Tonight marks the premiere of the sixth season of TNT’s The Closer, Kyra Sedgwick’s hit series about a police detective from Georgia who has relocated to L.A., bringing along her canny knack for solving murders. The Closer’s immediate success paved the way for female-driven drama on cable (including its sister show, Rizzoli & Isles), but don’t say that to Sedgwick, who’d prefer not to be the poster child for the influx of film actresses on TV. We spoke to her about the new season of The Closer and her dream of a bigger film career.
You were in movies for many years before moving to TV. What’s the difference in terms of fan love?
TV is a very intimate experience for people, and I know that because of the way they react to you when they see you on the street! They say, “Oh, I loooooooove you!” It’s this deep connection and a very intimate one. They feel like they know you; you’re in their living room. I’ve never been good at small talk; I’m good on the deeper, more intimate level, and so I appreciate that people are able to let the character in on that level. And I appreciate being that person that’s accessible enough so that people can be intimate with me onscreen and on the street.
You’re about to begin The Closer’s sixth season. Are you bored yet?
You know, it’s funny. That’s not an issue for me. I don’t have trouble keeping it fresh, because I feel like she’s endlessly fascinating to me, this character. She’s so odd and so other, and I never really know how she’s going to react. And I think the writers have done a good job of not putting her in the same situation twice, and I think that her personal life continues to evolve and change. The theme of every year is different, and so are the things we’re trying to contemplate and talk about.
What’s this season’s theme?
The theme this season is attraction. And not just physical attraction, because there is some of that, but more like what we’re attracted to in life, and things that are attracted to us that we may like or dislike. And ideas about ourselves that we’re attracted to. I think that one of the greatest things about my character, Brenda, is that she’s so incredibly insightful about other people, but not at all insightful about herself.
Many procedurals are short on home-life plotlines, but The Closer focuses a lot on Brenda’s personal issues.
That’s why I did it. I wouldn’t have done it, otherwise. I’ve been offered procedurals before and respectfully passed, because while I think some of those shows are amazing, it’s not something that I could commit to doing. I’ve just been always attracted to the character. Even as a kid, when I used to watch shows like Baretta and The Night Stalker, it was always the character; I never remember the cases. And in some ways still, I read every episode being like, “What’s going on personally?!” Because that’s the stuff I gravitate towards.
People hold your show (and you) up as the beginning of the trend of film actresses migrating to cable.
People talk to me about it, yeah. If that’s true, it’s great. I’m thrilled — there are so many great actresses out there who don’t work as much as they should. And if this is something that has become an option for them because our show is successful, I’m thrilled about that. Nothing would make me happier.
So you don’t believe that you’re the trailblazer?
Maybe? Maybe that’s the case. I also know that if Hollywood does a movie about robots that makes a lot of money, then they’ll do more movies about robots. I think that because of the success of the show in the business sense, that opportunity became more available. And then I think they wrote some good female-driven dramas, and really good actresses went, “Yeah, I want that.” Because they’re not finding those great parts as much as they’d like in film. I don’t want it to be like, “It’s all because of me! And I told everybody it was fine! And they all followed!”
If anything, it seems like a good thing for TV, in general.
The very best of independent film has now become cable. A lot of writers are just saying, “Screw the movie industry, I’m going to do TV. It’s a better venue; it’s faster; I can actually get it onto the screen.”
How much longer will you do this show?
I have a couple more years, then we’ll see how everything goes. The wonderful thing about this show is that I work on it for six months, and then I can do other things for the rest of the year. Now that my kids have deserted me and gone to college — what were they thinking leaving me! — I’m even freer to do more, whether that’s theater or more film. I have a dream of the bigger film career. And I would love to see that dream become a reality.