“The Closer” Recap: Elysian Fields I Dread

Emmy®  Winnger Tom Skerritt guest starred on The Closer
Emmy winner Tom Skerritt guest-stars on The Closer

By Anna Belle

The term “Elysian Fields” has numerous meanings. In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields in Elysium were the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris means the Avenue of the Elysian Fields. There’s an Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans as there is a city in Texas called Elysian Fields.

These are just a few Elysian Fields references I know. When I googled “Elysian Fields” I found about 10 or more.

It’s no wonder I felt a sense of dread after seeing the title and watching the opening … Brenda’s just waking and heading for the bedroom when she hears a noise from somewhere in the apartment. She grabs her gun and cautiously looks around the apartment.

In the bathroom she notices an open window and a torn screen. Further into the apartment, more signs that someone is there. She gets on her phone and tells Sgt. Gabriel to send her some units. She’s sure it’s Phillip Stroh.

Just as you see a hooded intruder coming toward her, she wakes up, safe in her own bed, with her phone ringing. Sgt. Gabriel is on the other end telling her they’ve got a body. Brenda flashes back to her unsolved case with Phillip Stroh throughout this entire episode.

Brenda stuffs the Stroh file into that famous bag of hers and rushes to the scene, a hillside, where there’s a male body. Upon examination they discover his hands bound, his legs ground down to the bone — he’s identified as Howard Greeson.

Lt. Flynn’s attitude perks up when he hears this. He tells Brenda that Greeson brutally killed two girls in the ’90s, but it was never proven and they never found the bodies. Greeson literally had “gotten away with murder.”

Flynn suggests they contact the lead detective, Joey Olin a.k.a. Joey O (Tom Skerritt), who is retired, because he could help out on the case. Provenza isn’t too happy with this bit of news (apparently Joey O reported him for using curse words).

Once the preliminary autopsy is completed, the coroner tells Brenda Greeson had been tied up and dragged behind a large vehicle. His shoulders are dislocated plus he has several broken bones. When he shows them Greeson’s legs, they notice his wounds have started to scab over, meaning he was alive for at least 48 hours before he was shot twice in the head.

The coroner tells Brenda he’s waiting for toxicology results. Why? His killer had administered some kind of pain killers or someone would have heard him screaming.

Joey O arrives at the squad room with his original file on Greeson’s victims: his fiancée, Diana Clarkson; and Katie West. Joey O asks where Greeson’s body was found and when they tell him the Elysian Fields, he tells the squad that they had always suspected that’s where Greeson had buried his victims.

Brenda calls for cadaver dogs and they head back to the crime scene.

While the cadaver dogs start looking for bodies, Joey O tells Provenza he lost his prostate to cancer. Provenza of course brags he’s dating a 29-year old and his prostate works like he’s 16 again. (In an earlier episode, we met Lt. Provenza’s girlfriend and discovered where he’s getting his new ties.)

The dogs soon find two plastic bags unearthed and close to each other. Joey O asks Brenda that the bags be sent to the coroner unopened so they can be checked for prints. It’s starting to look like Greeson was tortured for the location of the bodies, then shot twice in the head and his wallet left so he could be easily identified.

At home over dinner, Brenda shares some case information with Fritz and tells him that Greeson’s latest girlfriend was at their home with a black eye, packing. Her suspect list includes the girlfriend and unfortunately, the families of Greeson’s victims.

Provenza calls to tell her that the victim’s families are at the office thanks to Joey O making the notifications, so Brenda rushes back to work and she’s not happy. Diana Clarkson’s dad and sister, and Katie West’s brother Todd and her daughter Jena, are there. Lt. Flynn tells Brenda they’ve brought in Greeson’s current girlfriend as well but have nothing to hold her on.

Brenda pulls Joey O aside and reminds him that he’s retired and had no authority to make notifications (regardless of his relationship with family members), especially when they don’t have official IDs yet.

Lt. Flynn in the meantime is trying to defend Joey O, but Brenda keeps reminding him that Greeson is the victim. Joey O asks Brenda if she’s ever had a case that stays with her and that she can’t let go of (if he only knew).

In order to keep Greeson’s girlfriend, Kim Sherman, from leaving, Lt. Flynn makes a nasty comment to her and gets slapped for his trouble. She gets “slapped” with an assaulting a police officer charge, but not before she recognizes Katie West’s brother Todd as someone who was coming around hassling Greeson on a regular basis at his house.

