Opens as every cop drama should- in a bar. Gabriel is meeting Taylor, having asked him for information on Irene. The subtlety of the personal threads throughout seasons is quite special in this show and it is well appreciated, as it is more realistic than purely episodic shows. Back to the bar, and their conversation is cut short with a shooting outside the bar. Gabriel runs out and shoots into the street, shooting a guy he thinks was firing shots at him. As the crime scene is established, Captain Raydor moves in with intent. Mary McDonnell, well known for her role as Laura Roslin on 'Battlestar Galactica', is well cast as Raydor. It is refreshing to see two women over forty receiving such active and powerful roles in a police procedural. Also, her black trench is a nice counter to Brenda's pink. And we have a classic turf war. Raydor's area is officer involved shootings, and counters Taylor and Provenza's attempt to claim the scene for Brenda.

It cuts to Brenda walking into the hospital waiting room where Gabriel is mentally pacing. Gabriel tells Brenda he didn't read the kid his rights, but that dying declarations are allowed in trials. He questions why Brenda is not at the crime scene, and she explains Raydor's department's involvement. She also, as the well meaning outlaw of a Deputy Chief that she is, sent them to the wrong hospital when they asked the location of the victim and Gabriel. Brenda moves in for a quick briefing before the lawyer arrives for Gabriel. Brenda lets him know that there were no casings at the crime scene or a gun. As of now, Brenda explains, he is in pretty deep water. She calls for Raydor, and she comes in to question Gabriel in front of his lawyer. Raydor forces him to take a breathalyzer. The first face-off between Raydor and Brenda is brilliantly written and delivered. The offering of "advice" back and forth, with oozing territorial power this side of Sam Waterston, makes this impossible to recap- some things are just meant to be witnessed. Brenda establishes her rank, which trumps Raydor's captain.

Moving along, Brenda's back at home with Kitty and Fritz. She is trying to hide Kitty's reactions to the medicine, a good callback to last week's episode. She goes off to work, only to witness Taylor, in her office, questioned by both Raydor and Pope on his mistaken actions the night before with Gabriel. Tussle number two occurs between Raydor and Brenda with Pope trying to make heads or tails over their loud, fast banter. Raydor calls Brenda out on her use of pulling rank. She also warns Pope against doing the same. Pope tells them that they must share the crime scene. Hoo boy. Raydor explains to Brenda that she is as by the book as she knows Brenda isn't. Obviously, Brenda will win, as she is the lead of the show, but they are doing a fantastic job giving Raydor some leeway.

In the morgue, Provenza tells Brenda of his history with Raydor and that it led to sensitivity training, to which she counters, "Well, that was a complete waste of time." Brenda brings the bullet information, bullets were fired close range and were firing range bullets- not typically found as they jam in regular magazines. Buzz comes in to let Brenda know he was not allowed into the crime scene, per Raydor. The furious Brenda and her team break through Raydor's crime scene. Brenda' leads the team wielding her badge in front of all of Raydor's men. Brenda has them take the places of Gabriel and victim. After losing sight of Buzz behind Flynn, Brenda devises a theory that there is a third person, an actual shooter, who was missed the first time. Tao mentions syzygy, the concept that when three things come into line they can be obscured ('Syzygy' is also a good 'The X-Files' episode). The team then also figures out that the crime scene was incorrect, Gabriel's placement as the alleged shooter was incorrect. Provenza, or should I say, Provenza's stylish fisherman's hat, finds the bullets in the tree. Seriously, he needs a spinoff!

At the hospital, Brenda attempts to interview the kid. Brenda asks Provenza and Flynn to do what they do best, block the kid's parents and bother them so she can question the kid…and by kid I mean the other guest star, the littlest Lawrence brother, Andy. She asks why he told Gabriel that no one was supposed to get hurt. She tells Erik the kid that she is watching him, even if she has to use transferred intent. She is ejected from the hospital, and on the way out catches Ricardo. She offers him an exclusive if he waits 24 hours for her to get a bit further. As she begins to think Erik's involvement brings up the question of a possible hate crime (after the father's statement about the 'dead Arab') Fritz calls to say that Kitty is dying. Still crying over Kitty, she has to deal with "that woman!" aka Raydor. Raydor still assumes that Eric is the victim. Brenda calls her supposed harassment of Erik "free legal advice". A small smirk comes out of Raydor as Pope tells Brenda she has to back down. It then comes out that Erik's family recently lost someone in the war- leading Brenda's theory of a hate crime into reality. The murder of Mr. Parsall, Brenda alleges, is revenge killing. We also find that Erik's cousin, who lives down the way from the crime scene was just warned, after a filed complaint, for using his fence as target practice. They go to the scene of the fence shooting, and they find that the bullets in the fence are a match.

Back at the hospital, Brenda uses Ricardo to move the parents. Brenda moves in and lies to Erik, telling him that they already got all of the shooting information from his cousin Billy. She tells him that flipped on him. Erik waives his rights, and tells her that they are at war with 'the Muslims'. he says Billy is the shooter, that Erik didn't want anyone to get hurt. He also says that Billy shot at Gabriel. She leaves, telling Erik that they shot the wrong guy, that Mr. Parsall was a Jewish American. Provenza then puts Erik under arrest for first-degree murder.

Back at the ranch, Taylor talks to Gabriel, and he is then brought to speak with Brenda and Raydor. Raydor tells Gabriel that no charges will be made, and he will be cleared for full duty. Brenda thanks Raydor for showing her how to have such a "single minded approach" and Raydor fires back with the threat of her final report. Gabriel goes back to his desk and rips up the note to Irene. I say, good for him and now he can get back to focusing on the job.

Image © Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

At the house, Brenda and Fritz talk about Kitty, and Brenda tells him that the vet is on the way to put her to sleep. This scene with Kitty is integral, as it shows Brenda's ferocious protector over all she loves- both fellow team members and cats alike.

The Closer Cast: Kyra Sedgwick, J.K. Simmons, Corey Reynolds, Robert Gossett, Gina Ravera, more

Notes: Luckily, and this may be a spoiler, Mary McDonnell is signed for a multi-episodic arc. Hopefully it regards her report from this episode and a larger fight against PHD and Brenda. Seeing these two alpha contenders push against each other just reeks of Emmy nominations (fingers crossed, of course).

Story by Sarah Lafferty

Starpulse contributing writer