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The Closer

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8.6/10 TV

Original language(s)  English
No. of episodes  109 (list of episodes)
Network  TNT
7.6/10 IMDb

Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons  7
Final episode date  13 August 2012
Spin-off  Major Crimes
The Closer wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners185157p185157
Created by  James Duff Michael M. Robin Greer Shephard
Starring  Kyra Sedgwick J. K. Simmons Corey Reynolds Robert Gossett G. W. Bailey Tony Denison Michael Paul Chan Raymond Cruz Phillip P. Keene Mary McDonnell Jon Tenney Gina Ravera
Cast  Kyra Sedgwick, G W Bailey, Corey Reynolds, Anthony Denison, Jon Tenney
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The Closer is an American television police procedural, starring Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson, a Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and CIA-trained, Brenda has a reputation as a closer—an interrogator who not only solves a case, but obtains confessions that lead to convictions and so "closing" the case. Deputy Chief Johnson sometimes uses deceit and intimidation to persuade a suspect to confess. The series ran on TNT from June 13, 2005, to August 13, 2012.

Contents

The Closer was created by James Duff and the Shephard/Robin Company in association with Warner Bros. Television. On Monday, July 11, 2011, the series began its seventh and final season, having finished its sixth season as cable's highest rated drama. The Closer's final six episodes began airing on Monday, July 9, 2012, with its finale airing on Monday, August 13, 2012. Following the finale, The Closer's spin-off Major Crimes premiered.

Episodes

Each episode of The Closer deals with an aspect of the Los Angeles culture as it interfaces with law enforcement in the megacity. The show deals with complex and subtle issues of public policy, ethics, personal integrity, and questions of good and evil. The rather large character ensemble explores the human condition, touching on individual faiths, traditional religious influences in the lives and communities of contemporary society, and the breakdown and dysfunction of family systems, work teaming, and government responsibility. The first season began with Brenda Leigh Johnson arriving at the LAPD to lead the Priority Murder Squad (PMS), quickly renamed Priority Homicide Division (PHD), a team that originally dealt solely with high-profile murder cases (Seasons 1–4).

During Season 4 an embarrassing tangle with the press, over just what were the criteria making a homicide a priority, allowed Brenda to manipulate circumstances so that the division was reorganized into a much larger Major Crimes Division with a wider scope, though the majority of plots still involved and focused on homicides. Most importantly to the show's plot lines, Commander Taylor's role was also changed from "rival and in-house adversary" to that of "unambiguously loyal subordinate", so that he was thereafter reporting directly to Deputy Chief Johnson and noticeably helpful as he coordinates interaction between the MCD and other units.

Season five introduced Mary McDonnell as Captain Sharon Raydor of Internal Affairs. Raydor and Johnson start out as rivals, but gradually they develop grudging respect for each other and form an uneasy alliance. Raydor went on to star in The Closer's spin-off, Major Crimes.

During the final season, Brenda finds herself in civil legal difficulties as a result of the events in "War Zone" (Season 6, Episode 8), and the LAPD concludes that there must be a disloyal subordinate generating information leaks from within MCD. Taylor and Raydor take an active role in attempting to combat the leaker and the legal matters do not reach a final resolution until the series' end, in the episode "The Last Word".

On December 10, 2010, TNT announced that the seventh season of The Closer, which began production in the spring of 2011, would be the last. The channel said that the decision to retire the show was made by Kyra Sedgwick. On January 30, 2011, the media announced that the final season would add six episodes to the usual fifteen episode order, building toward the spin-off series, Major Crimes.

Characters

The cast consists largely of an ensemble of detectives who make up the LAPD's fictional Major Crimes Division. It is led by Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, played by Kyra Sedgwick. Some observers have noted strong similarities between Johnson and Jane Tennison, Helen Mirren's lead character in the British crime drama, Prime Suspect, with an article in USA Today claiming The Closer to be "an unofficial Americanization" of the British drama. In interviews, Sedgwick has acknowledged that the show owes "a debt" to Prime Suspect and her admiration for that show and Mirren were factors that first interested her in the role.

Other main characters include Johnson's superior officer, Assistant Chief Will Pope (J. K. Simmons), Robbery-Homicide Division Commander Russell Taylor (Robert Gossett) and her FBI agent boyfriend-then-husband Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney). The remainder of the cast makes up Brenda's squad, each with expertise in a specific area, such as crime scene investigation or gang activity. The first and only departure from the regular cast occurred in Season 5, when actress Gina Ravera left and her character, Detective Irene Daniels, was transferred to another division.

Mary McDonnell, a recurring cast member in Seasons 5 and 6, joined the cast full-time for Season 7, continuing her role as Captain Sharon Raydor.

Cultural impact

Both gender researchers and members of the media have claimed that the series has "expanded the vocabulary of what is acceptable for women as seen through the lens of popular culture."

"We’ve certainly seen women in powerful positions before," says author and gender researcher Maddy Dychtwald, pointing out Angie Dickinson in 1974's Police Woman, and Cagney & Lacey from 1981. "But those women were largely token in a sea of dominant males, and most important, strove to be like the men that surrounded them." In contrast, Dychtwald says the former CIA interrogator played by Kyra Sedgwick, "retains (and revels in) her femininity, keeps her composure, can handle the two 'sexist pigs' who bait her due to their jealousy and insecurities, and not lose her head."

Media experts have also noted that the series has helped to redefine the place of basic cable channels alongside network programming:

Beyond gently tweaking the popular image of women in power, "The Closer" has helped redefine the power balance between basic cable and broadcast networks, says Fordham University media expert Paul Levinson. Just glance at the equal number of recent Emmy nominations for basic and premium cable shows is confirmation, he adds. Beyond that, says More Magazine Entertainment Director Kathy Heintzelman, the off-season placement—the show launched in the summer and continues to air its seasons in counterbalance to the traditional network schedule—has helped redefine viewing habits. "It’s helped people get used to the idea that summer is a time to watch original series on televisions," she adds.

U.S. television ratings

Viewer numbers (based on average total viewers per episode) of The Closer on TNT. The debut of The Closer was seen by more than 7 million viewers according to Nielsen Media Research and was the top-rated premiere episode ever of any original scripted series on basic cable. The second (8.28) and third season (8.81) premieres broke the previous record.

At the end of Season Three, The Closer became ad-supported cable's most-viewed scripted series of all time, ending the season with a live + same day audience of 9.21 million viewers in 6.84 million households. The third-season finale holds the record for the largest live + 7 day audience for a single episode of an ad-supported cable series with 9.55 million viewers in 6.88 million households. Live + 7 day (DVR) data for the season reflects 30–40% audience growth in three key age-based demographic groups. Season Four's premiere slipped slightly from the Season Three opening, with live + same day ratings showing a 3% decline in audience from the previous year's opener. For its Season Six premiere, on July 12, 2010, the show reached an estimated 7.66 million viewers.

DVD releases

Warner Home Video has released all seven seasons of The Closer on DVD in Region 1.

Awards and accolades

Up until the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2011, Kyra Sedgwick had made history as being the only female actor in the history of television to be nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild award every year that the show aired in the eligibility period. However, that came to an end in 2011.

References

The Closer Wikipedia


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