And so The Closer is drawing to a close.
This Monday at 9/8c, the TNT hit that drove home the cabler’s “We Know Drama” mantra kicks off the first of its final six hours, and things are not looking good at all for the titular Brenda Leigh Johnson (played by Kyra Sedgwick).
Having barely dodged one legal bullet earlier in Season 7, she now has the threat of a federal lawsuit looming, as her crime-solving techniques are hyper-scrutinized. And on top of it all? This week, and in the series finale (airing Aug. 13), she will come face-to-face with the one slippery snake that truly makes her skin crawl.
While fans of The Closer are sad to see it sign off (though most of its ensemble will appear on the spin-off Major Crimes, fronted by Mary McDonnell’s Capt. Sharon Raydor), Sedgwick – who more than a year-and-a-half ago made the decision to turn in her badge – is looking forward to this final salvo.
“I’m excited because I think people are really going to like them,” the actress shared with TVLine last month, almost seven years to the day Brenda coaxed her first confession. “I think they are among our very best.”
Thus far in her run as Brenda, Sedgwick has amassed five Emmy nominations and six Golden Globe nods, winning one of each, and been up for a Screen Actors Guild award seven times. Here, she previews the professional and personal hurdles ahead for Brenda during these final hours, addresses a big concern of some fans, consider her character’s legacy and ponders her next TV role.
TVLINE | What’s going on with Brenda during this final run? Does she feel a legal noose tightening around her?
Absolutely. It’s sort of coming at her from all sides — her personal life as well as her professional life. There comes a time in your life – and it’s certainly true of Brenda at this point – that you start realizing you’ve made a lot of choices, and you’re living through the ramifications of those choices. That’s what’s really going on for her in these last six. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good. [Laughs]
TVLINE | You mention the personal front, and it almost seems as if her father’s (played by Barry Corbin) health is weighing on her more than what’s going on at the office.
Oh yeah. These are very personal episodes, even when they get intertwined with the cases. [Attorney Phillip] Stroh is her arch nemesis, and her overzealousness to catch him really gets in the way of her work. So her personal life and her professional life converge in a way that we haven’t seen as much as in these last six.
TVLINE | Talk a little more about how Phillip Stroh, played by the oh-so-good Billy Burke, figures into these final episodes.
Well, he’s “the one that got away,” and he continues to rape and murder these women and she knows it, and she could never get him, and that really sticks in her craw to say the least. So when she sees him and gets the idea of catching him, she just sees red and goes blind to almost anything else around her –and that gets in the way of her doing her job well.
TVLINE | Is it safe to say that he plays a role in whatever eventual transition Brenda goes through in the series finale?
Yes, I would say so for sure. For sure.
TVLINE | But we won’t get an encore from the other “Moby Dick” in her life, firebug Bill Croelick, played by Jason O’Mara?
No…. No. [Laughs] But I loved him too. He was great, such a good actor.
TVLINE | Jon Tenney is going to be guest-starring on the Major Crimes spin-off. That has fans anxious, how Fritz can remain in that world but without Brenda. What can you say to assuage any fears?
I can just say that Brenda doesn’t die. And they don’t split up, I can say that too. But I’m not sure how they’re handling [Brenda's absence within Major Crimes], honestly.
TVLINE | The Closer is going to identify the departmental leak before all is said and done. Will there be some heartbreak with that reveal?
A little bit, yeah….
TVLINE | At the end of the day, what do you think Brenda’s legacy will be? What did you and James Duff create here, in the larger pantheon of TV?
I think we created a significant and seminal character; Brenda was a creature that we haven’t really seen before. She is someone who is fierce and powerful and fragile and delicate and broken and flawed and relatable and super-heroic… and not law-abiding in some ways. [Chuckles] She is someone who’s incredibly passionate about what she does. It’s sort of hard for me to really say — it’s something that you could write about instead of having me toot my horn about! — but I think she was a phenomenon in a lot of ways. She’s a fascinating character that we really haven’t seen before in the body of a woman.
TVLINE | How does it make you feel to leave such a character behind? As an actor, you don’t know if your next gig will be for one episode, four, or for seven years.
I hope that it’s just the beginning of a whole slew of incredible characters that I will get to play. But realistically, I know that a part like Brenda is hard to find.
TVLINE | Would you consider another series regular TV role?
Not right now. But never say never, because I love the medium, and the landscape of TV has gotten much more exciting in the seven years that I’ve been on the show. I hope that the success of The Closer was a part of that.
TVLINE | Yes, you were among the first crop of film personalities to make the crossover to television.
Yeah. So I would love to [come back] at some point. I really do want to keep my eye on the movies for the next few years and then we’ll see. I’m hoping that some writer out there, knowing that in a few years I’m going to want to [do TV again], is writing that amazing role for me. I thought it was so great after nine years on The Sopranos that Edie Falco found Nurse Jackie, which is such a different character and she’s so amazing in that.
TVLINE | In fact, your husband Kevin [Bacon] has his own series coming up this winter, The Following on Fox. I’ve seen the pilot and it is quite excellent.
Oh, I am so glad you like it! That is so great. I think it is fantastic.
TVLINE | Since he directed a few episodes of The Closer, does this mean you get to return the favor and go behind the camera for The Following?
That’s so funny. But oh boy, I would be really daunted to take that on!