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Q) Why did you decide it was time to leave?
Kyra: No, it was before Kevin got his gig. I think we were in the middle of shooting, gosh it must have been Season 6 actually, when I started to contemplate the idea of what - you know what a Season 8 would look like. And I - it was something that I struggled with for many, many months; almost a year really to make the decision. It felt like time, mostly for me as an artist, time for me to do something else.
Q) Was there an epiphany?
Kyra: No, there really wasnít an epiphany. It was just the idea of doing a Season 8 I think felt daunting to me and overwhelming, and sort of just didnít feel right. I think as an actor you really kind of just have to follow your instincts. And I - it was a hard decision because, you know youíre putting so many other people out of work and you just - you know there was just a lot of factors that go into making that kind of decision. But, I feel like itís wonderful that we get to go out on top, and that, you know James had a good long time to close this out in the right way, you know to finish.
James: Yeah, she gave me an opportunity that most writers never have, which is the opportunity to end the show on - the way Iíd always wanted to. That was a great gift at the end of a great journey. I feel like Kyra was amazing in every sense.
Q) If each of you could just say what you hope that people take away from having seen The Closer.
James: Well, of course first and foremost I hope they are entertained. You know, the idea of doing a series is to distract people from the pressures and horrors of ordinary life, and I hope we managed to do that. And the second thing I hope they take away is this extraordinary perspective on the justice system that we got to view through the lens of this character. We can look at the justice system several different ways, and Brenda Leigh Johnsonís way off looking at it, which is not entirely my own, but- which is interesting, was I feel like a fascinating experience for me as a writer. And also, I hope they feel like at the end of the day we honored that, that the last six episodes are true to the character and true to the ethos that we tried to create.
Kyra: I feel like I hope that people have higher expectations of their - you know of where their entertainment dollar can be spent. I feel like we really delivered great stories and great characters, and I hope that, you know this will make them speak out - encourage them to speak out, you know really good shows and not be, you know satisfied with the norm or the - or simple things. I also think - I also so hope as an actor that they really grew to understand and love this character and - as I love her and her complexities and her passion and her - and through reality of being a woman in this kind of situation, and someone that they could really relate to.
Q) What did you take away from set as your souvenir?
Kyra: I didnít take away anything from the set. Yeah, I didnít actually take away any material things. I mean, I - you know everyone on that set will, and the cast as well as the crew, will always have a very, very special place in my heart. I was given a beautiful sort of seven-year yearbook from my makeup and hair team and - I mean my makeup and my costume team. And theyíve taken many, many pictures over the years and they interviewed people and they put together this, you know like a yearbook, but for over the last seven years, and that was a really beautiful, beautiful memento to take away and itís all in there.
James: And we also have a picture book from our last episode with - do you have that yet, Kyra?
Kyra: Have you sent that out yet?
James: Yeah, I have it. I should just walk it over to you. It is a - Gil Garcetti, who was our consulting producer and this former District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles for eight years, has become a spectacular photographer, and does photo shows all over the world. And for our last episode he did a photo shoot through our entire last episode and we made it into a book, and we passed it out to everybody and the cast and the crew, except of course Kyra doesnít have it yet. I had it. I came over to your house and I didnít have it. Anyway, the - that book is what I - I did - I took - I knew those pictures were coming out. I didnít take anything from the duplex. I thought about it, and then I thought, ďYou know what, I want to remember it,Ē and I didnít want to focus on a single object.
Q) Any chance youíll be making a Major Crimes appearance then, Kyra?
Kyra: Yes, for sure. Itís definitely a possibility.
Q) When The Closer was first on six years ago it was paled as sort of a groundbreaking show and Brenda was really kind of a revolutionary female character. What do you guys think will be the legacy of this show after itís over? How will people remember it?
Kyra: Oh, I was hoping youíd take that one. Again, you know I think sort of - I hope that they will think of it as - I mean I see her as a significant and sentinel character in the lexicon of female characters ever played for a long period of time, whether itís a series on a - you know a movie series or a television series. I think we broke a lot of ground and I think that we were able to consistently weave exciting storylines with deep and resonating character arcs. And I think that thatís something thatís very hard to do, especially in a procedural. And I think that we accomplished that.
