STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $39.98
RUNNING TIME: 602 Minutes
Unaired Scenes

The Pitch

"It’s like the first half of a Law and Order episode, but with Scarlett O’Hara as the investigator!"

The Humans

Hollow Man’s significant other, Kyra Sedgwick; Peter Parker’s boss, J.K. Simmons; and also featuring Corey Reynolds, Robert Gossett, G.W. Bailey, Anthony John Denison and Jon Tenney

Fabfunk! Not again!

The Nutshell

In Los Angeles, celebrity murder makes huge headlines. It also makes huge headaches for the LAPD. To relive these headaches, the LAPD forms the Priority Murder Squad to quickly investigate and wrap-up high profile cases. To head this group, the LAPD hires Brenda Johnson, a former CIA-trained interrogator from Atlanta, GA. Brenda’s job is to get convictions fast, and to get them with as little trouble as possible.

You need me for Police Academy 8 and you know it!

The Lowdown

Other than the endless Law and Order re-runs TNT has delivered us original shows like The Closer and the now-cancelled Wanted. With its success and acclaim, The Closer has clearly become the flagship show for TNT. It’s allowing the network to expand with new content and deliver us other decent shows like the recently premiered show titled Saved.

The role of Brenda Johnson is what Kyra Sedgwick was born for. Sedgwick simply nails every aspect of the character including all of her so-called “quirks”. There is a deep seriousness to the show, yet it is Johnson’s unique southern charm and persona that makes The Closer a fun show to watch; I cannot stress how top notch the delivery is by Sedgwick. I think the best comparison of her performance is to that of Tony Shalhoub’s on Monk. There’s also a strong sexual presence that the crew has managed to pull off with Sedgwick that keeps Johnson the focus of everyone’s attention.

Caught in the act. Again!

If you enjoyed J.K. Simmons on Oz and then fell in love with him in Spider-Man 1 and 2, you’ll find a brand new appreciation for him in his role as Assistant Police Chief Will Pope. Pope is a much quieter role than those previously seen from Simmons and I think it’s a blast to slowly learn of Pope’s past with Johnson as it is interwoven throughout the first season’s episodes. (It also continues into the second season.) Simmons nails the quiet desperation of Pope’s actions to get back with Johnson without letting down his demeanor as a high-ranking police officer.

And if Johnson does something against the grain (which is a common occurrence on the show) it’s Pope that has to deal with the backlash. And then he’s got to deal with Johnson; it’s a losing battle for him either way. And you don’t want to get on Johnson’s bad side because she her special way of getting back at you; one way which involves her being overly nice and sarcastic right in front to your face. It’s a part of Johnson’s character that I absolutely love, as she takes advantage of what people think of her and her “southern charm”. It quickly becomes clear that some people forget about Johnson’s CIA background due to her southern accent and manner. They see her as being really dense and not getting it at times, but then that’s when she latches her claws into them and doesn’t let go. I’ll even admit to letting my presumptions about Johnson’s accent and manner get in the way viewing her character on a professional level within the universe of the show. That’s what makes the unraveling of the mystery in the interrogation room every week so much fun to watch. Johnson takes complete command of the situation at hand when you least expect it.

"Which look do you think would be better on me? Undead brunette or legally dead blonde?"

It’s obvious that The Closer wouldn’t be anything without Simmons and Sedgwick, but it just wouldn’t work without the actors and performances the two are surrounded by. Corey Reynolds delivers a solid performance as Johnson’s partner; his character is what keeps Johnson from getting completely lost in the city of Los Angeles throughout the first season. (Johnson getting lost while driving is a great running gag throughout the early portion of this first season.)

For all of you Police Academy fans out there, G.W. Bailey delivers most of the on-the-job comedy as Detective Lt. Provenza. It’s not the obvious comedy you’d expect to see in the Police Academy films and I’ll have to admit that I was taken aback at how funny Bailey can be in a more dramatic role.

The CHUD Message Board starter kit.

Jon Tenney plays Johnson’s new love interest, that of F.B.I. Agent Fritz Howard. As people, Johnson and Howard come from two completely different worlds, but their chemistry together just works. On the whole, this is the “big idea” behind The Closer that I love. The show questions your assumptions about people without putting that question right out there on the table. This concept gets under your skin and stays with you for quite some time and helps make the show such a satisfying experience.

The Closer is a critically acclaimed show, but it doesn’t hurt to get more and more people onboard. I beg you to pick up this set (in-store, Netflix rental, stolen, whatever) and give it a spin. You won’t regret it.

The Package

The set comes with a box in which two slim cases are inserted. Sadly missing from the episodes in the 4-discs is cast and crew commentary; something I think would have been a great benefit to this set (considering there are only 13 episodes). There are quite a few deleted scenes included with each episode, but without any explanation they don’t hold much weight. Not to worry, as the show carries the load of the price tag.

Sedgwick loved her laundry. Loved, loved, loved it!

9.3 out of 10