TV Review: Kyra Sedgwick Leaves ‘The Closer’ on Dramatic High
CHICAGO – Evil doesn’t take a break for Brenda Leigh Johnson to leave the Major Crimes Unit and Kyra Sedgwick to say goodbye to the show that turned her into one of the bigger TV stars of the last decade. TNT’s “The Closer” ends tonight, August 13, 2012 with a very strong series finale. Sure, the final moments feel a bit rushed (almost as if the producers didn’t want to linger too long on Sedgwick’s departure given the fact that they wanted you to stick around for “Major Crimes,” premiering immediately after it) but this episode satisfies so many of the marks on the checklist of what we want from a series finale. I can’t imagine fans being truly disappointed as they say an emotional goodbye to someone who felt like a friend.
Television Rating: 4.0/5.0
What’s on that checklist? Most importantly, don’t break the pattern. We come to “The Closer” to see crimes solved and it would have been a mistake to produce a finale that was all about Brenda leaving. To that end, the final episode of “The Closer” features one of the biggest cases of Johnson’s career and a character we’ve come to know well getting involved with her life for a final time. When the episode opened with practically the entire unit investigating a graveyard of young women discovered after a street hustler interrupted the latest burial, I was happy to see that the finale wouldn’t be too far outside the norm.
Photo credit: Karen Neal/TNT
Second, don’t change the character. We don’t want to see Brenda go out in a way that doesn’t seem organic to the development of her character over the years. The writers of “The Closer” give her a fitting farewell and the emotional moments in the final act are beautifully underplayed. Johnson isn’t the kind of character who needs an entire episode of goodbyes and it would have been disastrous if they had forced her to do something out of character to push her out the door. She crosses several lines in the final episode but in ways that feel right.
What’s the series finale of “The Closer” about? Clearly, I’ve been avoiding too much detail. A new character that will be carried over to “Major Crimes” is introduced, a street hustler who turns out to be arguably the most important witness of Johnson’s career. An old character returns. And Brenda makes some notable mistakes with a villain who may be smarter than she is especially given her current state of emotional distress. She crosses a definite line. One she can’t come back from.
Kyra Sedgwick’s performance over the last decade of “The Closer” is undeniably one of TV’s best. There’s a consistency that she brought to cable TV that will be missed moving forward even if “Major Crimes” ends up being the hit that TNT hopes it will be. I’m truly happy for the very loyal fans of this show that their favorite series ends with a dramatically rich, engaging, and series-consistent finale.