Television’s top detective is back on the case this summer as Golden Globe winner Kyra Sedgwick returns in TNT’s “The Closer,” ad-supported cable’s #1 series of all time. “The Closer,” in which Sedgwick plays an investigator and interrogator with a remarkable talent for trapping criminals in their lies, is set to return Monday, June 18 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) with a compelling new season of complex cases and outstanding performances. In addition to Sedgwick, “The Closer’s” Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated ensemble cast is back, including Jon Tenney, J.K. Simmons, Corey Reynolds, Robert Gossett, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan and Gina Ravera. The eagerly anticipated third season will kick off with the first episode being presented uninterrupted and commercial-free, sponsored by Toyota.
“The Closer” comes to TNT from The Shephard/Robin Company in association with Warner Bros. Television and is executive-produced by Greer Shephard (“Nip/Tuck,” “The D.A.”), Michael M. Robin (“Nip/Tuck,” “The D.A.,” “NYPD Blue”) and James Duff (“The D.A.,” “The Agency”) and produced by Andrew J. Sacks (“The D.A,” Adaptation, Two Soldiers) with Kyra Sedgwick also serving as producer. Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles district attorney from 1992 to 2000, is a consulting producer.
Sedgwick took home the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series this year for her performance as the feminine yet forceful, offbeat yet indomitable CIA-trained Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, a former Atlanta detective brought to Los Angeles to head a special LAPD unit charged with cracking sensitive, high-profile murder cases. She is an expert at digging into a person’s secrets and obtaining confessions, despite constantly struggling with her own imperfections and neuroses.
“When you think about it, Kyra sometimes is playing a character within a character,” says Duff. “When Brenda sits down in that interview room, Brenda is herself playing a role. She is turning herself into someone the suspect can talk to. Brenda’s a great liar, just like the killers are. And they sit in that room and lie to each other until Brenda gets to the truth.”
This season will bring several new challenges for Brenda to face. “Just as Brenda finds her place in the world, a financial crisis at the LAPD rocks the ground under her feet,” says Duff in describing the upcoming season. “Her struggle to solve murders on a budget while protecting individual members of her squad from layoffs, transfers and early retirements, endangers her friendships, tests her loyalties and shifts her alliances as she goes about closing each case.”
Providing loving support for Brenda, as well as the occasional investigative assistance, is FBI Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney). Despite their decision last season to move in together, Fritz’s devotion to Brenda continues to be tested by the long hours she spends on the job.
On the professional front, Brenda has a strong ally in her boss, Assistant Police Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons, “Spider-Man” films).
Brenda’s team of detectives has become more tightly knit over the past two seasons. Closest to her is Sgt. David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds), a young detective who serves as her right-hand man and who was one of the first on her squad to be won over by her skills as an investigator and interrogator.
The cantankerous Detective Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey) and the slick Lt. Andy Flynn (Tony Denison) are two excellent investigators. But they occasionally make bone-headed mistakes, such as failing to report a dead body in Provenza’s garage so that they could attend a Dodgers game.
Lt. Mike Tao (Michael Paul Chan) provides expert technical support for the team, while Detective Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) is an expert on Los Angeles’ gangs. And Detective Irene Daniels (Gina Ravera) frequently sees a case from a perspective her colleagues including Brenda miss.
Working another side of the investigative arm of the LAPD is Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett), head of the Robbery Homicide Division. While he has in the past been a thorn in Brenda’s side, blocking her investigations or interfering with her squad in order to make her look bad, he and Brenda tried to bury the hatchet last season, establishing a better although not entirely congenial working relationship.
Ratings for “The Closer’s” first and second seasons combine to rank it as ad-supported cable’s #1 original series of all time among viewers and households, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. Last year’s second-season launch in June scored ad-supported cable’s largest audience delivery ever for an original scripted series telecast, beating its own record set with the premiere episode of season one.