Michael M. Robin
J. K. Simmons
G. W. Bailey
Michael Paul Chan
Phillip P. Keene
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||109 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42–60 minutes|
The Shephard/Robin Company|
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||June 13, 2005– August 13, 2012|
|Followed by||Major Crimes|
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.
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.
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,[note 1] 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 the Force Investigations Division. Raydor and Johnson start out as rivals, but gradually they develop grudging respect for each other and form an uneasy alliance. McDonnell as 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.
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.
Main cast and characters
- Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Deputy Chief, Major Crimes Division; [note 1] interrogation specialist referred to by Will Pope as a "closer".
- J. K. Simmons as Will Pope, LAPD Assistant Chief for Operations, temporarily acting Chief of Police during season 6 and interim Chief of Police during season 7. Chief of Police from season 7.
- Corey Reynolds as David Gabriel, LAPD Sergeant, laterally appointed Detective Sergeant from season 5 onwards.
- Robert Gossett as Russell Taylor, LAPD Captain, initially assigned to Robbery-Homicide Division, promoted to Commander in season 2, appointed LAPD interdepartmental liaison in season 4.
- G. W. Bailey as Louie Provenza, LAPD Detective Lieutenant, second-in-command of Major Crimes division.
- Tony Denison as Andy Flynn, LAPD Detective Lieutenant, transferred from Robbery-Homicide to Major Crimes during season 1.
- Jon Tenney as Fritz Howard, Senior Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI-LAPD liaison from season 6 onwards.
- Michael Paul Chan as Michael Tao, LAPD Detective Lieutenant, scientific investigation specialist (regular: seasons 3–7; recurring: seasons 1–2).
- Raymond Cruz as Julio Sanchez, LAPD Detective; guns and gangs specialist (regular: seasons 3–7; recurring: seasons 1–2)
- Gina Ravera as Irene Daniels, LAPD Detective; forensic accounting specialist (regular: seasons 3–4; recurring: seasons 1–2).
- Phillip P. Keene as Buzz Watson, LAPD Civilian Surveillance Coordinator (regular: seasons 4–7; recurring: seasons 1–3).
- Mary McDonnell as Sharon Raydor, LAPD Captain, Force Investigation Division; also Women's Coordinator for the LAPD (regular: season 7; recurring: seasons 5–6).
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.
|Season||Season Premiere||Season Finale|
|1||June 13, 2005||7.03||5.26||September 5, 2005||6.39||4.61|
|2||June 12, 2006||8.28||6.04||September 4, 2006[note 2]||7.60||5.45|
|3||June 18, 2007||8.81||6.38||September 10, 2007[note 2]||9.21||6.84|
|4||July 14, 2008||7.81||5.91||September 15, 2008[note 2]||7.63||5.00|
|5||June 8, 2009||7.14||5.35||August 24, 2009[note 2]||7.40||5.50|
|6||July 12, 2010||7.66||5.72||September 13, 2010[note 2]||7.20||5.43|
|7||July 11, 2011||7.23||TBA||August 13, 2012[note 2]||9.08||TBA|
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.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||June 13, 2005||September 5, 2005|
|2||15||June 12, 2006||December 4, 2006|
|3||15||June 18, 2007||December 3, 2007|
|4||15||July 14, 2008||February 23, 2009|
|5||15||June 8, 2009||December 21, 2009|
|6||15||July 12, 2010||January 3, 2011|
|7||21||July 11, 2011||August 13, 2012|
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.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Nominee||Result|
|58th Primetime Emmy Awards (2006)||August 27, 2006||Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|59th Primetime Emmy Awards (2007)||September 16, 2007||Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|60th Primetime Emmy Awards (2008)||September 21, 2008||Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|61st Primetime Emmy Awards (2009)||September 20, 2009||Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|62nd Primetime Emmy Awards (2010)||August 29, 2010||Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Kyra Sedgwick||Won|
|Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Beau Bridges||Nominated|
|63rd Primetime Emmy Awards (2011)||September 18, 2011||Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Mary McDonnell||Nominated|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Nominee||Result|
|63rd Golden Globe Awards (2006)||January 16, 2006||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|64th Golden Globe Awards (2007)||January 15, 2007||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Won|
|65th Golden Globe Awards (2008)||January 13, 2008||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|66th Golden Globe Awards (2009)||January 11, 2009||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|67th Golden Globe Awards (2010)||January 17, 2010||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|68th Golden Globe Awards (2011)||January 16, 2011||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Nominee||Result|
|Satellite Awards (2005)||December 17, 2005||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Won|
|Imagen Awards (2006)||August 18, 2006||Best Supporting Actor||Raymond Cruz||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Gina Ravera||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards (2006)||December 18, 2006||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Won|
|Gracie Awards (2006)||Female Lead in a Drama Series||Kyra Sedgwick||Won|
|Satellite Awards (2007)||December 16, 2007||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards (2007)||February 9, 2008||Episodic Drama||"The Round File"||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards (2008)||December 14, 2008||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
|35th People's Choice Awards (2008)||January 7, 2009||Favorite TV Drama Diva||Kyra Sedgwick||Won|
|PRISM Awards (2008)||Best Drama Episode||"Till Death Do Us" Parts 1 and 2||Nominated|
|41st NAACP Image Awards (2010)||February 26, 2010||Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Corey Reynolds||Nominated|
|PRISM Awards (2011)||Best Drama Series Episode||"Old Money"||Nominated|
|Best Performance in a Drama Episode||Anthony John Dennison||Nominated|
|GoldDerby SNUBBEE Awards (2011)||Outstanding Snubbed Lead Actress (Comedy or Drama)||Kyra Sedgwick||Nominated|
- Previously known as Priority Murder Squad (Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2), then Priority Homicide Division (Season 1, Episode 3 through Season 4, Episode 9). The division's name was first changed from Priority Murder Squad when it was recognized that the initials were PMS, leading to unintended humor due to Chief Johnson's sex. The Division's official name was changed to Major Crimes Division (MCD) during Season 4 Episode 9 in response to the storyline's media misinterpretation of the use of the word "Priority", and the team first operated as the MCD in the following episode. At the end of summer season four, episode nine ("Tijuana Brass"), the squad was retasked to handle a range of crimes including fraud and kidnapping, and renamed the Major Crimes Division, whose brief was enlarged (in theory) to include to a wider range of major crimes including grand theft, fraud, rape and homicide, along the lines of a Major Case Squad. Nevertheless, storylines continued to focus on solving murders until late in the sixth season when, after the ascension of a new police chief, the underutilized squad was assigned a serial armed robbery gang—which in the event, quickly became a murder investigation the next day.