James: I would say too, you know that when we create the series I wasnít aware that we would be breaking ground. It hadnít really occurred to me that way. What I - except that I was watching these other procedurals and it seemed to be a lot of times that they were asking women to be successful by acting like men. And thatís just not my experience in the workplace. Women are not successful because they act like men. Women are successful because women have their own feminine - I mean femininity is a power. It is not a weakness or something that needs to be compensated for. And so, I was very concentrated on making sure that Brenda remained a woman in this world. And I hope that resonates. I hope that - and I think it did. I think we saw - afterwards we saw a lot of single female lead shows where women were not, you know in effect dressing to disguise their femininity or overexposing themselves either. There seemed to be some acceptance that women were strong in their own right, not because they could act like men, but because they could - they had powers as women.
Q) At Christmas time there was the revelation, the civil lawsuit had been dropped against Brenda, but was focusing against the City, and they were still going to go forward. Then they settled after she was dropped out with the Johnson Rule still intact. Is that going to be explored further? What current implications does the Johnson Rule have over Brenda and the team for the rest of the series?
James: Thatís part of the continuing storyline and I canít - we canít answer that question fully except except that - except to say that, you know naturally whenever you create a solution in government there are unforeseen consequences. And, you know the Johnson Rule ends up being an admission of a problem that - I would say - you could just - it becomes more problematic as the last six episodes unfold. I think it was a really unfair solution personally, but it is the kind of solution that you find. And I wanted to show also the sort of stress, that really heroic -- dare I say -- public employees take on on a daily basis, and the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune they endure. Weíve heard a lot about, you know how awful public employees are lately, and I just wanted to remind people that they are serving us and it is a vocation and what they get for it. And what they get for it us sometimes things like the Johnson Rule.
Q) Briefly, can you comment on whether Jason OíMara might be returning as Billy Croelick?
James: No, he was doing another series while we were finishing our's. We all loved him.
Q) : I was just curious because I noticed that Billy Burke was coming back as Phil Stroh, so I thought it might be interesting to see the two big villains that kind of got away return for the last six episodes.
James: Yeah, you know the interesting thing about Jasonís character is that he never actually committed a murder that we know of on Brendaís watch. So, heís not an unclosed case actually, technically. But, I would have loved to have seen him some time in our last year, we just - he just wasnít available. Heís such a great guy too.
Q) Kyra, you know Iíve watched your films over the years and watched everything youíve done and youíve always been a star, but this show puts you over the top. I mean, we all know who Kyra Sedgwick is and weíll never forget who you are as Brenda, and the amazing performance that you deserve all the awards. How did you feel a sense of that? Did you feel that sense that you had moved up the ladder further, or did that even bother you or your consider it?
Kyra: I guess we think that itís - it made a difference in my recognition factor for sure. And I think that people know my name now, and I think thatís always a good thing. And I think thereís - The Closer afforded me the opportunity to really, you know show my wares and show the places that I was capable of going as an actor; the dark places and the funny places. And Iíll never forget that. I mean, that has been an opportunity that I never really knew that I was going to get.
James: I want to add something to that, and that is that, you know sheís always been a great actress, always. And sheís always been someone who was capable of carrying the A story just in her eyes. But, the nice thing I think The Closer might have done is that she got a chance - I mean she got a chance to actually prove that, and not many actors - you know there are a lot of actors who donít get a chance to prove it, but sheís too modest to say so. But, the truth is she proved absolutely that what everybody thought about her was true, that she was in her being the A story that she is a amazing actor and one of the most talented performers in the English speaking language. And, you know I - itís - she always had that and she always had that in her, but she got a chance to prove it and I think thatís a fantastic opportunity for an artist, and she wonít say it, so I will.
Q) How do you feel about your husband being on television now?
A) Iím thrilled for him. I mean, I think itís such a satisfying venue and itís so exciting to work - to stay - to stick with a character for many years if you get that opportunity. And itís so wonderful to work with a family. I mean, Kevinís always been very loyal and very much a family-oriented person, and I think that for those of us who like to have recognizable faces and people that we love and that support us and help us to do our very best work around us, itís really - itís a unique opportunity and Iím thrilled for him. Iím really excited.