At this point, Pope comes in and they start to talk to the families who catch on quickly that they’re suspects in Greeson’s murder. Brenda asks Todd about his visit to Greeson’s house and when he starts to answer, Joey O interrupts, prompting Todd to ask for a lawyer.

Other family members say they’re getting an attorney and Diana Clarkson’s dad states that he’s going to hold a press conference, much to the dismay of Pope and Brenda. When they leave, Brenda tells Tao to bag the families cups for prints and DNA and asks Sgt. Gabriel to call Ricardo Ramos of the L.A. Times. Brenda’s going to use whatever she can to solve this case.

After this disaster, Brenda lets Joey O know that the way to close his case is to close hers. In other words, when she finds out who murdered Greeson, they can close the case on Greeson’s victims. She tells him his old case is now her case.

Brenda and Sanchez interview Kim Sherman the next day about Todd West coming to Greeson’s home and telling her about Greeson’s murder victims. She said Todd yelled at Greeson and punched him and that Greeson had pulled a gun on him to get him to back off.

Sanchez asked her about Greeson’s missing truck and his gun that was supposed to be at his home. She said she hadn’t seen either since last week and thought it might be at a bar in Culver City.

Later, Brenda and Pope talk with Ricardo about his interviews with the victims families, who he got alibis from. All of the alibis checked out except Todd West’s and he also discovered that Todd and Katie West (the victim) had been twins.

Tao and Sgt. Gabriel go to Culver City to follow up on Greeson’s truck and find it on the street with the keys in the ignition, a shovel and cable in the bed, the gun under the front seat and the cab covered in blood. Too easy, way too easy.

In the meantime, the coroner has ID’d the bodies as Greeson’s two victims and had found high levels of morphine in Greeson’s system.

Tao reports the casings from the crime scene match Greeson’s gun and prints pulled from the driver’s side door of Greeson’s truck match Todd West. Brenda orders the squad to bring him in. When Provenza reminds her he has a lawyer, Brenda says to “arrest him for murder.”

While in her office waiting for Todd West to be brought in, Joey O tries to tell Brenda that Todd isn’t a murderer and that he believes Greeson knew whoever he went with that night because no one saw a fight.

“Fine,” she says to Joey O. “You can just wait while Todd sits in jail for two years awaiting trial or you can convince Todd to talk to me without his lawyer present.” She asks Joey O how badly he wants to close his case, because, she tells him, it’s not going to happen until she finds out who killed Howard Greeson.

They bring in Todd and Joey O tells him to talk to Brenda and tell her the truth. Flynn and Joey O go in the media room while Brenda and Todd sit down for their interview. Joey O tells Flynn he feels sick.

Brenda tells Todd there’s a lot of evidence against him in addition to his shaky alibi plus his prints on the victim’s truck. She asks him where he got the morphine and on that question, he’s stumped. She asks him again if he knows anyone who has access to morphine and Todd says, “no.”

With that answer Brenda ends the interview, because she knows Todd is innocent.

Brenda goes in to talk to Joey O and ask him “how much more time do you have?” She tells him she couldn’t understand why someone would do something like this now. But she said she factored in the weight loss, the prostate, the fact that he felt sick and she assumes he’s taking morphine, she figures he’s dying of cancer.

He admits he has 3-6 months to live. Brenda asks Flynn to read him his rights. Joey O waives his rights. Brenda asks him how, as a decorated member of the law enforcement community, he could do something like this? “The Make-A-Wish Foundation refused to do it for me,” he says.

Joey O then admits he didn’t want to die without getting justice for those girls. He hopes she might understand some day and anyway, now that her case is closed, they can close his, right?

“Do you have proof Greeson lead you to the girls?” she asks. He pulls out a tape recorder and admits he recorded the whole thing, but that it’s “not for the faint of heart.” He says he drove to the desert, hooked him up to the truck and “drove all night.”

Yes, I knew that feeling of dread came over me for a reason. It ended just the way I thought it would. Here’s hoping this season ends with Brenda catching Phillip Stroh. In a way, I hope she ends hooking him up in the desert and driving all night.

Gosh I’m evil.

Photo: Courtesy of TNT Network/Credit: Karen Neal