It’s hard not to like TNT’s hit procedural The Closer — you can usually count on the jittery charm Kyra Sedgwick gives Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson’s confession-room shakedowns, and the series’ portrait of an investigative team forever up against departmental bureaucracy and personality conflicts is almost always compelling. But you have to wonder if the creators’ effort to wring emotional truth out of the inside tensions of a big-city cop outfit — former L.A. district attorney Gil Garcetti (a.k.a dad of city council president Eric) is a show consultant — may be leading them to sacrifice believable drama elsewhere. Namely, what’s with the inane, lazy portrayal of the journalist in the fourth-season opener? Introduced at the scene of a raging-wildfire/possible-arson as an LAPD-approved media shadow on its next big investigation, this L.A. Times–identified character is another pitiful example of Hollywood’s cluelessness in depicting reporters. This “journalist” not only tips the detectives about his story angle, but he also shares his notes with the people he’s covering, doesn’t even take notes in many scenes and, when confronted about interviewing a key suspect, blabs how he did it, brags about how he helped the police, needlessly antagonizes the cops, and then pushes them to make an arrest. With so much that’s valid about the delicate relationship between law enforcement and the press, why manufacture such a ridiculous stereotype of boneheaded news-hound aggression? He’s also his own photographer, too. I’d say this was another sign of reality-stretching expedience, but considering the wretched downsizing going on at the Times, who’s to say this isn’t actually something disturbingly prescient?

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