I started watching The Closer a couple of months ago, working through the seasons on iTunes. At least, I did until I got to the season with an episode entitled ‘Junk in the Trunk’.
The junk referred to is the body of a man in the trunk of a car. After this body is discovered, the police lose control of the vehicle. It runs downhill, slamming the boot/trunk against a telephone pole and crushing the body inside. Then some kind of electrical box falls off the pole, lands on the boot/trunk and explodes.
This scene is played for laughs.
Will it surprise you to know that the dead man is morbidly obese?
I cannot think of another episode where a dead human being’s remains were played around with, crushed and electrocuted, for laughs, but then up until this episode none of the dead people were significantly above a ‘normal’ weight.
Unfortunately I’ve lost the link, but a couple of years back there was a report of an obese woman in the US who was found dead, and whose body was dragged out of her house by police and left semi-naked by the road, kicked and abused by them until a mortuary vehicle arrived. Police were apparently encouraging local kids to join in. So this is not simply a television fantasy.
What is it in human beings that they can treat dead people as a joke? I accept that sometimes people die in daft situations – the Darwin Awards are the best place to confirm this – but abusing and laughing at a dead body simply because it’s fat? Portraying this kind of abuse on an award-winning television show and no one batting an eyelid?
Unfortunately it gets worse.
The episode centred around an individual who was trans (or simply cross-dressing, it wasn’t entirely clear). Xie was brought to the police station dressed as, and identified to the police as, a woman. When it was discovered that xie was born male via fingerprints associated with a male name, the female leader of the police team attacked xir, punching xir and tearing off xir wig.
Now this was objectionable enough, but the same police officer, in a previous episode, had suspended a junior colleague for punching a paedophile while trying to find out the location of an abducted child. So, the only conclusion to be drawn is that a physical assault on a paedophile is unacceptable, while an assault on a trans individual is not.
There was also the inevitable scene where a male police officer kissed xir and was then mocked by his colleagues once xie was ‘revealed’ to be a ‘man’.
So, much though I have enjoyed many aspects of The Closer, I haven’t watched any more episodes. I don’t like being ambushed by this kind of stuff. The series wasn’t without its issues of privilege, racism and misogyny, to name a few, but they seemed no more overt than any other similar series. But how this episode could get to air without a single comment bewilders me.