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After 7 Seasons, Kyra Sedgwick Closes ‘The Closer’

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
December 9, 2011

In TNT’s crime series The Closer, CIA-trained interrogator Brenda Leigh Johnson, played by Kyra Sedgewick, heads up the Los Angeles Police Department’s major case squad. Johnson employs a combination of charm, bluff and guile to coax confessions out of suspected killers.

After more than 100 episodes, the series is coming to a close. The Emmy-award winning Sedgwick talks with NPR’s Neal Conan about series, saying goodbye to Deputy Chief Johnson and what lies ahead.

Interview Highlights

On how she prepared for the role

“I spent some time with some female cops over at the LAPD, female detectives. I spent some time in the robbery-homicide unit … I went on some drive-alongs. I read up on CIA agents. I spent a lot of time talking to the creator, James Duff, who had sort of built this character on his sisters and his mother, which is interesting, even though the character really mostly resembles him. And, yeah, it was a fun journey.”

On the deception as the key to interrogation

“If you talk to cops who interrogate, they often say that they lie. I mean, it’s not against the law for cops to lie in order to get to the truth. And there was actually a wonderful scene where my husband at the time played by Jon Tenney, Fritz Howard, said to me at one point, ‘You know … you can’t keep lying.’ And [Sedgwick's character, Brenda Leigh Johnson] said, ‘Oh, for heaven’s sakes, Fritzy, if we all stop lying to each other, how can we ever get to the truth?’”

On playing Brenda, a woman proud to be Southern

“It’s one of her most stand-out, defining characteristics. And it also is one of the many singular things about her that made me want to do the part. To play a Southern person who’s the smartest person in the room, is … unusual and wonderful and different. And a celebration of that is something that I applaud. And as far as the accent … I work very hard on keeping it real and keeping it authentic. I have a dialect coach who works with me every week … [Brenda Leigh's] not interested in losing her accent. She’s not interested in losing anything that is Southern about her. She’s proud of her Southern heritage, proud of being a woman, proud of being a Southern woman.”

On The Woodsman, the 2004 movie in which she starred with her husband, Kevin Bacon

“The film … is about a pedophile who gets out of jail and is trying to resurrect his life. And we both it was an extraordinary film … I mean, who wants to talk about pedophiles, although they live among us? And part of, I think, my job as an actor — and I know, Kevin feels the same way — is to shed light on the darkest side of humanity. You know, not many people saw the movie, but we felt it was important. And it’s one of the things I’m most, most proud of, is that film.” [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

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