The Closer cast member G.W. Bailey (Lieutenant Provenza) reveals his favorite moments and experiences during the show’s seven-season run. The final six episodes of The Closer begin Monday, July 9, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT.
Q: What do you remember about auditioning for The Closer?
A: Well, somebody called me to ask if I would be interested in doing a guest role because I wasn’t in LA very often. And my agent said, “The person who wrote it is someone I think you know -James Duff.” And I said, “James Duff? My James Duff from Texas?” He said, “Yes, that James Duff.” I said, “Well then, yes. If it’s James Duff, of course I would be happy to be involved.” So I went over there, and they did not tell James that I was coming in. I hadn’t seen him in probably a good seven or eight years. Thirty plus years ago when he was sixteen he was my student. I taught the summer acting workshop, and he was in my class. We had remained friends throughout the years, but I hadn’t seen him in quite some time. I did a tape and Warner Bros. liked it, and they liked the idea of having a veteran cop on the squad, and so they asked me if I would do five shows, and then all of the shows. So by the time we started, I was a regular on the show.
Q: What have been some of the most memorable moments for you playing Provenza? What have you loved the most?
A: What I like the most is the diversity. There have been some terrific episodes where you get to see new sides of each character. For example, the episode when Sanchez’s brother was killed. He held it all in until the very end of the episode, and then he just collapsed in great emotional distress over the loss of his brother. And Provenza was there for him, and at first Provenza was holding him in his arms, but as it progresses, you see it couldn’t be anyone else. No one else had the experience to deal with this.
Q: What do you think makes the ensemble group work?
A: I think part of it is just the sheer experience of the people who have been in the business. It all came together at a good time, and it’s sort of fortuitous. James is really our super star, and he keeps it cohesive and together. We’ve had good leadership and we have good folks. We have a lot of experience and respect for each other.
Q: What are your thoughts about shooting the last two days of The Closer?
A: It’s obviously bitter sweet. It’s been very good in a very personal, emotional and professional way. It has given me a confidence I hadn’t had for a good while, and to be back at work is a good thing. I think some of the work I’ve done in these seven years has been as good as I’ve ever done in my career. I’ve had some really wonderful moments, and it was an extraordinary stroke of luck as most things in this business are. It was just a great stroke of luck.