Title The Closer (Pilot)
Series The Closer
Season 1
Episode 1
Airdate June 13, 2005
Viewers 7.03 million
Written by James Duff
Directed by Michael M. Robin
Guests John Rubenstein
Alison Smith
Clyde Kutatsu
Previous episode
Next episode About Face
Episode list Season 1
As hard as a secret is to uncover, it's even harder to keep.

— Deputy Chief Johnson

Series Premiere. Brenda Leigh Johnson, recently employed by the LAPD to head a new high-profile crime unit, investigates the brutal murder of a woman in the home of a computer genius while trying to gain acceptance from her team members.

The VictimEdit

  • Alana Devon, AIDS awareness activist and fugitive murderer

The SuspectsEdit

  • Dr. Elliot Collier, computer scientist
  • Ellen Parks, the victim's secretary


Closing the CaseEdit

Brenda's StoryEdit

Guest CastEdit

  • Allison Smith (Ellen Radcliffe Parks): Dr. Collier's secretary, a very religious woman.
  • John Rubenstein (Dr. Harlan Brown): Dr. Collier's business partner
  • Clyde Kusatsu (Dr. Tanaka): The medical examiner
  • John Livingston (Detective Garth): A detective from the Priority Murder Squad
  • Julius Tennon (Detective Waters): A detective from Robbery Homicide

This episode features two detectives, Garth (John Livingston), and Waters (Julius Tennon) who did not continue to the main series. In addition, this episode is Clyde Kutatsu's only appearance as Dr. Tanaka, the medical examiner.


Episode NotesEdit

  • Throughout the episode, Brenda faces resistance from the squad in large part because she is an ousider. The LAPD's upper ranks are largely staffed by promotions from within, and the force remains strongly resistant to leadership drawn from outside, a tone set in large part by former Chief Daryl Gates.
  • Parker Center, where Brenda's Priority Murder Squad is based, is the
    former real-life headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department, located on Los Angeles Street. Originally called the Police Administration Building, it was renamed for former Chief of Police William H. Parker, who died of a heart attack while still in office in 1966. Completed in 1955, the building is considered outdated for a major urban police force, and construction recently began on a newer, more modern facility.
  • Although Brenda's Priority Murder Squad is fictional, Taylor's Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD) is a real division of the LAPD. Broken into five sections, its brief includes investigation of homicides, bank robberies, extortions, sex crimes, kidnappings, officer-involved shootings, and injury or death of an officer, all on a citywide basis. Its detectives are chosen for their high levels of expertise and experience. Among its most famous cases are the Tate-LaBianca murders, the Night Stalker, and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
  • Pope's parking place identifies him as the Assistant Chief of Operations. In the LAPD, the Assistant Chief of Operations is in charge of citywide detective, uniformed officer and jail operations, as well as coordinating the city's anti-crime initiatives.
  • Medical Examiner services in the City of Los Angeles are handled by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, located near the iconic Los Angeles County General Hospital.
  • Dr. Tanaka, the Medical Examiner brought in to pronounce the body, may have been designed to remind people of Dr. Thomas Noguchi, the LA County "Coroner to the Stars." Appointed in 1968, Noguchi performed autopsies in a number of famous cases, including the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, Robert Kennedy, Sharon Tate and Natalie Wood. His high profile and free-speaking way with the media ultimately led to his being asked to step down in 1982.
  • Garcetti
    Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti is a consulting producer on The Closer. A 32-year veteran of the LA District Attorney's office, Garcetti was elected DA in 1992, in the aftermath of the Rodney King case. His first term was dominated by his office's prosecution of the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial. After an LAPD scandal during his second term, Garcetti was defeated by one of his deputies in 2000.
  • Unknown-1
    Brenda refers to Alana having been a member of Act Up!, describing the group as an AIDS awareness group. Act Up! (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is best known for its philosophy of "direct action" to bring awareness of the AIDS epidemic. Dedicated to civil disobedience as a tool, their famous slogan is SILENCE = DEATH.
  • Pope names O.J. Simpson as an example of the kind of cases he wants the Priority Murder Squad to handle better. Simpson is a former football player and actor who in 1994 was charged with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Though he was acquitted in 1995 at the conclusion of the trial, he was found liable for the wrongful death and battery of Goldman and battery of Brown in a civil court a few years later. In 2008, Simpson was convicted of robbery and kidnapping, for which he is now incarcerated.


  • Though entirely convincing in her portrayal of Brenda Leigh Johnson, Kyra Sedgwick does not have a southern accent in real life. In fact, she spends most of her time in New York, with her husband, actor Kevin Bacon, and their two children.
  • In one scene, Fritz tells Brenda he likes the way it cools off at night in LA. This is a bit of an LA joke; 100º summer heat is often rationalized by reminding visitors there's no humidity and it cools off at night, often as much as 25 degrees.
  • In one scene, Brenda fights to resist the Krispy Kreme doughnuts on Tao's desk. Only recently available in California at the time the episode was made, Krispy Kreme doughnuts originated in the South.
  • The first airing of the pilot was commercial-free.

Episode MediaEdit

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  • Episode 101: Pilot

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    • Ethel, I'm going to move the discussion to the episodes section in a minute, so don't worry if you can't find it.   If you ...
    • That sounds like a majoy fete. But James Duff is worth it.