Tag Archives: Kyra Sedgwick

In Praise of The Closer

Tonight brings us the return of The Closer on TNT.

The show has been a rousing success, nabbing the best ratings on cable TV and bringing adulation and awards to Kyra Sedgwick for her lead role as Brenda Leigh Johnson. And while I agree that her mannered Southern belle with a whip-crack mind is a fun character to watch, she’s also blessed to have a deep and solid ensemble cast that elevates the show from good to great.

Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan, Jon Tenney, Corey Reynolds and Robert Gossett usually get a couple of strong minutes within each episode and the occasional featured sub-plot to flex their muscles. They’re all seasoned actors who quickly defined their characters during the first season, so it’s not necessary to waste time constantly redefining their motivation. Special kudos to Cruz for the episode about his brother’s death, and Gossett for his character’s arc from jealous adversary to admiring and supportive team player.

Even the recurring roles and guest stars are very well-cast, avoiding the “sweeps week” false notes that many other shows employ (where the guest actor is a big name draw but hopelessly mismatched with the pulse of the show). Barry Corbin is perfect as Brenda’s father, as is the electric Mary McDonnell’s recurring role as Captain Raydor, the Internal Affairs officer who is Johnson’s nemesis and intellectual equal.

But I have to admit I have favorites – three guys I’d watch every day and twice on Sundays.

Anthony John Denison and G.W. Bailey as Lieutenants Flynn and Provenza are the show’s comic relief; a wonderfully funny tandem act but far from buffoons. Bailey hasn’t had a role this good since Rizzo on M*A*S*H, and he plays the cantankerous vet with a heart of gold to perfection. And I’ve been a Denison fan since I first saw his magnetic turn as criminal Ray Luca on Crime Story; he also wowed me as the pensive and flawed John Henry Raglin on Wiseguy, filling in for an ailing Ken Wahl in a story arc featuring Stanley Tucci, Ron Silver and Jerry Lewis. (Needless to say, you must grab both those shows on DVD!)

And when you have J.K. Simmons in your cast, you raise the whole project one notch. Looks like this season his prior relationship with Sedgwick’s character will come back into focus as he jockeys for political position. Which will only give us more opportunities to enjoy watching him juggle frustration, respect, authority and anger as the conflicted and righteous Chief Pope. In recent years he’s received kudos for his work in Juno and Spiderman, and his turn as the fired employee in Up In The Air was the best thing in that movie. Hard to believe he once gave me chills as the racist homophobe prisoner Vern Schillinger on Oz.

Summer television is no longer a wasteland. Tune in tonight.

Season Six episode guide courtesy TV.COM

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And today we celebrate the birthday of a few very funny gentlemen…Bill Cosby, Milton Berle, Jay Thomas and hell,  even Curly Joe DeRita! Also my crush from the 70s, Christine McVie.

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Emmy Time! Predictions…

Swope

I previously railed about the unimaginative nominations when the Emmys first disclosed the final choices – click  here for my picks of one to drop from each category and whom to replace them with – but now it’s time for making the predictions.

Granted, I can’t figure out which way the wind blows on this thing better than anyone else. Seems like some people vote to repay a debt from a prior omission, while others try to judge fairly based upon that year’s work. Some nominees try the Putney Swope method by voting for the candidate they least expect to win – theoretically to not give a vote to a serious threat – and we all know how well that can turn out. Then there’s always the Pia Zadora method (bribery) and the evil darkness of studio politics. Whatever.

Here’s tonight’s ballot. Good luck and don’t wager your kid’s trust fund. I’ll be back tomorrow with the winners and some comments on the whole debacle after I speed through the commercials at midnight. Thanks to the wonderful invention of the DVR, I’ll be doing what any adult male should – watching the Giants/Cowboys game.

As for my predictions in the major categories? Note these are my picks for who will win, not who should win:

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series: 30 Rock • Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series: Mad Men • Jon Hamm as Don Draper

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie: Into The Storm • Brendan Gleeson as Winston Churchill

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series: 30 Rock • Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series: The Closer • Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie: Grey Gardens • Jessica Lange as Big Edie

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series: How I Met Your Mother • Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series: Breaking Bad • Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie: Little Dorrit • Sir Tom Courtenay as Mr. Dorrit

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: 30 Rock • Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series: In Treatment • Dianne Wiest as Gina

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Relative Stranger • Cicely Tyson as Pearl

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series: 30 Rock • Steve Martin as Gavin Volure

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series: Rescue Me • Michael J. Fox as Dwight

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series: Saturday Night Live • Tina Fey as Governor Sarah Palin

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit • Carol Burnett as Bridget “Birdie” Sulloway

Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock

Outstanding Drama Series: Lost

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