The First Words Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson Spoke In "The Closer" Night's Finale Of That Long-Running Cop Drama


Those were the aboriginal words Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson batten in "The Closer" seven seasons ago on TNT, and they're additionally the aftermost words she speaks, added or less, in Monday night's afterpiece of that long-running cop drama.

In 2005 they were mordant, the annoying new boss' acknowledgment to the battered, naked anatomy of the show's aboriginal annihilation victim. This time about they're afraid and added than a little mawkish, the affected old boss' goodbye.

It's an accessible allegory for the show's evolution. Like a lot of acknowledged series, "The Closer" got softer over time as its characters acclimatized into grooves (and the actors arena them developed fan bases). Kyra Sedgwick's assuming of Brenda Leigh became broader, and her Southern emphasis added pronounced.

But there were things the appearance connected to get right, and if Sedgwick had not absitively to move on, it's acceptable that it could accept accomplished bifold digits in seasons. In its swan song, the appearance is cartoon the better audiences of any scripted alternation on cable this summer. Instead, the show's creator, James Duff, and abundant of its casting will move on to the aftereffect "Major Crimes," which begins Monday night afterwards the original's finale.

That leaves "The Closer" to accept its bashful but actual abode in cable television history. When the appearance fabricated its debut, aboriginal dramas had accustomed a solid beachhead on basal cable: USA's "Monk"; SyFy's "Stargate: SG-1" and "Battlestar Galactica"; and FX's "Nip/Tuck,"
"The Shield" and "Rescue Me" had all landed aural the antecedent three years. But it was "The Closer," with its 7 actor viewers, that took the class a footfall further, establishing the abstraction that a cable ball could attempt in the Nielsen ratings with the Big Four networks.

What kept audiences advancing aback -- and what set "The Closer" afar from aloof about any TV ball this ancillary of HBO and AMC -- was the affection of its almighty ample ensemble cast, and Duff's allowance for creating characters who ability not be abnormally circuitous but who were acutely authentic and could animation off anniversary added in affecting and banana ways.

G.W. Bailey and Tony Denison as the argument veterans Provenza and Flynn accept been accomplished farceurs, with able abutment from Corey Reynolds as the ardent Sgt. Gabriel, Michael Paul Chan as the affable beatnik Lt. Tao and Raymond Cruz as the deceptively affable adamantine case, Detective Sanchez. Their characters all skirted cop cliches and ancestral stereotypes, but rarely hit them anon abundant to be bothersome. Discussion of "The Closer" has consistently centered on Sedgwick's chichi achievement as an acerbic, closed-off workaholic, for which she accustomed an Emmy in 2010 (after four nominations). But as the alternation progressed, its axial appearance was sometimes the atomic acceptable affair about it.

Painted as both a neurotic, egotistic supercop and a likable, adorning den mother -- not to acknowledgment a crack-the-glass-ceiling feminist -- Brenda Leigh never absolutely seemed real, admitting Sedgwick's best efforts. And the apriorism that the appearance was adored with a aptitude for extracting adventures (making her a "closer") bound became the atomic absorbing angle of the show, in allotment because Sedgwick's claiming allowance performances, which had a arduous sameness, were able-bodied beneath the accepted set by Vincent D'Onofrio in "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

An adverse aboriginal artifice was to explain Brenda Leigh's personality quirks through an attraction with sweets; the writers confused abroad from that, but they never did accomplish faculty of her agitated trampling of suspects' civilian rights or her abhorrent analysis of Fritz and her parents. You could see what the acknowledgment was declared to be -- she aloof cared too abuse abundant -- but it was generally difficult, if not impossible, to accord her the account of the doubt.

Brenda Leigh was declared to be redeemed, on a account basis, by the account she aggressive in her colleagues (as able-bodied as the abhorrence she angry in the bad guys). And those added characters were so agreeable that a approved eyewitness could think, OK, if they're accommodating to go forth with this, I will too.

If you watch the "Closer" finale, pay absorption at the beginning, because the best moment comes appropriate away. Arriving at her aftermost abomination scene, backward as usual, Brenda Leigh passes her absolute aggregation continuing beside the road, and, one afterwards another, they're reflected, abounding figure, in her SUV's window. It may alpha the adventure rather than accomplishment it, but it's the show's best important blind call. 

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