'The Closer's Good Guy: Not So Good on 'Brothers & Sisters'?

On The Closer, Brenda Leigh (Kyra Sedgwick) has an impossibly great love interest in Fritz (Jon Tenney). He's TV-gorgeous, naturally, with a prime-time-caliber career: FBI agent. But a big part of his appeal lies in his expert handling of Brenda, an LAPD investigator whose workaholicism (not to mention her idiosyncrasies) might have driven a lesser man away. Yes, she gorgeous and whip smart, but a handsome government agent like Fritz could probably snag a younger, softer trophy than this steel magnolia—and with less baggage. He doesn't want to, though.

In tonight's episode, her work trumps him yet again, when she bails on their ski vacation moments before their departure. (Murderers have such poor timing.) With his typical reserve—this happens so often that Fritz doesn't even bother to shrug anymore—he says he'll take the trip without her. But he makes sure she knows what she's missing: a full spa package, massages included. It's well played, because her guilt and disappointment is, indeed, written all over her very expressive face.

Watching Fritz expertly navigate Brenda's sea of contradictions, you subconsciously begin associating those skills with the actor who plays him. And for the last four weeks, that fact has served Brothers and Sisters well. Tenney's been a guest star on the ABC drama, mining similar dramatic terrain as Nora's (Sally Field) much younger suitor, Dr. Simon Craig. Not an FBI agent here, but close. He plays a philanthropically minded oncologist who rides a motorcycle and doesn't seem the slightest bit put off by the fact that Nora, a grandmother of four, is two decades beyond him. With the same Fritz-like poise, he indulges Nora's myriad quirks and nervous outbursts. 

But is he for real? Would a 40-something, sexy, motorcycle-riding doctor really go for Nora, or does he have an ulterior motive? Here's where casting Tenney was a great choice. Closer fans, at least, want to say yes. Fritz would never cultivate a disingenuous relationship for his own gain. On last week's Brothers and Sisters, though, we're beginning to see signs that something is, in fact, awry with Dr. Craig. 

Of course, I can't help giving Dr. Craig the benefit of the doubt, because he looks exactly like Fritz. But if he does turn out to be an evil embezzler, or worse, the surprise will be all the more delicious.

Does an actor's defining role affect how you view him in other shows? Chime in below!

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