Oline Cogdill

closer2_tntI am going to miss Brenda.

That's Brenda Leigh Johnson, the Los Angeles deputy police chief so richly portrayed by Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer. The TNT series is in the middle of its last six weeks, with The Closer's finale slated for 9 p.m. EST; 8 p.m. CST, on Aug. 13.

Throughout its seven years, The Closer has never been predictable, starting with its unlikely heroine.

During a first meeting, and especially during the first couple of seasons, Brenda came off as a Southern belle with her sometimes exaggerated accent, especially her syrupy "thank yew," which seemed like eight syllables, her overly feminine frocks and those big hats. Even her bright red lipstick didn't seem to belong in the department.

She made it easy for her fellow officers, her staff and especially villains to underestimate her. Brenda is aware that many dismiss her and she uses that to disarm suspects, and prove herself to her staff.

Brenda may have talked like Scarlett O'Hara, but, just like that Margaret Mitchell heroine, she showed she could rise above everything. When Brenda finally won the respect and loyalty of her squad, it was a thing of beauty.

I could relate to her addiction to chocolate, though I am not sure that Ding Dongs count. In one episode, Brenda became emotional about a case so Lt. Mike Tao (Michael Paul Chan) gave her two éclairs to try to calm her down, saying "Please, for all our sakes."

closer4_tntThe stash of chocolate in her drawer and the way biting into a bar gave her comfort brought a much needed levity to the series.

Unlike some other cop shows on cable networks, The Closer was never into humor, despite a couple of episodes in which the pairing of Lt. Andy Flynn (Tony Denison) and Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey) have brought some comic relief.

The Closer dealt more with real-life crime, the kind that the real L.A. cops deal with daily. Gang wars, family strife, jealous spouses, greedy criminals, and hit-and-run drivers have kept the Major Crimes Division busy.

Brenda is called "the closer" because of her ability to close cases or get a confession, sometimes through sometimes questionable methods. It's those questionable methods that have put her under investigation and the subject of a lawsuit in the death of confessed murderer Terrell Baylor who was escorted to his home and left there, and was subsequently murdered by fellow gang members.

That case shows Brenda's uncompromising views of justice, even if it means she sometimes makes her own laws.

closer5_tntSedgwick is a fine actress, bringing a complexity to her nuanced performance. The Closer also has a superb supporting case including Jon Tenney as Brenda’s husband, FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard; J.K. Simmons as Brenda’s current boss, Assistant Police Chief Will Pope; Robert Gossett as Commander Taylor; Corey Reynolds as Brenda’s right-hand man Detective Sergeant David Gabriel; Tony Denison as Lieutenant Andy Flynn; G.W. Bailey as Lieutenant Provenza; Michael Paul Chan as the squad’s tech guru, Lieutenant Mike Tao; Raymond Cruz as gang expert Detective Julio Sanchez; and Phillip P. Keene as audio-visual technician Buzz Watson.

And while Brenda is the lead character, each member of the cast has had his or her own show.

Personal favorites have been the episode in which the squad try to track down a missing boy who attends the summer camp where Tao’s son works. A highlight of that episode is when Tao's son sees his father in a professional light and gains new respect for him.

The episode in which Buzz's sister, Casey Watson (Christine Woods, Perfect Couples, FlashForward) comes for a visit from Seattle was a perfect Christmas show.

Flynn and Provenza's scheme to serve court papers goes horribly awry featured Emmy-winning actor/director Adam Arkin (Chicago Hope, Sons of Anarchy, Northern Exposure) as a financier who pulled off a Ponzi scheme and what has to be the world's stupidest lawyer.

How Brenda exits from The Closer and what will happen to her is being played out during these last few weeks of the series. But viewers won't be leaving the squad. The squard will continue with the series Major Crimes starring Mary McDonnell as Captain Raydor.

For another view of The Closer, see June Thomas' essay in Mystery Scene's Winter 2012 issue, No. 123.

The Closer airs on TNT at 9 p.m. EST; 8 p.m. CST. The finale is scheduled for Aug. 13.

PHOTOS: Top, Tony Denison, Kyra Sedgwick and G.W. Bailey; Center, Sedgwick, Mary McDonnell and J.K. Simmons; Bottom,Jon Tenney, Corey Reynolds, Kyra Sedgwick, G.W. Bailey, Mary McDonnell and Phillip P. Keene.