"The Closer" Junk in the Trunk (TV Episode 2009) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Brenda's personal day is ruined when the body of an obese jewel thief is found in the trunk of his car, without the diamonds he stole.

  • Brenda and the Major Crimes unit seek to solve the murder of a very large man found in the trunk of his car. Phil Adams, a diamond broker, stole $3 million in gems from work, precious stones which are now nowhere to be found. Video cameras show him emptying the safe then stopping at a burger restaurant drive-through with someone else in the car with him. A review of his credit cards shows he had joined an Internet club where married people can arrange liaisons. They identify the man in the car as Keith Reyes, whose unusual occupation fools many on the squad, including Det. Sanchez, who is still on limited duties for refusing to undergo therapy. Reyes proves difficult to nail down until Fritz lends a hand.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The team checks out the car of a missing man. Good news: They find him. Bad news: He's dead. Worse news: He weighs more than 300 pounds and is stuffed in the trunk. They recognize him as Phil Adams, a man who stole more than $3 million worth of diamonds a few days ago and was caught on tape.

    Sanchez is on the scene, but ornery. Gabriel reminds Provenza that Sanchez is supposed to be on light duty and checks if it's OK he's out there. Brenda is taking a personal day, Provenza is the ranking officer, he says Sanchez is fine.

    They try to figure out how to get the bloated, decomposing body out of the trunk. Flynn states a concern: "That he might pop like a zit."

    Flynn checks in. At home, Brenda tries to keep her cool around her still-visiting folks. Sanchez shouts at the tow truck driver and Brenda hears it, but Flynn assures her it's not him. As Flynn talks on the phone about how delicately they have to treat the body so it doesn't explode, the frustrated tow truck driver unhooks the car, which is on a hill. The car goes speeding backwards down the hill as everyone scrambles out of the way, looking on helplessly. It manages not to hurt anyone but rams into an electrical pole. Then, for added, effect, the transformer falls on the truck. Flynn tells Brenda that perhaps they'll find the victim died in a bizarre traffic accident. The car bursts into flames. Or perhaps an electrical fire.

    One too many questions from her dad about the cooking of his oatmeal and Brenda goes to work to watch them cut Phil out of the trunk. Terrence (making a triumphant return!) helps cut the guy out. They find a knock-off Hermes bag in the Phil soup, but no diamonds. His skin has sloughed off and his head exploded in the crash so the coroner doesn't have a cause of death, but they find a receipt for a recent fast food meal.

    Taylor narrates the footage of Phil stealing the diamonds from his work last Friday. His wife called in a missing persons report the next morning. Tao has security camera footage from the fast food joint. Credit card receipts show his wife making a purchase. They see a man in the passenger seat - not the victim's wife.

    At home in the morning, Willie Rae tries to get Clay to talk a walk, but he remains stubborn as ever. When she gets him out the door Brenda mentions to Fritz that her folks are likely to postpone their cruise until after the wedding - three weeks from now.

    At the station, Tao presents Mrs. Adams' financial reports which includes charges to a web site called Quiet Affairs. There are also three plane tickets from Tijuana to Antwerp - a great place to unload stolen diamonds.

    Brenda joins Gabriel with Mrs. Adams. She claims he didn't take the diamonds, he loved that store and would never hurt it. She says she's never heard of Quiet Affairs. They ask her to ID the man from the fast foot security tape. She doesn't know him. Brenda's not buying it. She wants to know about the plane tickets. Mrs. Adams looks at the passenger list and sees there's no ticket for her.

    The third ticket was for Phil. The airlines make him buy two tickets when he flies. He handled the finances. Phil's the one who belonged to Quiet Affairs. He met "that boy" online. She didn't think he'd meet him in person because he used an old photo from when he was skinnier. But that man in the security footage is who her husband was chatting with.

    They get on QuietAffairs.com and compare profiles. They find a man in Echo Park and Sanchez thinks he should be part of any trip there. Brenda says the last time he went out when he wasn't supposed to their victim got destroyed. When he argues, he outs himself as having been there. Brenda does her angry little Southern yell and tells him he's to remain chained to the desk until he speaks to the therapist as ordered.

