The Closer Creator James Duff: "Terms of Extradition"
It's the end of our summer season and, regretfully, it's time to say good-bye. Coincidentally, our finale — a longer version of which will be available on-line and on iTunes after-air — seems mostly about going away. That's not only a clue to Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson's personal life, but also to solving the mysteries confronting Major Crimes.
I say mysteries because I like to remind people that The Closer is not merely about catching the criminal, but also getting the confession. This task is made even more challenging when Brenda's Division finds itself in direct competition with a detective from El Paso, who also legitimate claims on their suspect.
And will Charlie stay with Brenda and Fritz, or will the problematic teenager return home to Atlanta with her grandfather, played by the irrepressible Barry Corbin? Sosie Bacon has performed Deputy Chief Johnson's niece beautifully; she provided us with a chance to tell new stories and made the show better (and a lot more fun to do). I'm so glad she said yes when I told her the part was available. I can't imagine anyone else in the role.
Just as I can't imagine anyone else playing Brenda. Working with Kyra this year I have several times felt myself getting emotional. When I think of all the different parts she has to play — in life as well as on-camera — and the continuing hardship she suffers from being away from home so much (she lives in New York City and we film in Los Angeles), and how her performance continues to grow, it amazes. I could never have anticipated the amazing journey we have taken together, which, so far, has lasted half a decade.
And then there is G.W. Bailey, who taught me in high school and who remains one of my chief instructors in life; Tony Dennison with whom I have been friends now for fifteen years, and who has become a little bit like my big brother; Raymond Cruz, the impolitic comedian who never fails to make me laugh (while consistently surprising the audience with unexpected emotional depths). Corey Reynolds began great and gets better every year; he sometimes reminds us that police departments have a heart as well as a head. Michael Paul Chan is, quite simply, the coolest guy I know, and his super-efficient Lt. Tao adds an element of goofy science that helps us explain technical aspects of each episode in a way that both informs and amuses.
Phillip Keene's relentless good cheer as Buzz has allowed his character to grow a bit more this year. Robert Gosset's Commander Taylor has continued the enormous arc from Brenda's unshakable opponent to her most shady ally becoming, in the process, one of my best friends off the set. Jon Tenney is our Cary Grant, the romantic leading man who also has the acting chops of a great character actor; he and Leslie are one of my favorite couples (as I never tire of telling him). And finally, there's my friend J.K. Simmons, who I've been working with since The D.A.: I hope we are working together the rest of our lives. I will be saying good-bye to all of them shortly, as we finish shooting our three-episode run for November and December.
And as far as our crew goes, there is no better group working in Hollywood. And when we stop filming, and they fan out across town to bring their gifts and talents to other shows, I always hope they will return. Our production values are a direct result of their creative abilities, and their commitment to make our show look like a feature film.
I could never have predicted this five-year trip would have taken us so far, or that our bonds as a company, both professional and personal, would become tighter as we moved forward.
And speaking of personal bonds, there is our audience; we feel a stronger sense of kinship with you every year. We think of those who watch our show as series regulars, too; every bit as much a part of The Closer community as we are ourselves. If you miss us while we're gone, know we miss you. And that our priority will always be to produce a series worthy of the hour you set aside to join us Monday nights through the summer.
Don't forget that the super-sized, extended version of our finale will be up on the TNT website after we premiere with three minutes of bonus material (most of it featuring Lt. Provenza).
We hope you enjoy our seasonal farewell, and we'll see you again for a holiday visit at the end of November.
— James Duff