the north face venture Kyra Sedgwick confesses her reasons for leaving ‘The Closer’ Includes interview and first
“I think we were in the middle of shooting gosh, it must have been Season Six actually when I started to contemplate the idea of, ‘What will a Season Eight look like?'” Kyra Sedgwick reveals of the initial moment she began thinking it was time to say goodbye to her leading role as Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on the phenomenally entertaining and ultra popular hit show The Closer. “Afterwards, it was something that I struggled with for many, many months almost a year really before I made the tough decision to leave. I just couldn’t see myself doing the show past Season Seven. It just felt like time, mostly for me as an artist, time for me to do something else.”
Sedgwick didn’t experience any personal or divine revelation urging her to walk away from the series that turned her into one of the top female actresses on television. “There really wasn’t an epiphany of any kind,” the 46 year old, New York City born Sedgwick says with a hint of Brenda’s Southern accent. “It was just the idea of doing a Season Eight I think felt daunting to me and overwhelming, and sort of just didn’t feel right. I think as an actor you really kind of just have to follow your instincts. And it was a hard decision because you’re putting so many other people out of work and there was just a lot of factors that go into making that kind of decision.”
Chief Johnson (Sedgwick) and some of the men who help her garner confessions. Bailey and Tony DennisonOne of the main factors that influenced Sedgwick’s decision was the fact that while she has spent the past eight years filming The Closer (for approximately six to nine months out of each year), she felt as though she was missing some of the most important milestones in the lives of her two children with her husband, actor Kevin Bacon. The Closer was filmed in Los Angeles, and the Bacon/Sedgwick family call New York City home. Her daughter, 20 year old Sosie Bacon (who appeared as Chief Johnson’s troubled niece “Charlie” on several episodes of The Closer) and her 23 year old Travis Bacon (who had a part in his mom and dad’s 2005 film, Loverboy), would see a great deal of their mother on weekends, holidays and long hiatuses while she was filming the show, but for Sedgwick, it just wasn’t enough. “When you are a mother, you want to experience everything your children go through,” Kyra says softly. “And when they are teenagers, there are so many things they have to deal with for the first time, and I wasn’t always there for some of their important school events and ceremonies and some of those life changing personal moments just the little things that go with being a mother of teenagers. I spend as much time with them as I could, but I felt I needed to spend more. I love being a mother, and I felt like it was time I put more time into it. “I feel like it’s wonderful that we get to go out on top,” the Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress admits. investigator (a Southern belle sounding cop transplanted from home of Atlanta, Georgia) who put some of Los Angeles’ most brutal killers behind bars as the head of the department’s Major Crimes Division. With her keen investigative instincts and brilliant interrogation techniques, Brenda often closed her cases by eliciting a confession or cornering a suspect through sometimes questionable methods.
However, by The Seventh and Final Season of The Closer (available on DVD on August 21), Chief Johnson’s career appeared as if it was on the line as a result of her frequently unorthodox methods. Despite the whirlwind of controversy building around her, Brenda was determined to continue doing her job the best that she could, and she expected the same of her squad members. Together, they took on some of the toughest cases of their careers, including a massacre that involved an up and coming rapper; a house sitter who is killed while the family who hired her is on vacation; the death of a cross dressing minister; a registered offender who is found buried under a retaining wall; the death of a Santa Claus who is killed in a zip line accident and the murder of an aspiring teenage pop star’s father. Brenda’s fate as a police chief, a wife and woman comes to a head in the Season Seven’s final episode (which airs on TNT on Monday, August 12). Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, Phillip P. Keene and Jon Tenney Brenda Leigh Johnson’s career and life hangs in the balance during the show’s final episode. “James (Duff) wrote one of the most incredible endings it’s a perfect farewell for Brenda,” Sedgwick explains. SPOILER ALERT: If you have seen the commercials for the finale and The Closer spin off, Major Crimes which stars two time Academy Award nominee Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galatica), Brenda’s sometime ally and thorn in the side cop contemporary, Captain Sharon Raydor Brenda Leigh Johnson does not die. In fact, Sedgwick reveals we may not have seen the last of Chief Johnson. Kyra lets out that she might make a few guest appearance on Major Crimes (its first episode airs right after The Closer finale). “I’d love to show up on Major Crimes,” Sedgwick says of her chances she may pop up on the spin off from time to time. “I mean, it’s definitely a possibility.”
With three new motion pictures under her belt for release this year and next Kill Your Darlings, Chlorine and this fall’s horror film, The Possession and her hubby of 24 years, Kevin Bacon (who directed several episodes of The Closer), starring in his own police/FBI television thriller, The Following, this fall, Sedgwick is taking a tiny break before moving on with her career and her life. “I will always love having been a part of The Closer,” she confesses. “The years I spent on it were some of the best of my career and of my life. I’m really happy with the way we ended it, and I think fans will be happy with it, too. I’ll always love Brenda Leigh, she taught me how to be a better actress and to appreciate life. It’s been a great time,
and I’ll always treasure it and the fans who loved it as much as we all did.”
