The countdown to the series finale is on for “The Closer,” which begins by airing the first of its final six episodes tonight.
In the seventh season, the drama is heightened as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) and the members of the Major Case squad amp up the volume on solving crimes, getting confessions and trying to stay out of trouble with the brass.
“I think the last six episodes are among our very best,” Sedgwick says. “I think you certainly want to see how this journey ends. I know that people are looking forward to seeing that. There are a lot of important loose ends that need tying up, and like I said, I think these are some of our very best episodes in the way that ‘The Closer’ can do it, which is really, really great stories and mysteries, but also these great characters that everyone has grown to know and love.”
So what can fans look forward to?
On Monday night’s episode, Brenda thinks she has finally cornered her longtime nemesis, lawyer and suspected rapist and murderer Philip Stroh (Billy Burke), when his latest client shows signs of cracking under pressure. But her obsession with Stroh could cost Brenda her job — and possibly even her life.
Also, in the final six episodes, Brenda’s parents (Frances Sternhagen and Barry Corbin) return, so her father can get help from a cancer specialist Brenda met while on a case. Of course, this causes a lot of distraction in her and Fitz’s (Jon Tenney) lives, but it also allows viewers to see the human side of Brenda, where she is just a daughter, and not a powerful member of the L.A.P.D.
And since “Major Crimes” will be premiering after the final episode of “The Closer” airs on Monday, August 13, there will be a buildup to Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) taking over the Major Case squad as throughout these final episodes, Raydor and Chief Pope (J.K. Simmons) continue investigating the mysterious leak in the department that fueled a federal lawsuit against Brenda — with a very surprising result.
But before all the action begins, Sedgwick talked to XfinityTV in this exclusive interview about why the time was right to end the series, how hard it was to film her final scene, what she plans to do next, and what she feels Brenda’s legacy is.
So why did you decide the time was right to leave?
I didn’t want to overstay our welcome. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning and not want to go to work. I would never want to feel like we were repeating ourselves, though, I never felt like we did. I felt like seven years was a really a long time, a very big part of my artistic career. I felt as an artist it was time for me to create elsewhere and try other things.
Watch a Classic Episode of “The Closer”:
How hard it was to shoot the final scene?
I had a hard time getting through it. It was a scene where I am basically saying goodbye to my squad. It was really rough and very emotional. Brenda would be emotional, too, so it kind of worked, but I was too much life in art — a little too much crossover. We had to work around the tears. It was really, really sad. Even though you know it is the right thing, and it still felt like the right thing, it was very sad. I really love these people and I love this character.
Did you take any mementos from the set?
My longtime hairdresser — who also directed a few episodes — Stacey K. Black, and Emilio Anorve, my set costumer, put together this really beautiful seven-year scrapbook. My nickname on the set is mama for lots of different reasons and the title of the scrapbook is “Seven Years of Drama with Mama.” It is a beautiful group of photographs, quotes and stories. It is just great.
Can you remember back to the beginning and what it was about Brenda that made you want to take the job in the first place?
I thought she was a really interesting, complex, real character. I could see the potential in her. I could see many places to take the character and the situation she was in. I heard her voice, I saw her, I could relate to her, and I thought it was a great opportunity to play someone who was really far away from who I was. It was not like I read [the pilot script] and thought, “This could be a breakout phenomenal hit,” or “This could be an important, seminal female character for our time,” but I saw her as a complex female character and I thought it had a lot of potential.
When you wrap up something like this, do you think, “No more TV series,” or would you consider doing another?
I think some of the best work is being done in television now. I think it has some of the best writing, directing and acting and I want to be a part of that, so, while my dream has always been to do a lot more film, I can certainly see myself doing another series.
Might you guest on Kevin’s [hubby Kevin Bacon has a new FOX series "The Following"] show or “Major Crimes”?
We will see about “Major Crimes.” That is definitely a possibility. Kevin never guested on my show, so I seriously doubt that is going to happen. We try to work with each other … we are very picky about the times that happens. Doing it too frequently, people will start to think it is weird.
But he directed your show…
He did, but that is different.
Your kids are older, so you are not planning on taking a mom break, are you? Will you be looking for projects?
I will be looking for projects. It will be nice to have a summer at home. I haven’t had a summer in New York in seven years, so I said to Kev, “The city looks much better when it is green.” He said, “Yeah, it does.” So, I am happy to do that for a bit. I am always looking for something great. I love hard work.
What do you think Brenda’s legacy will be? Has the character had an impact on women?
I think she has. I think the fact that it was such a successful show with a female lead character past the age of 35, I think it paved the way for a lot of other successful series with women leads. I think it already has been a legacy. Look at the landscape of cable TV, or even TV, from when “The Closer” started to now. There are a lot more female driven shows. For me, I hope people demand good drama with good stories and complex characters and wonderful character arcs. I hope they demand that in the next shows they are watching and don’t settle. I think we always tried to entertain and move, as well as had these good story arcs, as well as a good procedural. I hope people continue to make that a mandate of whatever they choose to watch.
The final six episodes of “The Closer” begin airing tonight at 9/8c on TNT.