The Closer

Kyra Sedgwick describes her Closer character, Brenda Johnson, as "incredibly delicate and fragile and yet really, really strong and fierce" — and to look at Sedgwick, that could describe her as well. Dressed in an immaculate white dress, surrounded by a crush of people working the room at TNT's recent spring presentation to reporters and advertisers, she looks as endangered as a lilly at the side of an on-ramp.

Until you see her up close.

Sedgwick, it turns out, is ripped. She's small, of course, but with sturdy shoulders and slender, powerful-looking calves. Maybe it's the dress, but the actress seems to draw the light in a room filled with star power, including not only Saving Grace star Holly Hunter, but Jada Pinkett Smith, star of the network's new HawthoRNe, and her husband, Will Smith, one of the most bankable movie stars in the world. And yet Sedgwick stands out — perhaps because she's the essence of TNT.

Whether by coincidence, careful niche-making, a feminist streak or some combination of the three, TNT has become the go-to network for female-driven, emotionally involving dramas. And The Closer, which begins its fifth season Monday at 9 p.m., started the cycle.

"The theme this year is change, and obviously there's change in the fact that she's married, and she'll have to be married to her job and her husband," she says. "There's obviously talk about having a child, which is challenging for Brenda: believing in a universe that's friendly and benevolent enough and safe enough to have a child."

Brenda could take tips from the woman who plays her on how to blend home and career. Sedgwick's husband, Kevin Bacon, directs an episode of The Closer each year, and they also worked together in the 2004 film The Woodsman. Their next joint project is developing a new series for TNT.

The tentatively titled Zapata, Texas is the story of a high school football star whose dreams of NFL stardom are dashed by a torqued knee. He returns home to find his father, the town sheriff, has fallen ill — and resolves to take his place.

"He ends up taking over as the sheriff of this biracial border town. So he has to navigate the politics of small towns and the politics of the law there. It's a character-driven piece, with issues of law and order," Sedgwick says.

Kind of like The Closer. But Zapata, Texas will have a male lead — a further expansion for the TNT brand.

Can Sedgwick carry the weight? All indications point to yes. She already carries The Closer, which it turn has helped built an entire network's reputation. And, like we said, the woman has strong shoulders.