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Brenda, The Closer (Pilot)

The Closer is a U.S. television series. It premiered on TNT on June 13, 2005 and concluded August 13, 2012, after 109 episodes. The series was created by James Duff, and produced by Greer Shepherd. The series follows LAPD Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, commander of the Priority Murder Division (later the Major Crimes Division) and her team as they solve high-profile murders in the city of Los Angeles, while examining the challenges Brenda faces as a woman and an outsider in a male dominated field.

The series was created by James Duff with Duff, Michael M. Robin, Greer Shephard, Adam Belanoff, and Rick Wallace serving as Executive Producers.

The show concluded its seventh and final season on August 13, 2012, after a total of 109 episodes. The series premiere of Major Crimes, a continuation spin-off of The Closer, was aired directly after the final episode.

Premise[edit | edit source]

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 the Force Investigation Division of the Professional Standards Bureau (commonly known as "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 penultimate 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[edit | edit source]

Main characters[edit | edit source]

Los Angeles Police Department[edit | edit source]

Los Angeles County Department of the Coroner[edit | edit source]

  • Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Crippen (James L. Avery): Gruff, sarcastic but with a good heart, Crippen has seen it all. (Seasons 1–3)
  • Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Fernando Morales (Jonathan Del Arco): Morales has a sharp medical mind and and equally sharp, sometimes sarcastic, wit. Morales is gay and occasionally provides expertise on the gay community in Los Angeles. (Seasons 3–7)
  • Forensics Support Technician, later Deputy Medical Examiner, Terrence Hynes (Robert Clendenin): A Forensics Support Technician who has a crush on Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. Hynes later earns his medical degree and becomes a Deputy Medical Examiner. (Seasons 1–5)
  • Coroner's Investigator Kendall (Ransford Doherty): Kendall is responsible for examining the body at the crime scene and taking initial measurements, as well as preparing the body for transportation to the Coroner's office. (Seasons 4–7)

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office[edit | edit source]

  • Deputy District Attorney Martin Garnett (James Patrick Stuart): No nonsense, pragmatic and by-the-book, Garnett has a contentious relationship with the LAPD and butts heads with Deputy Chief Johnson over his willingness to only try cases that he is sure that he can win. After defense attorney Phillip Stroh turned out to be the serial rapist they were looking for, Garnett was humiliated as he had been tricked into revealed that they had nothing on Stroh, allowing Stroh to walk free. (Seasons 2–4)
  • Deputy District Attorney Claire Baldwin (Amanda Mason Warren): A DDA who works with the Major Crimes Division following the Turrell Baylor case and lawsuit. Often annoys the detectives by following them around and giving them orders, but it is revealed to be part of a deal made to keep Major Crimes following the lawsuit. (Season 7)
  • Deputy District Attorney Andrea Hobbs (Kathe Mazur): The DDA who works most frequently with Major Crimes, Hobbs is a team player. (Seasons 5–7)

Recurring characters[edit | edit source]

  • Captain.png Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell): The Commanding Officer of the LAPD's Force Investigation Division. (Seasons 5-7)
  • FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney): Old friend of Brenda's who eventually becomes her husband. Howard is the FBI's liaison officer to the LAPD. (Seasons 1-7)
  • Willie Rae Johnson (Frances Sternhagen): Brenda's "steel magnolia" mother. (Seasons 2-7)
  • Clay Johnson (Barry Corbin): Brenda's gruff but loving father. (Seasons 3-7)
  • Ricardo Ramos (Stephen Martines): A reporter for the Los Angeles Times who shadows the Priority Homicide Division, ultimately writing a damaging article about them, giving Deputy Chief Johnson the chance widen the scope of her division, which subsequently became known as the Major Crimes Division. (Seasons 4-5)
  • Gavin Q. Baker III (Mark Pellegrino): Brenda's flamboyantly gay but skilled attorney during the Turell Baylor lawsuit. (Season 7)
  • Peter Goldman (Curtis Armstrong): The Baylor family attorney with a personal agenda. (Season 7)

Plot and Theme by Season[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

Season 2[edit | edit source]

Season 3[edit | edit source]

Season 4[edit | edit source]

Season 5[edit | edit source]

Season 6[edit | edit source]

Season 7[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

The Closer is filmed at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, and on location in Los Angeles. In an interview, James Duff once described the show as "a valentine to Los Angeles."  LAPD insignia, police livery and emblems are all accurate, and the show has considerable cooperation from the LAPD.  

Reception[edit | edit source]

Over the course of the shows run, it received many awards and accolades. Gender researchers and members of the media have claimed that the series "expanded the vocabulary of what is acceptable for women as seen through the lens of popular culture." Media experts also noted that the series helped redefine the place of basic cable channels alongside network programming.

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