Andrea's column: A smooth transitionLast Monday night was one of mixed emotions. At eight o’clock, my husband and I sat down to watch the final program of “The Closer” which starred Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Rosemount Town Pages
Last Monday night was one of mixed emotions. At eight o’clock, my husband and I sat down to watch the final program of “The Closer” which starred Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
In honor of the show, set in Los Angeles, we purchased a bottle of California Merlot. (Brenda Leigh’s favorite kind of wine.) We had chocolates, too, because she was always reaching into her top left desk drawer for a sweet treat.
There were only six episodes of “The Closer” this summer. Each one packed a double-wallop of excitement and emotion. They set up Chief Johnson’s departure, which ended the show’s seven season run. But viewers barely had time to dry their tears and wave good-bye after Monday’s finale because the show’s spin-off, “Major Crimes,” aired right afterwards.
Most of the “The Closer” squad made the move to the new series. Captain Sharon Raydor, played by Mary McDonnell, got Chief Johnson’s job — one she’ll work differently than her predecessor. Raydor draws a hard straight line between right and wrong, a sharp contrast to Chief Johnson, whose line was a bit wavy.
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing three actors who moved from “The Closer” to “Major Crimes.” I was working on a column about a charity in which they are involved but managed to sneak in some questions about the new series.
Tony Denison, who plays Lieutenant Andy Flynn, allayed my concern that fans of Chief Johnson wouldn’t warm up to Captain Raydor because the captain had headed an Internal Affair’s investigation of Johnson.
“How they infuse (Captain Raydor) into the squad,” Denison said, “is nothing short of brilliant.” He added, “Wait until you see “Major Crimes.” You’re going to walk away from it saying, ‘Wow, that’s great. I’m not going to be missing anything.’”
I asked G.W. Bailey why viewers should keep their televisions on TNT after “The Closer” ends. Just as his character, Lieutenant Provenza, would have, he laughed and said, “Because Tony and I are on it, of course.”
Bailey turned serious and said the two shows are different but the same. That there is a continuity of characters because, “Life goes on. Crime doesn’t stop because one person retires.” He went on to say, “The city will still be there and the city is a character, too. L.A. is part of the fabric and we deal with the underbelly.”
Episode eight of the new show will feature Michael Paul Chan’s character, Lieutenant Tao, who was the “go-to” person whenever Chief Johnson needed a computer expert. Chan said via Facebook that the episode deals with scientific evidence that comes back to haunt Tao.
The premier of "Major Crimes” proved Chan right: He told me the show is more of an ensemble than its predecessor. Denison was right, too. It may take a while for some loyal Brenda Leigh Johnson fans to warm up to Sharon Raydor (After all, she drinks white wine, not red.) but already we have seen a softer side to her. How she earns the trust of her squad — especially, Provenza, who was passed over for the promotion she received — is reason enough to watch.
If you need more reasons, remember what G.W. Bailey said. He and Tony Denison have brought their characters to the show. Tao, Sanchez, Taylor, Buzz, and Fritz are there, too. All part of another winning show. I know where I’ll be next Monday evening at eight o’clock. How about you?