The Closer happens to be one of my most favorite television shows, period. Not just on cable. Not just during the summer.
Why do I like this show so much? Kyra Sedgwick's performance as Brenda Leigh Johnson, for one. I'm from the South, and I know a fake Southern accent- they make me grit my teeth. But I would have sworn that Sedgwick was a real Southerner. Put money on it. Turns out, she's from New York. Wow.
But beyond the accent, Sedgwick has brought to life a fully complex, interesting woman who's really good at what she does. She's believable. Most of the time.
However, if it were just Sedgwick, the show would still not be my favorite. It's also the ensemble behind her. For the most part, they are all as fully developed as Johnson is. Provenza and Flynn are comic gold, and Sanchez and Gabriel are pretty awesome too. I even like their medical examiner. But my favorite is Lt. Tao. How can I not love him? Take an interaction between Sanchez and Tao in the season finale:
Sanchez: What do you know about ninjas?
Tao: What, I'm Asian-American so I'm supposed to know about ninjas?
Sanchez: Uh, yeah.
Tao then starts a detailed lecture on ninjas. Actually, Tao, it's not because you're Asian-American, it's because you are a geek.
This season was a little different from previous seasons, in the introduction of Brenda's niece, Charley (not Charlene), played by Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon's daughter, Sosie Bacon. Honestly, I'm a little tired of the annoying, troubled teen. For once I'd like to see a teenager on TV not fit that stereotype. Sadly, Charley fit the stereotype, and never grew on me.
Brenda also lost a member of her team - Lt. Daniels, the forensic accountant. She left because the team couldn't handle the continuing conflict between Daniels and Gabriel. Love gone wrong. I didn't miss her at all. Unlike the other characters, Daniels had far less personality - not the fault of the actress but the writers.
And finally, a memoriam on Kitty - the cat of Brenda and Fritz. Kitty became ill this season, and Brenda and Fritz had the unenviable task of deciding whether to put her down or not. Brenda denied that Kitty could be sick, but eventually, she realized that keeping Kitty alive too long would not be fair to the cat. So, Kitty was put to sleep. I was heartbroken - it was reminiscent of having to put my own cat to sleep two years ago. So well done.