Kyra Sedgwick remembers how, in 2005, she almost did not take the role of Brenda Leigh Johnson on TNT's hit crime series "The Closer." Now, seven years and one Emmy later, Sedgwick is bidding goodbye to the role that changed her career and the careers of other actresses in their 40s, including new "Major Crimes" star, Mary McDonnell.
Initially, Sedgwick was hesitant to take "The Closer" role because it meant she, Kevin Bacon and their two kids would have to move from New York City to Los Angeles, she told The Hollywood Reporter. But after she read the script she couldn't help but pack up and set out on a new career venture.
That career venture landed her an Emmy in 2010 and helped pave the way for other television actresses in their 40s.
"I was 39 when 'The Closer' started," Sedgwick told THR. "It certainly wasn't intentional for me to have a groundbreaking show. It just happened to be. The idea that I can have anything to do with the possibility of more opportunities opening up for women is wonderful. At the time, I didn't think big-picture that much. I went where my gut tells me, where the character seems interesting and where the writing seems good. You take it a day at a time. That was what we did. Then it became a phenomenon, but you never know that going in."
THR highlights how Sedgwick's role helped open doors for the likes of Glenn Close ("Damages"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace"), Laura Linney ("The Big C") and Sigourney Weaver ("Political Animals").
The awards and nominations she received for her role -- including an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a People's Choice Award -- prove that Sedgwick is an actress to take seriously.
"It made a difference in my recognition factor for sure. And I think that people know my name now, and I think that’s always a good thing. And I think 'The Closer,'" she told the Christian Science Monitor during a conference call in July. "It afforded me the opportunity to really show my wares and show the places that I was capable of going as an actor; the dark places and the funny places. I’ll never forget that. I mean, that has been an opportunity that I never really knew that I was going to get. Where this character went everywhere emotionally."
The 46-year-old bids goodbye to "The Closer" with the 9 p.m. finale on Monday night, ushering in "Major Crimes," starring Mary McDonnell.
Although Sedgwick is leaving, nearly all of the facets and cast of “The Closer” remain in place. McDonnell stars in the role of Internal Affairs cop Sharon Raydor, replacing Sedgwick's sweet yet tenacious character, noted Bloomberg.
"It isn't like that at all," McDonnell told USA Today. "Chief Johnson had this particular knack in the way she broke through to the truth and got to the confessions, and that was a very personal thing that she carried. We're not going to try to repeat that with a different character. "What we're doing is putting a different character into the mix and then having this particular group of beloved characters all together say, 'How do we solve crimes now? Where's our best way through? How do we become something unique?'"
McDonnell, who starred in "Battlestar Galactica" as Laura Roslin, received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her guest role in "The Closer" last year.
"Major Crimes" will premiere Aug. 13 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT after "The Closer" finale. It will resume on Aug. 20 in the 9 p.m. slot.