Kyra Sedgwick Speaks on Concluding The Closer, Leaving a Legacy

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On July 9, The Closer will air the first of its final six episodes. Ever.

After seven enormously successful seasons on TNT, Kyra Sedgwick will be leaving her seminal role as Brenda Leigh Johnson, a departure she warned showrunner James Duff about a long time ago, giving him plenty of time to wrap up The Closer with a satisfying and worthy conclusion.

Earlier this week Sedgwick and Duff joined members of the press in a discussion about the success of the show, what to expect from the final episodes and what they hope The Closer leaves behind as its legacy.

Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda

Why did you decide it was time to leave and did Kevin [Bacon, Kyra’s husband] getting the lead role in The Following have an impact? 

Sedgwick: It was before Kevin got his gig. When I started to contemplate the idea of what a Season 8 would look like, it felt daunting and overwhelming and didn’t feel right. It felt like it was time, as an artist, for me to do something else. You have to follow your instincts. I feel like it’s wonderful that we get to go out on top and that James gets to close us out in the right way.

Duff: She gave me an opportunity to end the show in a way that I wanted to. That was a great gift of a great journey.

What do you hope that people take away from having seen The Closer?

Duff: First and foremost I hope they are entertained. The idea of doing a series is to distract people from the pressures and horrors of ordinary life. The second thing I hope they take away is this extraordinary perspective to view through the lense of this character. 

Sedgwick: I hope people have higher expectations of where their entertainment dollars can be spent. That we delivered really good stories and good characters. That viewers will seek out more than the norm and that they grew to love the character as I love her. Her complexities, her passion and through reality of being a woman in this kind of situation, and someone they could really relate to.

What will be the legacy of The Closer?

Sedgwick: Significant and seminal character in the lexicon characters ever played for a long period of time whether it be a movie or television series. I think we broke a lot of ground. We were able to consistently weave exciting storylines with deep and resonating character arcs. which is difficult, especially with a procedural.

Duff: When we created the series I wasn’t aware that we would be breaking ground. It hadn’t really occurred to me that way. I was watching other procedurals and it seemed a lot of times that they were asking women to be successful by acting like men. And that’s just not my experience in the workplace.

Women are not successful because they act like men. Femininity is a power. It is not a weakness or something that needs to be compensated for. I was very concentrated on making sure that Brenda remained a woman in this world, I hope that resonates. I think it did. I think we saw, afterwards, a lot of single female lead shows where women were not, you know, in effect dressing to disguise their femininity or overexposing themselves either. There seemed to be some acceptance that women were strong in their own right, not because they could act like men, but because they had powers as women.

What implications does the Johnson Rule have over Brenda and the team for the rest of the series?

Duff: When you create government, you end up with unforeseen problems. It becomes problematic as the solution unfolds. It was an unfair solution, but it’s the kind of solution you find. We wanted to take on the issues that public employees take on and how it impacts their work.

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The Closer's concluding six episodes will continue to feature the show's special blend of humor and drama, traits that could only exist between people who work together for such a long time.

Some of Sedgwick’s favorite stories were the courtship and love explored between Brenda and Fritz, the whole cat arc - getting the cat... and not wanting the cat... and then it becoming an intrinsic part of her life... and then the eventual demise of the cat -  as well as the fact that, no matter what age you are when your parents come to visit, you’re suddenly that 12-year old kid again who hasn’t learned anything.

Duff's favorite moment of the series will be seen in the finale. The Closer has always explored how difficult it is to find a balance to your professional and your personal life, so you make it up day-by-day, never knowing exactly where to put yourself. In one scene, James explained that Brenda is perfectly poised and balanced.

It’s exactly where he always wanted the character to end up and a scene only Kyra Sedgwick could pull off. For him, it was easily the most amazing moment of the entire series. So much builds to it. Someone mentioned it was rarefied air they were breathing, to bring a series to such a close, and James promised us on the call: “I have not oversold it!”

