Are y'all ready to say goodbye to Brenda Leigh Johnson?
Ready or not, the smart Southern detective (Emmy winner Kyra Sedgwick) at the heart of TNT's "The Closer" is about to wrap her last cases.
The final six episodes of the cable hit's seventh season begin unspooling tomorrow at 9 p.m. on TNT, and they promise to bring the journey of the interrogator with a weakness for sweets to some sort of conclusion.
In tomorrow's tense episode, "Hostile Witness," Brenda matches wits with her nemesis, defense attorney and rapist/killer Phillip Stroh (Billy Burke).
Stroh taunts her: "You are the worst loser I have ever met, and you are a loser."
Brenda feels so close to nabbing him that she forces a mistrial against another assailant and then doggedly pursues one rape victim who suffers from mental illness and is desperate not to relive the trauma of her attack.
As a result of the recent federal lawsuit against her, Brenda bristles at the ever-increasing restrictions placed on her authority. She realizes she can no longer trust Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons), the man who brought her into LAPD's Major Crimes unit.
Onetime detractors Cmdr. Russell Taylor (Robert Gossett) and Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell, "Battlestar Galactica") do their best to run interference for Brenda, but no one knows who in the department is the leak.
By the episode's end, viewers understand the set-up for the concluding arc.
TNT did not provide a screener of the July 16 episode, but from the logline, it promises to be a light-hearted romp focusing on Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey) and his first wife.
But the tension ratchets up in the July 23 episode, "Drug Fiend," in which the investigation into the strangulation of a respected physician spirals into a hunt for a mass murderer whose victims might number into the hundreds. The case also heightens Brenda's fears for her own father's (Barry Corbin) health.
"The Closer" was practically an instant hit in 2005 and ushered in a new era of original programming on basic cable, one that recognized and valued the power of actresses to carry complicated characters and premises in a way that cinema never has. For five years, the series ranked No. 1 on basic cable.
Sedgwick's portrayal of a steely yet vulnerable detective captivated audiences and finally earned her an Emmy in 2010.
Most of the supporting cast will carry over to the spinoff "Major Crimes," which will spotlight McDonnell's no-nonsense investigator and starts in August after "The Closer" wraps its last case. Here's hoping Brenda gets her happy ending, which should include a crate full of sweets, a cat, her beloved Fritzy (Jon Tenney) and a transfer to a restful tropical island.