Is it hard to say goodbye to a career that has truly been wonderfully complicated? That’s part of the premise behind the final episodes of TNT’s hit show “The Closer,” which has taken some unexpected twists and will continue to do more before the last episode airs.
“The Closer” followed Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) as she navigated through the murky waters of the Los Angeles criminal justice system. Unfortunately, Brenda had made some professional mistakes that made her the subject of two lawsuits, which both had ended before they began. She was forced to operate within some very strict professional guidelines imposed by her boss Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons) and her rival Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell). Luckily, Brenda had the support of her FBI Agent husband Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney) when her job got to be too much. She also had to find out if there was a traitor in Major Crimes who was willing to betray her for any reason. There was the constantly ignored Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett) or the eager-to-advance Sgt. David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds). She always knew that it wasn’t the always comedic pairing of Lieutenant Provenza (G.W. Bailey) and Detective Andy Flynn (Tony Denison) who always tried to make the best of their professional blunders. Will Brenda be able to handle the truth when it comes out? What will she do if her career gets put in jeopardy one more time?
In terms of unsolved mysteries, the biggest one that “The Closer” will have to solve is how it will end. The series finale won’t likely be a tragic one, because that would definitely be a low blow to the show’s fans who stuck around for seven glorious seasons. The most logical conclusion would be to have Brenda’s actions catch up with her and force her to look for a life outside of the LAPD. Last night’s premiere had given a few hints of that being more than a possibility as Brenda was repeatedly lectured for obsessively going after a possible bad guy who knew how to get through legal loopholes. Sedgwick brilliantly demonstrated Brenda’s shock and utter sadness as the job she loved seemed to be turning on her. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to Sedgwick’s charmingly complex Brenda and her love for Chocolate. Let’s hope that TNT will allow Brenda a graceful enough exit to make room for a return someday in whatever form.
In terms of breakout performances, McDonnell deserved some major credit because she had the dubious task of raking someone over the coals that she had come to respect. Hopefully, she will get a chance to show that there was more to her character than met the eye in TNT’s upcoming spin-off “Major Crimes,” which seemed to be coming on the air a little too fast. TNT should give viewers time to adjust before immediately putting something on the air to replace “The Closer,” because nothing could easily replace Sedgwick’s uniquely sharp charm as Brenda. Sedgwick gave the show its edge as she allowed viewers to examine each case through her character’s mind. Luckily, McDonnell’s character is the exact opposite of Sedgwick’s Brenda that could either be a blessing in disguise or a curse for the show. It’s too early to tell if it’ll be the former or latter of the two.
“The Closer” premiered on July 9th and airs Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on TNT. “Major Crimes” premieres right after “The Closer” series finale at 10:00 p.m. on August 13th.
Verdict: A show that’s getting the farewell it deserves.
TV Score: 4 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)