“I feel like I hope that people have higher expectations of where their entertainment dollar can be spent. I feel like we really delivered great stories and great characters, and I hope that this will make them speak out encourage them to speak out about really good shows and not be satisfied with the norm or the simple things. I also so hope as an actor that they really grew to understand and love this character as I love her and her complexities and her passion and through the reality of being a woman in this kind of situation, and someone that they could really relate to.”
Now, what did you take away from set as your souvenir?
“I didn’t take away anything from the set. (laughs) I didn’t actually take away any material things. Everyone on that set will the cast as well as the crew always have a very, very special place in my heart. I was given a beautiful sort of seven year yearbook from my makeup and my costume team. And they’ve taken many, many pictures over the years and they interviewed people and they put together this, you know, like a yearbook, but for over the last seven years, and that was a really beautiful, beautiful memento to take away and it’s all in there.”
I’ve watched your films over the years (Phenomenon, Secondhand Lions, Man On The Ledge), and to me, you’ve always been a star but The Closer put you over the top of the Tinsel Town celebrity scale. We all know who Kyra Sedgwick is, and we’ll never forget who you were as Brenda, and the amazing performance that garnered you so many awards. Do you feel a sense of how your career has changed since being on The Closer? After starting the series, did you feel that sense that you had moved up the Hollywood ladder further, or did that something that you paid attention to or even considered?
“I guess we think that it’s made a difference in my recognition factor, for sure. And I think that people know my name now, and I think that’s always a good thing. And I think The Closer afforded me the opportunity to really show my wares and show the places that I was capable of going as an actor the dark places and the funny places. And I’ll never forget that. I mean, that has been an opportunity that I never really knew that I was going to get. This character went everywhere emotionally, and I loved that.”
Something that I’ve always loved about The Closer is the ability of the show to go from, as you said, those dark places to the funny places. And The Closer has been unique that you can do that in one episode where you can be laughing out loud one second and the next minute you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, did that really just happen?” and really feel for the characters and what they’re going through. It’s something that continued throughout the final six episodes. But, is the final episode going to be a pretty dramatic ending for the show?
“I would say it’s a dramatic ending but there’s a really fun romp in Episode 2, the second episode of the final six. And yes, there’s always an element of humor. I don’t think we could do our job as well as we do if we didn’t have an element of humor. I mean, there’s always a gallows humor within any kind of law enforcement. With cops, they always have gallows humor, but there’s also just the interpersonal, recognizable things about each other when you’re with a family or a cast for a long time. There’s a lot of interpersonal winks and people are still who they are, even in the midst of the most dramatic circumstances. So, there are still a lot of laughs and a lot of good character fun stuff.”
“That’s always so tough for me. I feel like we have so many years to choose from it’s hard to pull out some favorites. I’m always most intrigued and feel most satisfied by the character arcs. And by those I mean some of the character arcs with Fritz and Brenda. I loved the their whole courtship, and then when he finally asks her to marry him in that doctor’s office, in between tears of realizing that’s she’s suffering from peri menopausal symptoms brought out on by just stress that have to be operated on. He asked her to marry her in the most inopportune moment, but it’s beautiful and funny and wonderful. I loved the whole cat arc, getting the cat and her not wanting the cat, and then the cat becoming an intrinsic part of her life, and then the eventual demise of the cat.”
“I loved the personal moments with some of her squad. Like when Detective Raymond Sanchez’s brother died and she had to be there for him in a very special and different way. Moments when she had to have Gabriel turn in his badge and his gun after he beats up the pedophile. I thought that was very difficult for her and he was her favorite. And I loved that personal moment, so those were among my favorites.”
Did you leaving The Closer have anything to do with your hubby, Kevin (Bacon), getting his TV series, The Following?
“No, it was before Kevin got his gig.
How do you feel about Kevin (Bacon) getting his own show The Following (created by Kevin Williamson, the man behind The Vampire Diaries and the Scream film franchise)?
“I’m thrilled for him. I mean, I think it’s such a satisfying venue and it’s so exciting to work to stick with a character for many years if you get that opportunity. And it’s so wonderful to work with a family. I mean, Kevin’s always been very loyal and very much a family oriented person, and I think that for those of us who like to have recognizable faces and people that we love and that support us and help us to do our very best work around us, it’s really it’s a unique opportunity and I’m thrilled for him. I’m really excited.”
When The Closer became the first original programming from TNT, over seven years ago, it was hailed as sort of a groundbreaking show and Brenda was really kind of a revolutionary female character. What do you guys think will be the legacy of this show after it’s over? How will people remember it?
“Again, I hope that they will think of it as I mean, I see her as a significant and sentinel character in the lexicon of female characters ever played for a long period of time, whether it’s a movie series or a
television series. I think we broke a lot of ground and I think that we were able to consistently weave exciting storylines with deep and resonating character arcs. And I think that that’s something that’s very hard to do, especially in a procedural. And I think that we accomplished that.”
The Closer: The Complete Seventh and Final Season DVD will be available on August 21, 2012.
The final episode of The Closer airs on Monday, August 12, 2012 at 9:00 EST/8:00 CST on the TNT Network in the United States (In Canada, check local listings)