While actress Kyra Sedgwick enjoys success as the star and producer on basic cable's all-time top-rated original program, it is not the kind of career-defining role the Golden Globe-winning actress envisioned for herself.
Before signing on for The Closer, the 41-year-old actress, who is a veteran of movies and theater, was never interested in a regular television gig. But now, as The Closer returns for its third season June 18, she says she is hooked. In fact, she has become one of the producers.
Before joining the TNT show, which debuted in summer 2005, Sedgwick had performed a handful of guest appearances on television, but the grind of TV work was never well-suited to her New York-based life with her husband, actor Kevin Bacon, and their two children, now teenagers.
Then she was pitched the role of master police interrogator Brenda Johnson. “The role was incredibly appealing and exciting,” Sedgwick says, “I saw a huge amount of potential.”
From the start, TNT executives and the drama's creators had her in mind for the lead role. Last year, she was nominated for an Emmy for the part.
“She raises the game of everyone around her,” says Michael Wright, senior VP of content creation for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies. “Her level of commitment is unbelievable.”
Like most working mothers, Sedgwick has to juggle her job with family life. She says Bacon urged her to take the role and he stayed home with their children for the first year to ease the transition.
Now, while Sedgwick shoots in Los Angeles, Bacon and their children visit every other weekend and on school breaks. With two actors in the family, she says, they are accustomed to such sacrifices: “I had my first child at 23, and we've been juggling for a long time.”
Sedgwick continues to delve into her character with gusto. “Creatively, I haven't been this fulfilled since I did Twelfth Night on Broadway,” she says. “The range of emotions I get to play and range of themes we discover and work on are very exciting.”
Her new role as a producer is a natural progression, as she already participated behind the scenes, contributing with script notes, first cuts and even casting. “I have been acting in that role ever since I came on,” says Sedgwick, who has produced several films. “Having the title feels like where I should be in the process.”
TNT's Wright agrees. “Kyra,” he says, “always contributes and focuses beyond her work as an actress.”