‘The Closer' ends, ‘Major Crimes' to begin

Kyra Sedgwick in "The Closer."
Kyra Sedgwick in "The Closer."
Posted: August 14, 2012

THE CLOSER. 9 p.m. Monday, TNT.

MAJOR CRIMES. 10:06 p.m. Monday, TNT. Moves to 9 p.m. Mondays on Aug. 20.

KYRA SEDGWICK closes out her seven-season run as one of TNT's biggest stars on Monday, and if all goes according to plan, fans of "The Closer" won't miss a step.

At 10:06 p.m., Mary McDonnell, the show's star-in-waiting, takes over as head of TNT's new "Major Crimes," which is less a spinoff than a continuation of "The Closer."

Without, of course, the closer herself.

Sedgwick's well-planned departure allowed the show's writers, led by creator James Duff, to place her character, Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, in an increasingly untenable position. Not that her presence in the Los Angeles Police Department, as a transplant from Atlanta working for a chief (J.K. Simmons) who was once her lover, hasn't always been a stretch.

Her final case permits Brenda a degree of latitude remarkable even for her and Sedgwick an opportunity to get seriously physical, not to mention seriously emotional. So if, like Brenda (and me), you're still reeling from the death last week of Brenda's mother (Frances Sternhagen), consider yourself warned: There will be tears.

And, of course, chocolate.

I won't exactly mourn the fantasy that a woman could consume as many delicious snack foods as Brenda did and continue to look like Kyra Sedgwick, but I will miss the character, a salted caramel of a cop with an Atlantan's drawl and a New Yorker's need for speed whose relationship with L.A. was always a bit complicated.

And, OK, I'm going to miss her fabulous collection of trench coats.

This final episode of "The Closer" introduces a character who'll carry over to "Major Crimes," becoming, perhaps, for McDonnell's Capt. Sharon Raydor, the character-shaping influence that Jon Tenney's Fritz Howard became for Brenda (although not in the same way).

McDonnell, who'll headline starting Monday in an episode aptly titled "Reloaded," is playing someone as idiosyncratic as her predecessor did, but Raydor's approach to police work might turn out to be a little bit more believable, judging from the two episodes I've seen.

That's no reason to believe her co-workers will be any more comfortable with her than they were with Brenda at first and friction is the soul of this kind of fiction.

As for the actress herself, she's a seasoned pro, with two Oscar nominations, a solid body of TV work and a presence that's often just slightly off-center.

"The Closer" may be moving on, but she's left the franchise in good hands.

Head start for ‘Grimm'

The Olympics are over, but NBC, thrilled by your company the past few weeks, asks that you remain seated.

Because without the tens of millions who tuned in for all the swimming and the running and the beach volleyball, things could get pretty grim.

Which brings us to "Grimm" (10 p.m., NBC10).

The network's entry in last season's fairy tales-can-come-true competition (in which both this and ABC's "Once Upon a Time" qualified for second seasons) returns Monday, five weeks before the 2012-13 TV season officially begins and right after the premiere of the "reality" competition "Stars Earn Stripes" (8 p.m., NBC10) in which people like Dean Cain, Laila Ali and Todd Palin — yes, Alaska's former first dude — get to pretend they're commandos in the name of charity.

After that, a "Grimm" episode that begins with a Yeats quotation, guest-stars Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and James Frain and does a decent job of recapping the show's mythology for newcomers may feel like the academic Olympics.

"Grimm" moves back to 9 p.m. Fridays on Sept. 21, by which time NBC's hoping to have gathered a crowd. n

Contact Ellen Gray at 215-854-5950 or graye@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @elgray and read her blog at EllenGray.tv.

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