- Summer finales. Seasons Two and Three both aired two additional episodes in December. Seasons Four and Six were divided into ten summer and five winter episodes and Season Five had twelve summer and three winter episodes.
- "TNT Orders New Seasons of Three Hit Series: The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles and Leverage" (Press release). Turner Newsroom. July 30, 2010. Archived from the original on August 2, 2010. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Tijuana Brass", Season 4, Episode 9.
- Fernandez, Mary Elena (December 10, 2010). "Kyra Sedgwick closes 'The Closer'". Los Angeles Times. Show Tracker. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
- Media Spy (December 11, 2010). "Kyra Sedgwick calls time on The Closer". Media Spy. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
- Rice, Lynnette; Hibbard, James. "TNT extends 'The Closer' final season to ready potential spin-off—EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Inside TV. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
- Fienberg, Daniel (May 18, 2011). "TNT orders 'Closer' spinoff 'Major Crimes' starring Mary McDonnell". HitFix. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- "Call 911 for TNT's 'Saved'; 'Closer' still beats strong". USA Today. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- Boedeker, Hal (July 25, 2007). "Kyra Sedgwick: 'The Closer' owes a debt to 'Prime Suspect,' but don't look for 'my idol' Helen Mirren on the show". Hal Boedeker the TV Guy (blog). Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on June 2, 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- "The Closer Promotes Mary McDonnell for Final Season - Today's News: Our Take". TVGuide.com. 2011-04-06. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- The Christian Science Monitor. "'The Closer' opened doors for women – and for basic cable". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- "TNT Original Dramatic Series The Closer Lands Record as Ad-Supported Cable's Top Original Scripted Series Telecast Ever". The Futon Critic. June 14, 2005.
- "TNT'S The Closer Ends Season as Ad-Supported Cable's Top Original Series of 2005". The Futon Critic. September 7, 2005.
- "TNT'S Hit Original Series The Closer Smashes Record as Ad-Supported Cable's Top Scripted Series Telecast Of All Time". The Futon Critic. June 13, 2006.
- "TNT's The Closer Ends Season with a Bang as 7.6 Million Viewers Watch Record-Breaking Finale". The Futon Critic. September 6, 2006.
- "TNT'S Season 3 Premiere of The Closer Is Best of All Time". The Futon Critic. June 19, 2007.
- "With 9.2 Million Viewers and 6.8 Million Households Tuning in Last Night, TNT'S The Closer Breaks Live + Same Day Record for Ad-Supported Cable's #1 Series Telecast Ever". September 11, 2007. Archived from the original on November 5, 2007.
- "TNT'S The Closer Scores as Ad-Supported Cable's #1 Series Telecast for the Year-to-Date, with More Than 7.8 Million Viewers". July 15, 2008.
- Seidman, Robert (September 23, 2008). "Monday Night Football, The Closer and Saturday NCAA Football lead Cable Viewing". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
- Gorman, Bill (December 26, 2016). "The Closer Premieres To 7.1 Million, Raising The Bar Just 3.6 Million". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
- Cassel, Karen; Sal Petruzzi (August 26, 2009). "TNT Sets Summer Ratings on Fire with Monday-Wednesday Originals Lineup". Turner Network Television. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
- Gorman, Bill (July 13, 2010). "TNT's 'Rizzoli & Isles' Sets Record with Cable's Biggest Ad-Supported Premiere, Draws 7.6 Million Viewers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
- Gorman, Bill (September 14, 2010). "TNT's 'The Closer' and 'Rizzoli & Isles' Close Out Summer With More Big Numbers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
- Seidman, Robert (July 12, 2011). "ESPN Edges Out 'Pawn Stars, + 'Closer,' 'Rizzoli,' 'Alphas,' 'Eureka,' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (August 13, 2012). "Monday Cable Ratings: NFL Pre-Season Football Rules Night, + 'Love And Hip Hop: Atlanta', 'WWE Raw', 'The Closer', 'Pawn Stars' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- TNT Pressroom Archived 2007-11-05 at the Wayback Machine.
- MediaPost Publications - Strong Debut for TNT's 'Closer,' 'Saving Grace,' But Last Year Was Better - 07/16/2008
- "Audiences du câble US : "Rizzoli & Isles" commence très fort ! - News Série Audiences - AlloCiné". Allocine.fr. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "The Closer on DVD". WBSHOP.com. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- The Closer クローザー (Japanese)
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