The Closer star Kyra Sedgwick (Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson) reveals her 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: Take us back seven years ago, when you were cast as Brenda Leigh Johnson in The Closer.
Kyra Sedgwick: It was a huge leap of faith, but I really loved Brenda on the page. I just thought she was amazing, and I knew her. I wasn’t nervous for many different reasons, but mainly because she was just so vivid to me already and so real. I just thought, “You know, let’s just see how this goes.” I think it’s always a leap of faith, but you just take it a day at a time.
Q: What have you enjoyed the most about the evolution of Brenda Leigh Johnson?
Kyra Sedgwick: What I love about Brenda is that she hasn’t really changed that much. I love the fact that she is so incredibly insightful and smart about other people. She is not at all about herself and isn’t really interested in growing as a person. If people see growth in her, I think that’s for them to see, not for me to play. I certainly think that in these last six episodes she has absolutely become aware of that fact that she needs to keep the focus on something other than her job, and she suffers tremendous consequences from not doing that. I think she learns from that. I think her biggest growth spurt will happen in the final episode.
Q: In creating Brenda Leigh Johnson, how did you keep her authentic to her southern roots?
Kyra Sedgwick: I worked with a dialect coach who helped me to stay authentic with the accent. I know a lot about the South. In fact, I might know more about the South than I do about the North at this point. I’ve played some southern characters. I don’t know if it’s a southern thing, but I certainly think that she is steeped in the tradition of being a strong woman. I think it’s certainly a matriarchal society, at least from what I can see on the outside. The history of the South is intrinsic in every southern character. There’s just something about history and tradition and wisdom. I don’t know if this is southern, but I love the fact that she’s so very feminine and so very much a woman, and she’s not afraid of that. She embraces that and uses it in a very male-dominated world and job. She usually wears skirts and dresses, and that’s who she is.
Q: Why do you think the chemistry among the cast members in The Closer is so strong?
Kyra Sedgwick: Gosh, who knows how these things happen? I think it’s so rare that everyone is lovable. I think it starts with Mike Robin, Greer Shephard, James Duff and Bruce Newburg. I think they just went for the best actors, but they also went for kindness and authenticity and soul. Everyone has a really great work ethic, and we admire and respect each other. I think most of it is just luck, but I definitely think it starts at the top.
Q: Something the audience loves and is always looking for is that confession Brenda masterfully elicits. Is the art of the confession always deception?
Kyra Sedgwick: No, sometimes it’s getting in someone’s face and being really scary. That’s been fun. It’s been fun to be a woman who can be really terrifying. Deception is sometimes mixed in with it. She does lie – there’s no question. But I also think that she uses her empathy to draw people out, and she’s a really good listener. I think that she’s a good storyteller, and she can take someone back to the scene of the crime. She can project onto them everything they were feeling, and they nod and feel sympathetic and she’s got them.
Q: When you read the final script, was it the way you wanted it to end?
Kyra Sedgwick: I thought it was brilliant. It reminded me of the pilot in that it was just flawless right away. I was, of course, daunted by the task of all the things that I was asked to do, but I think it was right. The journey is right; the ending is right; and the process is right. James couldn’t have done a better job.
Q: If you were able to take something from the set home that would be a nice remembrance of these seven years, what is it that you would choose?
Kyra Sedgwick: I can’t think of a material thing I would want. When we’re doing our first rehearsal in the morning, we call in the crew. I often just take the time to look at each and every one of their faces. They’ve all touched me very deeply, so I would love to box them all up and take them home.