    They go to Keith Reyes' house, where an attractive woman with high, sharp cheek bones (and an Adam's apple) answers the door and professes not to speak English. She's wearing a glittering evening gown. They search her house and she says Reyes is an idiot and she kicked him out. She also says she won't tell them her name and doesn't have ID. Buzz translates as she claims she's a singer on a cruise ship and has to leave or the ship will leave without her. Brenda thinks that's a swell idea. When she gets in the car to drive off they stop her and arrest her for driving without a license.

    Back at the station Sanchez likes the looks of her as he takes her prints. While chatting, he also discovers she doesn't really speak much Spanish. And then she kisses him and he doesn't mind.

    In the interrogation room, Brenda gets her to drop the "I don't speak English" act. She says Reyes was one of her boyfriends as Sanchez, in the observation room, looks pleased with himself. She claims she kicked Reyes out a week ago when she learned he likes boys.

    Tao brings Brenda the results of the prints. She looks at them, telling the woman she's just been handed her criminal record. Then Brenda leaps across the table at the woman and tugs on her hair - until the wig comes off the man. Keith Reyes is under arrest for grand theft.

    Sanchez looks stricken in the observation room. He hops to his feet and tells the guys to tell the chief he's going to therapy.

    Provenza catches Pope up on the situation, showing him the man in the evening dress. Brenda tells Reyes that Phil is dead and would he like to guess how? Reyes says "don't tell me he's still in the trunk of his car."

    He says he's an "illusionist" and he sings a nightclub act on a ship, but Phil didn't know anything about that. They met once, the rest was on-line. He says Reyes put himself in that trunk.

    Reyes says the whole night was strange. He was upset when Phil didn't look anything like his picture, but he didn't want to hurt his feelings by rejecting him outright, so they went to dinner. But then, on the way south Phil pulled over, saying he had a surprise that involved him riding across the boarder in the trunk. Reyes says he doesn't know anything about the diamonds or plane tickets. Reyes says Phil got in the trunk and he freaked out and drove back to L.A. Pope tells Buzz to tell Brenda to end the interview. She does.

    She insists it's murder and Pope points out that Phil got there on his own accord. Brenda is upset to realize she can't arrest him for anything. Pope says she has to prove he knew about the diamonds and then maybe they could prove conspiracy. She's convinced Reyes had something to do with the murder.

    Fritz comes home with pizza -- a vegetarian one with no cheese for Clay -- while Willie Rae fits Brenda in her wedding dress (Fritz averts his eyes). Brenda talks about the case and Reyes ("You mean a ladyfella?" Clay says). Willie Rae announces she's leaving tomorrow for her cruise, with or without Clay. Brenda looks closely at the beading on her dress and gets an idea.

    Back at the station, Brenda goes to talk with Reyes, still in his sparkly evening gown, in her office. Sanchez has been cleared for full duty, but he respectfully requests one more day chained to his desk to avoid time with his tonsil hockey player.

    Brenda has Reyes sign something confirming he has received all his belongings. As he turns to leave, Brenda has just one more question. She asks him again if he knew about the diamonds. When he says no, Brenda grabs at the sparkly belt on his dress, rips it off, and drags it across the glass table. Only real diamonds cut glass and it scratches the table.

    They start again in interrogation. Reyes is wearing prison orange this time. Brenda thinks they met on line and he convinced Phil to steal. Reyes maintains he knew nothing about it and thought the diamonds were fake and they have nothing. Brenda thinks Reyes seem to have all the answers, like he knows what she's going to ask. Pope, watching from the other room, agrees he's right.

    At home, Clay and Willie Rae say good-bye and they leave on their cruise. Fritz celebrates by laying a big smooch on his fiancee.

    Brenda's still trying to figure out how to trap her houdini with the diamonds. Fritz whispers sweet nothings in her ear, but they're about how if she has proof it happened before, she can prove a pattern. Voila! He produces a news clipping about another overweight bank manager found stuffed in the trunk of his car after stealing $2 million. The fat jokes stuck out in Fritz's mind.

    Back at the station, Reyes points out Brenda has 30 minutes to charge him or let him go. Enter Fritz, who says the FBI never did figure out how the man ended up in his trunk. They even had surveillance video of the girl walking up to his car after the robbery. And it looks exactly like Reyes. That's how he knew the answers, he'd done this all before. Fritz explains patterns leading to intent leading to murder in the first. Brenda releases Reyes -- to the FBI and Arizona police.

    For his final trick, the illusionist slips his cuffs for effect as he's calmly led away.

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