"The Closer" star talks about being a bi-coastal wife and mother.
"The Closer" has been a cable TV ratings hit since its debut in 2005, and its success has a lot to do with its star, Kyra Sedgwick. It's no surprise that Sedgwick has earned two Emmy and three Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of deputy police chief Brenda Johnson, as she's made the quirky character a fascinating figure.
We all know women like Brenda, maybe a little too well: she's capable, even brilliant at work, but can't quite get it together personally. She's a slightly frumpy, somewhat ditzy, sweets-addicted southerner who ruffled feathers when she arrived in Los Angeles from Atlanta to work for her ex-boss—and ex-lover (J.K. Simmons), but earned reluctant respect from the boys' club because she can solve tough cases like nobody else, earning her the moniker "The Closer." Off the clock, she doesn't have it all figured out, though as Season Four begins, things are looking up—she's finally engaged to her FBI agent boyfriend Fritz (Jon Tenney).
"The deeper I get into the character, the more nuances I find," says Sedgwick, enthusiastic about playing Brenda for another 15 episodes. "It's always fresh because it's always new." As the season begins, she and Fritz—with the emphasis on Fritz—are planning a wedding, and dealing with where they'll live, but it won't all be smooth sailing. Episode Three brings their biggest fight to date. "It's about her choices around work. There's a lot of issues there," Sedgwick points out. "They love each other a lot, but there are a lot of issues."
Brenda, who is divorced, hesitated to commit to Fritz in the past but accepted his proposal during a medical crisis when she learned she did not have cancer and will be able to have children if she has a procedure to correct an ovarian problem that brought on early menopause. "I think she loves his awareness of who he is, because she's so unaware of who she is," Sedgwick analyzes. "That is something that she just wishes she had, but she knows she never can have so she finds it in someone else."
Sedgwick embraces the character's contradictions. "The amazing thing about Brenda is she's so incredibly intuitive about everybody else and hasn't a clue about herself. Fritz is always telling her to be more aware, be more conscious. She isn't really interested in having a clue, but she likes that fact that he is. And she thinks he's hot!"
Off screen, Sedgwick has been married to actor Kevin Bacon for nearly 20 years, since they met on the set of the TV movie Lemon Sky in 1988, marrying that September. They have two teenage kids, Travis, 19, and Sosie, 16. Asked if there's a secret to having a solid two-decade marriage, she shakes her head. "No secret. Honestly, we just got lucky. I have no words of wisdom about that."
Perhaps living away from Hollywood helps. The Manhattan-born actress' home base remains in the New York metro area, though she spends half the year in L.A. shooting "The Closer," away from her family. She gets emotional when the subject of leaving them comes up.
"It's challenging. It's kind of a 'one day at a time' thing, to tell you the truth. It's actually become harder as the years have gone by, rather than easier, probably because I see the time slipping by. My daughter has only two more years at home," Sedgwick says, choking up a bit. "You're like, 'Should I be here, or should I be there?' You're constantly asking yourself, 'Have I done the right thing or have I done the wrong thing?' And what I always come back to is I know it's right because I don't think I would be here if it wasn't, and I don't think it would be as much of a success if it wasn't the right thing."
Nevertheless, doubts still persist. Even though Sedgwick says Sosie has adjusted to her absences and that by pursuing her career, she's "showing her to follow your bliss and all that bullshit," she clearly misses her terribly. "It's like, 'Mom's not here and she's missing stuff.' So it's hard," she sighs.
"But everyone in America has trouble balancing, you know? You not only have to be successful, you have to be a good mother. You have to be a good sister. You have to be a good friend. And if you're a man, you have to be strong but you have to be vulnerable. You have to be able to bring home the money, and you don't want to take money from your wife. But what if it doesn't work out that way? It's such a balancing act for everybody. Many people have to work two jobs so they're never home with their kids at all. So when I'm not working, I'm home with them all the time."
That doesn't mean Sedgwick turns down juicy roles that come her way. She'll add to film credits like "Born on the Fourth of July," "Phenomenon," and "Something to Talk About" this fall when she appears opposite Gerard Butler in the futuristic thriller "Game." She'll also receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year.