Although The Closer is ending, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Brenda Leigh Johnson. There is a possibility the character will be making an appearance on the upcoming spin-off, Major Crimes. That fact alone ought to inspire viewers to tune in.

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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    I think kyra was the best thing to come along in a while that was fresh southern and loyal her absence will not make me watch major crimes because her ambition, her Passion, and her southern ways made the show a spinoff is nothing more than a way to cope I wish u well kyra but u r and will always be the best closer and actress o tv I've enjoyed for s while...

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    I loved the show and all the cast. Hate to see it end. Was glas to see
    Major Crimes will be stating, looking forward to seeing it. Be blessed
    Kyra, Corey and the rest that are leaving. God bless you in all you do.

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    I started watching this show because I had a woman client from the south who was just a bit...wacko. I wanted to understand the southern feminine belle with the mind of a steel trap. Before I knew it...I was hooked on Brenda. Some of these shows just made me laugh out loud! Sorry to see it go!

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    The Closer was a great series and I will miss it. Kyra and the cast were perfect and had great chemistry. The writing was intelligent and had good plots. There aren't too many shows that can claim that: White Collar is another such great show with chemistry and good writing. The only thing I wished in The Closer is that Brenda wasn't so obsessed with her solutions for crimes and that Fritz wasn't taken so for granted by Brenda. Good luck to all involved. It was a great run!

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    I have loved loved this show Kyra S. is the best actress on TV today and I hope Major CRimes can pull off a winning show too. However last nights episode was very disappointing. I don't like the Stroh character and it isn't well acted. I am already very tired of this business with him and hope it isn't drug through the mud for 5 more episodes. Brenda is way too savvy for someone to get over on her CIA interrogating skills for such a long time. I hope we didn't wait 6 months for more of Mr. Stroh...I will not miss listening to Pope scream at Brenda as that is all he ever did. Pope does not have the right temperament to be a Chief anything.

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    We have enjoyed the show so much through all these years. An excellent cast, everyone, with excellent scripts and ideas to work with! Professionals through and through! I agree that I wish there were more, more, more of these kinds of shows on television.

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    My wife and I discovered this show late in its run; It was always up against something else we watched. We then chased all over for the reruns which were not sequential. Been watching 2008 shows lately as of July 9, 2012. Love the show and so very sorry it's leaving. Kyra should have won the Best Actress Emmy award through the years! Proud & happy she & her husband, Kevin Bacon, are long-time residents of my beloved state - Connecticut. They've done a lot of good here. Best of luck, Kyra!

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    This is the best TV show to come along in a long, long time. The writers are brilliant and the actors mesh so well in their different roles and personalities. We all got pulled into the crime situation and couldn't wait for the twists and turns that we knew were coming. Very creative writing and truly great characters. Will miss the show so much. We won't find another with the integrity of The Closer.

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    I have really enjoyed watching The Closer. It has been funny, fun & entertaining. The cast is wonderful together. I will so miss turning the channel to find Ms. Brenda with her southern accent & charismatic ways. But not only will she be missed, Ms. Sedgwick, her co stars. Mr. Simmons,Mr. Reynolds, only to name a few. Good luck with your future plans no matter what they are & thank you from the heart for the years of your life that you have shared with your viewing audience. You will be MISSED!

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    The Closer has been the most intertaining, educational and funny show I have ever been addicted to. Kyra Sedgwich is brilliant and all of the other actors compliment her and each other in a way that has never been seen before. I am devastated tha tthe show is going off the air. My mother would tape it for me each week and each weekend I would go over and watch it with her. It was our time togther and we were enthralled with every moment by moment in the show - that entertained us and surprised us more than any show that has every been on TV. I love you Kyra Sedgewick, but I understand who life has to change to grow and keep your life alive. I can't wait to see the next project or movie you take on. I WILL BE WAITING. I wish all the actors the very best in their new endeavors. Sandy