  • Though Provenza covered up Rusty's role in Stroh's death, both Fritz Howard and Julio Sanchez appear to know what he did. Fritz reassures Rusty that Stroh's death was justified while Julio encourages him to keep seeing Doctor Joe as Rusty will need it.

Buzz Watson[]

  • After reinstating Buzz to Reserve Detective to help take down Stroh, Provenza arranges for Buzz to attend the police academy for the next eighteen weeks. When Buzz returns, he will be a probationary detective and a full official member of the Major Crimes team instead of their Civilian Surveillance Coordinator and occasional Reserve Officer/Reserve Detective.


  • Buzz getting the chance to become an actual detective is the fulfillment of a dream he had as stated to Rusty Beck in “Risk Assessment”. At that time, Buzz had told Rusty that he'd wanted to become a detective and solve his father and uncle's murders but changed his mind so as to not risk his mother losing him too.
  • Provenza jokes that he got Buzz into the police academy just so that he wouldn't have to listen to Buzz quote his Reserve Detective courses anymore. This is a reference to the running gag throughout the later seasons of Major Crimes where Buzz would often quote his classes when offering up an idea, something that generally annoyed Provenza greatly.

Episode Media[]

Deleted Scenes[]