Kyra Sedgwick Eyes The Closer's Last Battlefield - Plus, How Will Fritz Go on Without Brenda?

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.

RELATED | TNT Sets Dates for The Closer‘s Finale and Its Spin-Off‘s Premiere

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.

RELATED | The Closer Brings Back Phillip Stroh for Series Finale

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.

RELATED | The Closer Vet Declines Spot on Major Crimes Spin-Off

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.

RELATED | Kyra Sedgwick’s Case for Leaving The Closer: ‘I Want To Go Out While We’re On Top’

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!

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41 Comments
  1. Ace says:

    I love how excited she gets when she’s talking about her husband’s series. It’s sweet. They seem like really classy people. I’m sure she’s got some exciting stuff ahead of her in her career.

  2. Gus says:

    Love this show and i am sad its bowing out.i am looking for in ward to major crimes,i loved McDonnell in best ever BattleStar Galactica

  3. Kristy says:

    Great interview! But I’m still in the Denial stage about The Closer coming to an end….

  4. Janet Wilson says:

    With every article I read, I’m more and more afraid the leak will end up being one of my favorite characters. That’s going to be very traumatic for me, it may even ruin some of the love I have for what has been my favorite show ever.

    • Kate says:

      I’m can’t decide who I would be ok with being the leak! If it’s Gabriel I will be heartbroken. I have also really come to enjoy Flynn and Provenza’s relationship with her. I would be less upset if it was Sanchez, but he doesn’t seem like he would be against her actions. Oddly it wouldn’t surprise me if it was Taylor or Pope, but again with Pope getting her in trouble would work against him.

      • Janet Wilson says:

        Same here Kate. It would break my heart if it were Gabriel.I would certainly have to skip the leak revealing episode when I get the DVD’s.
        Sgree with you about Pope too.I actually think Taylor has come to admire Brenda somewhat.

      • jerzygirl45 says:

        I honestly don’t think it’s going to be Sanchez since he’s the one who actualy told her not to trust anybody. But Gabriel would be a definite heartbreak.

      • Jason says:

        Actually, I think it is Pope. Remember Brenda was up for the Chief of Police position. She made the list and he didn’t. Now he has the position temporarely. I think he is trying to push Brenda out so he won’t have any competetion.

        • Lorie says:

          This is my thought, too. I think Pope wants his position to become permanent so badly, he’s willing to throw Brenda under the bus to get it. Their history is irrelevant. He wants that job. It’ll break my heart if Gabriel turns out to be the leak. I think he’ll leave the team to run for office.

          • Brenda says:

            Gabriel is Brenda’s right hand man, seems like, along with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and if you don’t know which two those are, try to remember who lost evidence in a case that was in the trunk of the car and you’ll know. lol So my heart would be broken if the leak was any one of those three. But Gabriel has the worst luck with women, ‘don’t’ he? Anyway, I never did like that Captain what’s-her-name, so I won’t be following Major Crimes as I did with The Closer. Best of luck and good wishes always to Kyra.

        • Eric says:

          IMO, Pope did enough damage to Brenda’s reputation already via “The Johnson Rule” or whatever it was called in the federal lawsuit settlement. She would never get that position after that. So, she is no longer a threat to him. For reasons listed already (her double standard with Gabriel) I believe Gabriel is getting back at her. Maybe not even “getting even” but maybe he believes that Brenda suspending him for beating up the child molester in “Ruby” was the right thing for Brenda to do. And likewise, him exposing Brenda for her actions in the Turell case also being the “right thing to do”. Though I couldn’t agree that leaking information was ethical. If it is Gabriel, he took a very cowardly approach to dealing with the situation. And, since it is JUST tv, I would have been totally good with both of them getting away with what they did to those two scumbags. LOL

      • cathiecat says:

        I’m not sure Pope would avoid harmful leaks. He wants to stay chief, and knows that if Brenda had accepted the promotion to Will’s job, she would be interim chief now. He may want her out of the way.

    • Paul Rose Jr says:

      Well, considering Corey Reynolds didn’t sign on to Major Crimes, that gives producers an easy out by making Gabriel the leak. Would be devestating, though. Which might make it all that more powerful for Brenda’s final collapse…

    • JP says:

      Such a shame that this show is so complex and interesting that one plot point begins such a good discussion. You don’t see that from a lot of shows on right now. Sorry to see the show go.

    • Jane says:

      Relax, the leak is Gabriel’s new girlfriend. Clues from last week: he has been dating her for about a year (just when the leaks started), he told Rader that he doesn’t keep any secrets from his new girlfriend, and only three people knew what was said in that squad car—Brenda, Julio, and Gabriel. How else did that plaintiff lawyer get that info? This also will explain why Gabriel is the only one other than Brenda to not be on the new spinoff show.

  5. Juliab. says:

    I absolutely love this show. Thanks for the great interview.

  6. Lorie says:

    So bittersweet…the beginning of the end. I’ll def have tissue nearby while watching the final 6 episodes. Thanks for the interview!

  7. I don’t think it will be THAT hard to include Fritz as a visible presence in Major Crimes without having Brenda on-screen. He can occasionally make a “Honey, I’m gonna be late….” type calls, or just make references to something happening in their life. That keeps her – and their marriage – alive for the fans. They don’t even have to do it every episode (THAT would get kinda weird) – just a few times during the run of a season so that even if she’s out of sight, she’s not out of mind. I hope they opt to do something like that – I think it would be really sweet.

