Legions of fans and critics alike did express disappointment when Kyra Sedgewick announced that she wouldn’t return to TNT’s crime drama. Though her stubborn, southern-born Brenda Leigh Johnson’s absence will be sorely missed on our living room television sets, her final curtain call is memorable.
The Closer, the Final Season (2011) USA TV Show Review
Seven young people have been found dead in a music producer’s home. With a briefcase full of cash in the home, investigators assume that the five boys in the home have gang ties. Then, two of them, brothers, suggest otherwise. Wanting to solve her case and give the victims her full attention, Deputy Chief Johnson (Sedgewick) soon finds she has bigger problems that revolve around politics and a re-organization in the LAPD’s divisions. The best thing about it is that Brenda is keeping her job and the Major Crimes division will stay but one of the most notable changes is that interim Chief Will Pope (J.K Simmons) will not be given the position permanently.
Chief Delk (Courtney B. Vance) has the job and Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett) becomes Brenda’s immediate boss. Upset over having to answer to the man she butts heads with from the beginning, Brenda gets another shock when a wrongful death lawsuit lands on her desk. I.A Captain, Sharon Rayder (Mary McDonnell) is again a thorn in her side. Only this time, Rayder’s investigation is Brenda’s entire squad.
Clues in their murder investigation lead them to a missing girlfriend and a cocky music producer. Meanwhile Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey) wants to know what Rayder’s presence means in their squad room. Lt. Andy Flynn (Tony Denison) seems less interested while Lt. Tao (Michael Paul Chan) and Detective Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) also see their murder case as more deserving of attention. It isn’t until everyone but Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) receives a subpoena they learn what Raydor’s internal audit is all about. Learning the lawsuit affects her entire squad, and their tech guy, Buzz (Phillip P. Keene) is something she doesn’t handle well. Even her one source of encouragement, her FBI husband, Fritz (Jon Tenney) may not be immune from the lawsuit.
I’m sad this is all I will see of the crack female investigator whose southern “please” and “thank-you” is a kind of TV icon. Though I am not fond of the opening titles in The Closer, the premiere episode of this season is phenomenal. The slow motion introduction to the beloved characters is poignant because viewers understand this is the beginning of the end. Season seven has a challenging set of goals to complete. First and foremost it needs to offer loyal fans a fitting good-bye to the memorable Brenda. Secondly it launches the series spin-off, Major Crimes.
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Before I get too far into my thoughts about the end of Brenda’s reign, I have to say something. “Death Warrant” is the first episode where it becomes clear that Sharon may be TOTALLY AWESOME. What that all entails will be for you to discover. Prior to watching the finale, I did hear that the end was “good” and didn’t jip Brenda out of the farewell she deserves. Sometimes the conclusion is cliché and some even share a perspective I don’t glean from the finale AT ALL. Curious how we all parallel things to mean something different, isn’t it? All I feel is regret that TNT values their ratings more than leaving The Closer intact. Having said that, the end is perfect – especially considering all that cumulates until that moment. Horribly sad (some in traditional ways, others not so much) but still perfect in every way.
Unfortunately for writer’s, there is one cliché or two that didn’t need to be a part of the “big” reveal in who the snitch was. I can appreciate it but I don’t like who is indirectly involved because it’s too obvious. Less of a cliché would have been flooring us by implicating another person. Still… I appreciate Brenda leaves on her own terms and isn’t forced out like the police brass desperately want. Nothing until this point felt “rushed” or as if writer’s really didn’t know what to do with the plot so they hurriedly propped it up. The Closer, thankfully showed no such signs.
Though I have my “issues” with Kyra Sedwick’s decision not to renew a contract, I do think the final moments are fantastic. It’s hard to say “good-bye” to a character after being a part of your life for seven years – especially the loveable mess that was Brenda, but there was so much at stake in this final season and the writer’s rose to every occasion. The show surprises by presenting Brenda with an unexpected loss – one that forces her to rethink everything, excites us in with so many of its cases and even brings a tear or two. If a show must end, The Closer goes out in style. And, that is said with the highest regard.
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Content: cameras capture dozens of bodies in various states of decomposition. Occasionally, there are also scenes involving the autopsy. Conversation certainly revolves around how the person died [gunshot wounds, strangling, stabbed, etc.], and some murders also suggest rape and the victim’s condition when she was examined. Two episodes re-visit a serial rapist. Some
characters are shot or must shoot at suspects, in the finale, Brenda is beat up. There is some mild profanity and some mild sexual innuendos. The rating is TV14.