Brenda Leigh Johnson, aka Kyra Sedgwick, will say her last, “Thank you, thank you very much,” this summer, as the TNT hit drama comes to a close. The series allowed one of the industry’s great talents, Sedgwick, to truly shine. She made Brenda her own, developing her quirky personality with each episode until we felt like we knew this Southern crime fighter and wanted her on our case. We were hooked from the first “hello,” and here’s 10 reasons why we love Brenda:
Although Kyra Sedgwick is The Closer, she is surrounded by a stellar supporting cast whose personalities and back stories unfold over time. Will Pope, played by the superb J.K. Simmons, is Brenda’s boss and past lover, while FBI Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney) eventually wins her over. In the squad room, Brenda clashes with Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett), who sees her as an interloper, but eventually she earns the loyalty of her crew. Sgt. David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) is Brenda’s right hand man, while Sgt. Tao (Michael Paul Chan), the forensic expert, becomes a vital player in helping nail the perpetrator, and Detective Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), proves he’s willing to risk his life for the job. But our favorites have to be Detective Andy Flynn (Tony Denison) and Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey), who are in our favorite episode, choosing to go to a Dodger game rather than report a dead body in Provenza’s garage. Go team!
Kitty comes into Brenda’s life when she investigates the murder of a young Russian woman who was forced into a life of prostitution by the Russian mob. Brenda refers to Kitty as “he” even after the cat gives birth to an adorable litter of fluffy gray kittens. Brenda’s love for Kitty deepens over time and how we cry in the episode when Brenda makes the difficult decision to have the cat put to sleep. Soon, the orange tabby Joel takes up residence in Brenda’s home and heart.
3. She has her own fashion sense.
The show’s costume designers deserve kudos for selecting Brenda’s wardrobe. She brings her own Southern fashion sense to fashion-conscious Los Angeles with no apologies, even when the elegantly tailored Detective Irene Daniels reluctantly criticizes Brenda’s clothing choices. There are bright colors, clashing patterns, and plenty of sweater sets. More Talbot’s than Versace, bringing Brenda’s style within the reach of all her fans. We love it!
Behind every successful woman is a set of overbearing parents. And Brenda’s fit the bill. Played by the marvelous Frances Sternhagen and Barry Corbin, the duo keep turning up in L.A., unwilling to understand the pressures of Brenda’s job. Yet they are always in her corner, even driving their RV cross country from Atlanta to help deliver a fugitive responsible for an armored car robbery in California. Sternhagen, in particular, delivers an emotionally nuanced performance each time, trying to reconcile her maternal instincts to protect her daughter with the realization that Brenda’s job will always put her in harm’s way.
5. She’s smarter than the men.
Brenda proves over and over again that brains win out over brawn. The men may have it all over her when it comes to wrestling a suspect to the ground, but Brenda’s smarts close the case. Each episode has that “ah-ha” moment when something clicks in Brenda’s mind and the pieces fall into place. She’s always miles ahead of everyone else and we love those scenes when jaws drop in the squad room. The very first episode in the series, when she nabs the killer by proving that the victim was a woman masquerading as a man, sets the stage.
Brenda is a master when interviewing suspects. She’s not adverse to playing up her sex, tousling her hair and unbuttoning her top to use everything she has to distract and engage her target. She often will befriend a suspect, smiling and empathizing with their predicament. When the person’s defenses are down, that’s when she comes in for the kill.
Brenda’s mission is to get justice for her victims. She will stop at nothing to make sure that happens. Oftentimes she uses unconventional methods to make sure the criminal pays and later is made to account for her efforts. When one young man flees to Mexico after killing a young woman, Brenda makes sure the Mexican authorities arrest him, earning him a far worse fate.
Brenda has her weakness—sugar. And not just sugar, but those overly sweet chocolate covered marshmallow pies. Unwrapping the foil, pure ecstasy on her face, she knows what so many of us know—sugar can be better than sex.
9. She hates shopping.
In a shopping center trying to nab a bomber, it’s Fritz, not Brenda who wants to shop. “Things are bad enough without shopping,” she tells Fritz with a sigh. Yet Brenda is a girlie-girl, undergoing a makeover in order to capture a killer, she admires her new hairdo, makeup, and bright red dress. And when she dons her mother’s white gown for the big event, she glows.
As Fritz, Jon Tenney is loving, supportive, and downright sexy. We can’t forget, however, that Sedgwick’s real life husband, Kevin Bacon, fits that description, too. Sedgwick and Bacon have been married since 1988 and have two children, Travis and Sosie, who appeared as Brenda’s niece, Charlie, in several episodes. Bacon also directed several episodes of The Closer so, in some respects, the show has been a family affair.
Past seasons of The Closer are available on DVD and chances are reruns will turn up on TNT and other cable networks.