  8. Lori says:

    I’m really going to miss Brenda Leigh. A great character and Kyra has been amazing playing her. I’m glad to hear they won’t kill her off, nor have Brenda and Fritz divorce. That would be devastating. And I’d like to see Pope as the leak, he’s gotten more creepy as the years have gone on.

    • Yvonne says:

      I really miss ” Brenda ” I hope she will return to the show . I adore the way she figure things out and how she felt like she was to the bad guy and when she was reprimanded . she did it with class !

  9. ingmarhappy says:

    With common sense we can already be sure it will be either Pope or Gabriel. They are the only ones ( besides Brenda herself ) who isn’t going to star in Major Crimes. And I could imagine they are going to fire the leak. Or in the best case…kicking him from the team. Between Pope and Gabriel, pope would be the expextable candidate because of the chief thing in S6. BUT Gabriel would be unexpected because he always seemed quite loyal. BUT he is the one who knew about that guy Brenda left on the streets ( Baylor or something ? ). So that would make sense. I’d put my money on Gabriel. I never really loved him so I’m ok with that. I have more with Flynn, Tao, and especially Provenza.

  10. Eric says:

    I have suspected Gabriel as the leak from the beginning due to the fact that Brenda has displayed a double standard for Gabriel and herself. When Gabriel beat up the child molester/murderer in “Ruby”, Brenda suspended him and his career was permanently damaged. But then, she turned around and basically arranged the possibility of the murder of Turell. That had to tick off Gabriel. And frankly, I can’t see the series closing without that being addressed, in one way or another.

    • Mary says:

      I think it’s Gabriel too….he’s the only one I don’t recall seeing in the “Major Crimes” previews……hmmmmm

  11. Barbara says:

    Great show! I watch it on Saturday nites on channel 9 @8&9pm.

  12. Dark Defender says:

    Great show. Great cast. I enjoyed seeing their relationships realistically play out with layers and not just some kind of love fest from day one. I also have no interest in watching the spin-off, as it was Kyra’s character that drew me to this show. I will miss her (and Fritz).

    For me, I think the leak is Gabriel for most of the reasons everyone here has already stated. I think Brenda & Fritzy could finally “start a family” and due to pressures of the job she decides to retire and stay home. (“she doesn’t die and they don’t break up” – any other job would take them away from L.A. or we would just spend our time wondering what confessions she was getting without us)

    Then the calls about the kid etc.. will kind of keep Brenda in our minds as the new series takes hold… Because the spin off needs some kind of bridge to the Closer, or people won’t stay with it.

  13. Barbara Gregory says:

    I adore this show and the only way I’m going to be happy is if we find out Brenda’s pregnant at the end!!

  14. Ladybook says:

    Usually I watch the reruns several times, as this has been my favorite show for several years. But the July 16th one was just plain awful, and I will never watch it again. I do hope these remaining few live up to historical precedent.

  15. Erica says:

    I think it is detective Daniels. She probably still talk to Gabriel who told her what happened

  16. downsidebob says:

    I believe that Brenda will suffer a brakdown that comes all that has happened
    This is what keeps her away from Fritz
    Such a good character and cast never get tied of the reruns

  17. Teresa says:

    I think that the leak is Gabriel but he doesn’t know it. In tonights episode he introduced his girlfriend of one year. I think since she is a law student that she has been giving Goldman information without Gabriel or anyone else’s knowledge.

    • Eric says:

      Whoa! I think you may be onto something there! She did say something like, “You [Gabriel] said she was intense but I had no idea how much…” and Gabriel defended Brenda to her. Yep! I think you may have it there! The entire relationship may even be a sham setup by Goldman. This would also explain why they went out of their way to dog lawyers in this episode.

    • maryfnurse says:

      You are so smart…..Brenda WILL NOT have a break down or a baby….she is way too strong and involved in her career.

  18. Barbara Rios says:

    Not happy that the closer is ending.very unhappy

  19. Lori says:

    Gabriel will inadvertently be the leak, spilling info to his girlfriend who will be the actual leak. :(

  20. Mark says:

    Yep I bet Gabriel’s girlfriend is the leak. This will also give him an out since he’s not going to be on Major Case…..

  21. Katie says:

    I agree, I would love to see Brenda pregnant. Gabriel as the source but not the leak is close enough. I have to say as a hard core fan of this show from the beginning, I am disappointed and have not liked the last 6 episodes. I had high hopes they would send her out in style. Mom dying, Gabriel, Pope, the whining, not listeing and annoying turn they have given her to play is a turn off. I’m sad that this is how they chose to send her off. Captain Radar was a good foil for Brenda but doesn’t have the charisma to carry Major Crimes. I would be surprised if it is renewed for a 2nd season.

    • Eric says:

      I agree with you about the turn offs. They have beaten her character up for so long now (and so badly with her mother’s passing) there is no way possible to have the happy ending I was hoping for Brenda. I love her character and she deserved so much better than this. I feel sad for her (even though she isn’t real ~ ha ha). She has lost so much it’s pure devastation for her. Very disappointing.

  22. Shak says:

    I have to say, maybe because I just related to her as a smart alec southern girl myself who knows how to put on that smile and say thank yew when i have to- she has been one of my favorite all time TV characters in the Closer. Great show all together. Cant wait to see the new Show. All great played characters and scripts.

  23. Shak says:

    Kyra I understand if Kevin is starting a new show where in your familiy you would need to take turns to find time for your kids and family. But cant you pick some better movie roles? The On demands I have seen lately are below your standards.

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