The 45-year-old actress, who's been married to Philadelphia's Kevin Bacon since 1988, wasn't exactly being pushed toward the exit.
"I think that by the time I had come to this decision, I was really clear about it and [TNT] respected my wishes, but it certainly wasn't" what the network wanted.
"Really it was a creative decision. I really felt like while we're still making great television, let's not hang around too long," she said, adding that she's hoping to focus a bit more on her film career. (Sedgwick has two movies coming out in January, one a Sam Raimi-produced "thriller-horror" project with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the other "Man on a Ledge," with Elizabeth Banks and Sam Worthington, in which, she said, she has "a small, fun part.")
"I think we probably could have gone on and on [with 'The Closer']. But I think it's so great to be doing it this [way]. This feels so right to me," she said.
Most series, certainly, don't get the opportunity Sedgwick and "Closer" creator James Duff have been given: to exit on their own terms.
Sedgwick's enthusiastic about Brenda's last hurrah, which likely won't play like a victory lap, given that she and the Los Angeles Police Department are being sued in connection with one of her investigations.
"I think that it's important to have Brenda's [actions], . . . the way she's been conducting herself businesswise, bite her in the ass, ultimately," she said.
"Because while of course I think she does everything perfectly, she has more than on one occasion elicited confessions in a less than completely lawful way," Sedgwick said, laughing. "You can't really say that she did anything illegal, but they're trying to get her on that and I think that's great," not just because "it gives me great stuff to play as an actor," but because it's going to force the character to question the way she's long made work her priority.
"She really thought her business would love her no matter what," Sedgwick said. "She puts it above all else, and she puts it above her personal life and she realizes ultimately that it's like getting blood from a stone."
Not that her personal life's going to be a picnic, either.
Husband Fritz (Jon Tenney) may be TV's most adorable FBI agent, but he's long had issues with Brenda's mentor (and former lover) Assistant Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons).
"She's loyal to a fault, Brenda" and the situation with Pope gets increasingly complicated, Sedgwick said.
"Closer" fans are also loyal, and however eager the actress is to have a little more of her life back for other pursuits, she's careful not to be dismissive of their affection for Brenda.
"I'll miss her, too. She's missable," Sedgwick said. "I love her so deeply, and it will be a serious grieving process and a loss not to be playing her anymore."
Brenda is "just so endlessly fascinating. I mean, if someone told me in Year 1 that seven years later, she would still be surprising me in scenes, I would be like, 'You're frickin' kidding me,' " yet at this point, "I learn the lines and I show up on the set and she takes over and something wonderfully surprising often happens. . . . It's like flying without a net, and yet it's just this wonderful sort of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' kind of thing."
When the actress first encountered the junk-food-addicted detective seven seasons ago, "I really saw just the opportunity to make this like really seminal character that really I wasn't seeing on TV - someone who was brilliant at her job, terrible at her personal life, very much a woman, very much a powerful woman who doesn't apologize for her power, brilliant, complex, you know, a bundle of contradictions and totally accessible," she said, adding, "and someone to be intimately involved with both as an actress and an audience member."
She recalls telling Duff: " 'If I'm going to be in people's living rooms, I want an intimate relationship with them. This is not a character I want people to feel distanced from.' "
All these years later, "I really feel like we have accomplished that, no question. I can feel it when people respond to the character. I can feel it on the street." *
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