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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.
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 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.
- Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick)
- FBI Special Agent Fritz "Fritzi" Howard (Jon Tenney)
The Los Angeles Police DepartmentEdit
- Assistant Chief William "Will" Pope (JK Simmons): Assistant Chief of Operations, and Brenda's immediate supervisor. Brenda and Pope were once lovers, and continue to have a complex relationship.
- Commander Russell Taylor (Robert Gossett): The commander of Robbery-Homicide, and later press liason for Major Crimes.
- Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell): The commander of Internal Affairs' Force Investigation Unit.
- Detective Lt. Louie Provenza (GW Bailey): The squad's senior member and Brenda's second-in-command.
- Detective Lt. Andy Flynn (Tony Denison): Once loyal to Taylor, Flynn has come over to Brenda's site, and formed a partnership with Provenza.
- Detective Lt. Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan)
- Sgt. David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds)
- Detective Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz)
- Detective Irene Daniels (Gina Ravera)
- Civilian Surveillance Coordinator Buzz Watson (Phillip P. Keene)
The Los Angeles County Coroner's OfficeEdit
- Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco): A Los Angeles County Medical Examiner who works with the team, conducting autopsies. Morales has a sharp medical mind and and equally sharp, sometimes sarcastic, wit. Morales is gay, and on occasion flirts with Sgt. Gabriel.
- Dr. Crippen (James L. Avery): The first LA County Medical Examiner with whom Brenda works. Gruff, sarcastic but with a good heart, Crippen has seen it all.
- Forensics Support Technician Terrence Hynes (Robert Clendenin):
- 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 Los Angeles County Coroner's office.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's OfficeEdit
- Deputy District Attorney Martin Garnett (James Patrick Stuart): No nonsense, pragmatic and by-the-book, Garnett has a contentious relationship with the LAPD. Unwilling to prosecute attorney (and serial murderer) Phillip Stroh, he agrees to a plea bargain that forces the LAPD to reveal all the evidence they have against Stroh, allowing him to continue to go free.
- Deputy District Attorney Andrea Hobbs (Kathe Mazur): The ADA who works most frequently with Major Crimes, Hobbs is a team player.
- 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 PHD, ultimately writing a damaging article about them. (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 SeasonEdit
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.