08/02/2012 06:38 pm ET Updated Oct 02, 2012

'Armed Response'

I must begin with a disclaimer. Despite some superficial similarities, the next-to-last episode of The Closer has absolutely nothing to do with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. We outlined this story in the writer's room in October of 2011 and filmed it last December, before this controversial tragedy became a test for our justice system.

This obligation out of the way, it's not the first time The Closer blundered sideways into a national case. Just last summer, we wrote an episode where a coach was accused of abusing minors only to have the Penn State scandal descend while we were in the editing room. And right after Brenda solved the case of a doctor strangled by his wife's purse straps, a Brazilian model did the same thing to her boyfriend. It's amazing how many times our make-believe murders ended up happening in real life; as writers, we began to wonder if we were pushing crimes onto suggestible minds.

But our penultimate episode has another story at its core. Having just suffered a once-in-a-lifetime loss, Brenda is naturally struggling with her identity. When a family member or friend dies, we not only mourn their absence, but also the passing away of a defining relationship: our identity fractures as we lose that particular vision of ourselves forever; we are plunged into a kind of darkness, no longer illuminated by the light of loving eyes.

The loss of identity that comes with this sort of departure can completely overwhelm. Sometimes, we struggle to hang on to what we know; sometimes we let go of everything; sometimes it is the beginning of transformation.

And speaking of the loss of identity, Sharon Raydor finally unmasks the leak. The detectives of Major Crimes, and Brenda herself, must pause and consider how this terrible reveal will change their relationships. Certainly, their identity as one, cohesive unit has been altered forever.

While our crimes are more often ripped from the heart than torn from the headlines, the underlying basis of our leak comes from a true story. That law enforcement professionals can never truly take off the badge means detectives and investigators must sometimes completely surrender their personal identity for the sake of the communities they serve. Yet another reason to remember how much we expect from our guardians, and how little we often give them in return.

Michael Robin brilliantly directs a script by Steven Kane & Jim Leonard, both working at the top of their craft. If you feel like taking an hour off from the Olympics this week, we can wrap up our yearlong quest for the leak in Major Crimes, and move one step closer to Brenda's journey to the finale.

I'll be back next week to sum up our series in my very last blog about The Closer.

Until then -- James Duff