Q) Something that Iíve loved about The Closer is the ability of the show to go from, like you said, Kyra, for an actor you get to go from those dark places to the funny places. And The Closer has been unique that you can do that in one episode where you can be laughing out loud one second and the next minute youíre thinking, ďOh my gosh, did that really just happen,Ē and really feel for the characters and what theyíre going through. And is that something thatís going to continue throughout the final six episodes? Will there be humor interlaced within what Iím assuming is going to be a pretty dramatic ending?
Kyra: I would say itís a dramatic ending, but I - but thereís - you know thereís a really fun romp in Episode 2 - I mean the episode - the second episode of the final six. And yes, thereís always an element of humor. We - I donít think we could do our job as well as we do if we didnít have an element of humor. I mean, thereís always a (galas) humor within, you know any kind of, you know law - you know any - with cops they always have (galas) humor, but thereís also just the interpersonal, recognizable things about each other that youíve - when youíre with a family or a cast a long time. Thereís a lot of interpersonal winks and, you know people are still who they are, even in the midst of the most dramatic circumstances. So, there are still a lot of laughs and a lot of good character fun stuff.
Q) Will be seeing some sort of crossover where an introduction is done near the end to kind of lead up into Major Crimes?
James: I would say there is a crossover character. There is a character who transits between The Closer and Major Crimes, and he is - wasnít planned exactly. It was just - it just ended up being that way, and that The Closer is the end of The Closer. You know, there are a couple of illusions to what comes next, but I wasnít - I - my focus was entirely on ending the series, and incidentally launching Major Crimes. So, the illusions to Major Crimes are buried and hopefully some of them will be a surprise in the next hour, you know? But, I will say, you know I was more focused on concluding The Closer than I was beginning Major Crimes when I was writing the show. I think thatís the experience people will have.
Q) As you look back on the last season, do either of you guys have a favorite episode or a favorite story arc that will stand out in your memory?
Kyra: Thatís always so tough for me. I feel like we have so many years to choose from itís hard to pull out some favorites. Iím always most intrigued and feel most satisfied by the character arcs. And by those I mean some of the character arcs with Fritz and Brenda. I loved the whole - their courtship, and then when he finally asks her to marry him in that doctorís office, you know in between tears of realizing thatís sheís - had to - has to have this - you know sheís got - sheís suffering from perimenopausal symptoms brought out on by just - you know that have to be operated on. She - you know, he asked her to marry her in the most inopportune moment, but itís beautiful and funny and wonderful. I loved the whole cat arc, the - you know the - getting the cat and her not wanting the cat, and then it - the cat becoming, you know an intrinsic part of her life, and then the eventual demise of the cat. I loved the parents. I loved the fact that, you know when - no matter what age you are when your parents come to visit youíre suddenly that 12-year old kid again who hasnít learned anything; hasnít changed at all. And I so appreciated being able to see that side of Brenda. I loved the, you know personal moments with some of her squad when Raymondís brother died, the - Detective Sanchezís brother died and she had to be there for him in a very special and different way. Moments when she had to have Gabriel turn in his badge and his gun and - after he beats up the pedophile. I thought that was, you know very difficult for her and he was - he is her favorite. And I loved that personal moment, so those were among my favorites.
James: I think my favorite moment in The Closer overall is in the finale, and so I canít really talk about it. But, it is a scene between Brenda and Fritz halfway through where he begins to identify with the witness in a fairly spectacular way. And for me The Closer has also been about - and one of the things I think that makes it appealing to the audience we have is about how to balance your professional life and your personal life, and how we never really know exactly how to do that. How weíre always making it up day-by-day, and not knowing where to put ourselves. And she, in that scene, Brenda is perfectly poised between both places. And thereís a - itís the very, very long time we spend just on her face as that moment plays out. And to me it was just one of those things that - I like it for two reasons. One is because it is exactly where I always wanted the character to end up, and also because itís one of those things that only Kyra Sedgwick could do. And it was - I felt like that was, for me, the most amazing moment of the whole series, and everything after that too, is good too. I mean, what she does after that, after she has that epiphany, if you will, is fantastic too, but so much was building to that moment. And she - it - and I think it was the very first scene we shot of the finale, you know and Michael Robin announced as we were shooting it, you know that it was rarified air we were breathing being able to bring the series to a close. And oh my God, you - if you liked the show thatís - that moment in the duplex and - between here and Fritz is just going to be - and John Tenney, heís such an amazing actor too.