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The Telefile
The Closer: New Season En Fuego The premiere episode of the excellent TNT drama The Closer is tonight. As I mentioned in today's GTC, it's kind of schlamazing. In a nutshell: Brenda and Fritz have moved in together and are still adjusting to cohabitation and its attendant maelstrom. A photojournalist is trailing Brenda -- and getting in the way of her investigation, which raises some interesting questions about voyeurism and the moral responsibilities of the press. At the center of the action is an arson crime that sees the return of season one's homicidal pyromaniac Billy Croelick, whose chemistry with Brenda is ... sizzling. In anticipation of the TV event of the, um, week (?), I had the opportunity to do a little round-table thingy with the show's star Kyra Sedgwick, whose no-BS New York gal personality stands in sharp contrast to the spitfire Southern sweetheart Brenda Johnson. I guess that's why they call it "acting." Here are the highlights:

On the aforementioned chemistry with the Croelick character:

"His obsession with fire is kind of like [Brenda's] obsession with getting to the truth of situations and they both have a dislike of authority and are both rebels in their own way. I think what's interesting about the Jason O'Mara character is that she sees him as a predator as well as a victim. But they have similarities in their personalities that make their chemistry fun to watch."

On what we can expect from the new season:

"[Brenda] has to once again be confronted with the personal issues surrounding her relationship with Fritz and whether or not they're gonna get married and make the leap into having kids. I'm also looking forward to the internal conflicts within the force. That's always interesting to me. She's sort of the den mother of this group of people and as is with all work situations, conflicts ensue and things happen and she has to try to manage it. Her parents come back and it will be interesting to see the child she becomes when her parents are there. And we have really great -- again, just another batch of really amazing scripts. I don't know how the writers do it."

On the trend of film actresses (Mary-Louise Parker, Minnie Driver, Holly Hunter) making the move to the small screen to tackle roles playing strong women in cable series:

"We go where the good work is, but people are also willing to spend money on these kinds of shows and bank on these characters and these women because The Closer has done well. In Hollywood, there's nothing like making money for people that will make people want to do more things like it. We at least have a female character in the center of the piece and it's been great to be part of that revolution or that moment for good actors. But I think it's also timing -- cable offers you a lot more freedom than network and there's a lot more you can do and you can base much more on reality in terms of standards and practices and it's interesting for actors as well as women in general."

On that insane Southern accent:

"The accent has afforded me a certain amount of freedom. There's something about playing someone who's so different from you and from a different place that affords a great deal of freedom. I have to be constantly vigilant about it. I work with a dialect coach and she reads the script and breaks it down into sounds and lists of words and I get that sent to me every week. It's not as hard as learning the lines but it's right up there."

The Closer premieres tonight at 9 PM on TNT.

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