'The Closer': Kyra Sedgwick wants Brenda to 'crack' in her final season

kyra-sedgwick2-closer-s7.jpg"The Closer" begins its final season on Monday (July 11), but you'll have plenty of time to say goodbye to Brenda Leigh Johnson ( Kyra Sedgwick) and her LAPD team.

The season's 21 episodes will stretch out for more than a year, with 10 episodes set for this summer, five for the winter and the final six in summer 2012.

Sedgwick herself says even she hasn't really started thinking about saying goodbye to her character. "I mean, it lives within me, that idea," Sedgwick told Zap2it when we talked with her in mid-June, as she was filming "The Closer's" sixth episode of the season. "It's really bittersweet, and I can get really emotional about it really easily. But we're in the middle of the marathon, so it's not really like we're at the finish line quite yet."

The Emmy-winning actress also talked with us about kicking this season off with Brenda and Co. in a big bind, what she hopes to see happen before the final curtain and her duties as an executive producer of "The Closer." Some highlights of our conversation:

Zap2it: Quite a lot gets thrown at Brenda and her team in the premiere, including a lawsuit over a past case. Was the intent to make her uncomfortable right off the bat?
Kyra Sedgwick: I think [creator James Duff] always knew the way Brenda's story would end, and this is the beginning of the end of Brenda's story. The workplace becomes a hostile environment for her. ... There's a civil suit against her team and the LAPD, which is really the primary relationship in her life. So it really throws her whole world into turmoil. This [episode] is the setup for that. I think it's the best premiere we've had in years. It really kicks off the season and makes people want to tune in for episode 2.

Has James Duff shared with you what the end will be?
The final-final [scene] he's never shared with me. But knowing the way in which she's navigated herself in her job, [it] comes back to bite her in the ass. the way she's taken the law into her own hands or made possibly lawfully ambiguous decisions, the way she's elicited confessions are being questioned. He's always told me it would come back to haunt her. So it's not just this case, the case of Turrell Baylor [from the Season 6 episode "War Zone"], but it's all the cases she's ever had. ... Everyone comes out of the woodwork, so that will be super-cool.

Could that be a way to bring back some of Brenda's former adversaries?
I hope so. I'm not 100 percent sure about that, but I think that would be awesome. That's a goal.

What does being an executive producer mean for you, in addition to your job as an actor?
I get the script in outline form, I make notes on the outline, make notes on the first draft. I continuously have thoughts about the script that I get to talk about and people listen [laughs]. I look at the first cut of every show and give notes. I sometimes have casting suggestions. I'm annoyingly in everyone's job -- actually sort of in a funny way.

My husband [ Kevin Bacon] always says to me -- I'll look at my watch and say, "If we break for lunch now, then while you guys set up I can get touchup done and we can end the day a half-hour earlier." Kevin always says to me, "I didn't see [assistant director] next to your name on the call sheet. I didn't see props next to your name." I'm just a controlling person, but I have a good sense of humor about it so it's not too annoying. ... And I do it with a lot of love. I really love being here, and I love everyone I work with.

What do you hope to see happen to Brenda in this final season? Where would you like to see her end the series?
I'd love for her to -- and I think we're definitely on that road -- I want to see her crack a bit. A lot, actually [laughs]. Judging from where we've gone so far, she cracks. She cracks open. I think that will be the next interesting piece of her. Because as much as we've gotten to know her, she's really been pretty steady under pressure. There were a couple of breakdowns, with her cat and when her niece came and when that boy died. But basically she holds her cards pretty close to the vest and is in healthy denial about a lot of things. I think that denial is no longer possible for her this season, and I think that will be cool to watch.

Will that affect Brenda's relationship with Fritz [Jon Tenney]?
I think because she's struggling so much at work, and it becomes such a hostile and unsafe environment, almost a paranoiac environment for her, she really clings on to her husband in a way she never did before.

Is he happy for that? Is that something he wants?
I think he's happy for it, but on the other hand I think no one likes change, even when it's good. I think it also makes him feel a little unsafe that she feels unsafe and unsteady.

What do you think the show's fans will get from this season?
I hope they enjoy the journey we take them on, like I do every year. I hope they feel a satisfying conclusion to her story -- as satisfied as they can be when she's leaving. I hope we continue to entertain them, make them laugh, make them angry and make them emotionally unstable. The goal is to entertain, obviously, and I love the fact that we can do these really dark episodes and also within these dark episodes, do a really, really funny episode or have them juxtaposed within an episode. We can go very, very dark or very, very light. I think that's awesome, and we'll continue to have that this year. I don't think anyone will be disappointed.

"The Closer" premieres at 9 p.m. ET Monday on TNT.
Photo/Video credit: TNT
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