A Night Celebrating THE CLOSER and A Look At Where the Show Is Going (2011)

The long running TNT series about a uniquely persuasive police investigator who “closes” cases simply by eliciting confessions, THE CLOSER stars Kyra Sedgwick along with her charming and more often than not hilarious castmates who make up the sterling ensemble, which includes Jon Tenney, Corey Reynolds, Robert Gossett, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, Philip P. Keene, Jonathan Del Arco and J.K. Simmons.  New to the series and taking over the spotlight as Kyra exits the series is Mary McDonnell, who will helm the spinoff series MAJOR CRIMES, which debuts next year.


In a television landscape bursting with police procedurals, what distinguishes THE CLOSER is not only its razor-sharp writing, but also its ability to imbue its characters with loving detail that elevates and compliments the stories without become fully immersed into their private lives.  The delicate balance of crime and companionship makes it addictive.  Being the highest rated cable series for five years in a row, averaging more than 8 million viewers, THE CLOSER is a proven success and fan-favorite.  When it first debuted with Kyra Sedgwick as its focal star, it was unprecedented, but a risk that paid off handsomely and one which other networks have tried to emulate.


Now in its 7thseason and making its way towards its series finale, which airs mid-summer 2012, the show took time out to celebrate its upcoming 100th episode and its phenomenal success.  On August 27th, the cast, producers, writers and other select guests celebrated at the Universal Sheraton where they took a few moments to chat with the press and pose for pictures.  Being invited to such a wonderful event, TheTVaddict had the opportunity to talk with a few of the show’s stars, including Kyra Sedgwick, Corey Reynolds, Robert Gossett, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan and Jonathan Del Arco.  Videos of those quick interviews are posted here for your enjoyment:

After touching briefly upon the current hot-button mystery of who is the leak or “mole” within the Major Crimes Division who is giving information to plaintiff’s counsel in the civil suit brought against Brenda Leigh Johnson and the Los Angeles Police Department for the death of Terrell Baylor, the cast also briefly discussed the new spinoff series MAJOR CRIMES.  As can be seen, each was reluctant to spoil who the department snitch is or when that particular storyline will be resolved, but they were more candid about their hopes to be a part of the upcoming series with Mary McDonnell, whom they all raved about.


Mary McDonnell, the Oscar-nominated actress for her portrayal in “Dances With Wolves” and who won critical praise for her portrayal as President Laura Roslin in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, took a 3-episode guest appearance arc on THE CLOSER and quickly expanded it not only into a recurring role, but also then nabbed the opportunity to helm its spinoff MAJOR CRIMES.  Given her popularity in both genre and non-genre television and her impressive array of theatrical performances, Mary is a great coup for the series.  However, as beloved as Kyra is by the cast and crew of THE CLOSER, not to mention the stalwart fans, it is a daunting task for any actor to try to replace such a popular and successful actor.  But using their time wisely, the producers and writers have crafted a character and storyline for Mary’s character Captain Sharon Raydor which has won over hearts both on and off the show.


With the department leak storyline hanging over them and not wishing to reveal who it is prematurely, it is hard to say whether all the remaining cast will be appearing in the MAJOR CRIMES series next year, but each seems to be vying heavily for the chance to continue their desirable roles in the new series.  None is quite ready to say goodbye and is eager to reprise their characters.  So not only are the cast going to miss the heart of their current series in Kyra, but they have fallen in love with Mary and do not hesitate to share their admiration of these incredible women spear-heading such difficult and thorny roles.


As any fan knows, the character Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson may look disarmingly tiny and frail and talks with a charming Southern accent, but underneath that deceptive exterior persona is a calculating investigator who relentless pursues criminals and will use any tactic at her disposal to get them to confess to their dastardly crimes – thereby, closing the book on their case.  A confession is nearly tantamount to a guilty plea.  It’s a slam-dunk.  But with the addition of the newly created character Captain Sharon Raydor who acts in a quasi-internal affairs capacity, investigating possible police misconduct, Mary McDonnell has had to assimilate into a different kind of character.  Captain Raydor is not so much a “closer” as much as she is a blood-hound, albeit a much more gentle and soft-spoken one.  She also has a heightened awareness for social and political ramifications, for which, more often than not, Brenda is oblivious.


So the different approaches and different ways of perceiving how to solve a crime and ensure that justice is obtained, MAJOR CRIMES will undoubtedly seek to be a show that high-lights the different skill sets of Captain Raydor.  Mary was the first to laughingly admit that she is not yet privy to what may be Captain Raydor’s “secret weapon” – the tool she uses to capture criminals, but she is confident that the show’s producers and writers are hard at work at coming up with just the perfect tactic to employ.  So with changes afoot and a new show to launch seamlessly on the heels of Kyra’s departure from THE CLOSER next year, there is much to look forward to and we are sure to be surprised and pleased when MAJOR CRIMES debuts.


In the meantime, THE CLOSER continues to ramp-up its story about the civil suit and the inter-department leak, we will be breathlessly awaiting the fates of all the characters as the clock ticks down.  The one thing everyone did agree upon was that they are confident that their fans will love where both shows are going and they invite everyone to be a part of this amazing journey.

THE CLOSER airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. on TNT.  It will air its mid-season finale on September 12th, returning November 28thfor 5 more episodes and then returning in Summer 2012 to conclude its final season.  Don’t miss one second of it!

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