I don't usually keep up with plots on television shows. My approach has always been to let the writers and producers take me for a ride. It's a matter of trust. My attitude is that, if I'm going to deliberately suspend my disbelief, I won't do myself any favors by looking at the details too closely. If they want to surprise me, I'll let them try. I trust my instincts and they've served me pretty well. I can tell if something is jumping the shark or insulting my intelligence.
Also, I scoff at predictions as a general rule. The words "I don't know" are heavily underrated. I see no purpose in continually trying to predict what will happen, when the unpredictable is far more entertaining. However, predictions serve a useful purpose when they are preceded by thorough, thoughtful insight. The prediction doesn't have to be right, but it should at least be based on facts and logic.
So I decided to have some fun and try to predict where the leak is in Major Crimes on TNT's "The Closer."
Assuming there is a leak within the Major Crimes unit, providing unsavory characters outside of the LAPD with advance and/or classified information, an obvious question is whether the leak is accidental. Regardless of who is responsible, is there a computer vulnerability or some other weak link that is unintentional and undetected? Is it a matter of loose lips without malice, but with prying eyes and ears intercepting all the details? Or is it a deliberate attempt to sabotage Major Crimes?
Commander Taylor goes helpful to sinister to goofy and all points in between, usually within a single episode. Taylor is not part of Major Crimes but is either involved with them at certain points or hanging around on the perimeter. After all these years, it's actually more difficult to imagine Taylor as the leak, because he sees Brenda's dedication to her work, her obvious talent and training, and her success. It could be Taylor put something in place early on that feeds information outside the department, and has either forgotten about it or forgot to plug the hole.
Lieutenant Andy Flynn was an early enemy of Brenda's, but it seems she won him over long ago. He's part of the family. I don't see him as enough of a klutz to leak things by accident. Early on, he deliberately leaked information to a reporter about Brenda's ethics inquiry in Atlanta. Otherwise, he seems suspicious enough not to open his yap unless he means to.
Lieutenant Mike Tao is a family man and a geek. He is too busy trying to please Brenda to suddenly turn around and have some unknown ax to grind against her. Doesn't make sense.
Sgt. David Gabriel is Brenda's protege (for lack of a better term) and for that reason is closer to her personally than anyone other than Will Pope and Brenda's husband Fritz. Again, hard to imagine what he has against her.
Detective Lt. Louie Provenza is perhaps the funniest and most likeable character. He's constantly in and out of relationships with women, some of who have actually visited Major Crimes. This puts Provenza higher on the suspect list. While it's difficult to imagine him deliberately sabotaging the unit, he may have allowed himself to give a scheming woman unauthorized access, where it goes to some mastermind criminal or whatever.
Detective Julio Sanchez is the only subordinate to personally discuss the leak with Brenda. And he was convincing that she should not tell him things because he thought she should not trust anyone in the unit, at least at certain times. In my book, Julio is higher on the list because of a possible misdirection, but it would have to be a well-hidden hostile motive.
Agent Fritz Howard is Brenda's husband but also works for a federal agency that specializes in spying. How can he NOT be a suspect, whether by accident or design?
Assistant Chief Will Pope has the longest and most complex (and awkward) relationship with Brenda among everyone involved. Give a reason he can't be the leak and I can give you a reason he must be the leak.
Captain Sharon Raydor has damn well better not be the leak if she has her own spinoff show following The Closer finale. Or if she is, she'd damn well better have a brilliant and beneficial reason for it.
There are a number of other recurring characters. Leave it to me, the trusting and unthorough analyst, to drop them cleanly through the cracks. ZIP, there they go!
Then there is the classic misdirection in whodunnit fiction: The character you know least about flies under the radar and is nearly forgotten until it is sprung at the last moment as the culprit. There are at least two:
Buzz Watson is a "Civilian Surveillance Coordinator." In other words, he is the technician for the unit's surveillance and recording needs. He provides some comic relief but we don't really know much about him other than the fact that has a totally hot weather-babe for a sister (who doesn't believe in Santa Clause!). Problem is she didn't enter the picture until the leak was already in play.
Forget that Detective Irene Daniels hasn't been around for years. She was dating -- excuse me, I meant "dating" -- David Gabriel. They fought, she left. Or is she still in the background? Would it be so over-the-top for Irene to surface at the end with some weird attempt to blow David's career away like this? Hey, suspect everyone and trust no one. That's what Hercule Poirot says.
We haven't talked about Drs. Crippen and Morales. Shouldn't leave them out, although I'm not sure why.
If we're going down the unintended consequences route, may as well sweep Brenda's parents (Willie Rae and Clay) into the picture, along with Fritz' sister Claire and Brenda's niece Charlie.
Bill Croelick is far and away the most appealing, compelling villain the show ever produced. His motives seem so self-obsessed that it's difficult to imagine what he would hope to accomplish by leaking things to someone else.
We haven't talked about the computers. It's possible someone has simply hacked into the system. Who would do that? I'll say, though, that there's always a computer or smart phone that could be listening, with or without the consent of someone in Major Crimes.
I guess I should put Brenda on the list. Done. It could happen.
Dessert comes last, right? So let's serve up the tasty and villainous Philip Stroh. We know we're not done with him, yet. Brenda is obsessed with bringing him to justice, and Stroh can't help but know how much of a threat she is to him. He's unpredictable, shrewd, clever, malignant. He has means and motive. He has every reason to try to discredit Brenda and remove her from a position in which she could put him away.
My prediction: Philip Stroh is your guy. And he did it by bugging the department.
No, I don't expect my prediction to hold up. But at least I went through the whole lineup...and my conclusion was not what I thought it would be. So I like it.