Mary McDonnell, who has been recurring on TNT’s The Closer, is joining the cast of the crime drama’s extended seventh and final season as a regular, TVLine reports. She will reprise her role as Captain Sharon Raydor. TNT is planning to continue The Closer, likely via a spinoff titled Major Crimes, which would feature some of the series’ current cast members, so McDonnell’s timely promotion is sure to open up speculation that she may be groomed to succeed departing star Kyra Sedgwick as the franchise’s next leading lady.
This is a shocker. TNT’s flagship series The Closer is coming to an end with next year’s seventh season as its last. This was not a result of contract negotiations gone bad. The contract of star Kyra Sedgwick is up at the end of Season 7 and, like The Office‘s Steve Carell, she decided to move on. Unlike The Office, TNT and The Closer producer Warner Bros. TV opted to end the series with their star leaving. But The Closer is much more of a single-lead show than The Office. “Kyra is The Closer, it’s like continuing The Mentalist without Simon Baker,” one insider noted. Sedgwick, who has been commuting from New York where she lives with her family to Los Angeles where The Closer films, is certainly leaving on a high note. She just won an Emmy for The Closer in August. Also in the summer, the show helped launch TNT’s most promising new series since The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles. That would probably soften the blow to TNT from losing its signature series. The Closer remains the most watched basic cable series of all time and, in its sixth season, which is still underway, it went up from Season 5 in the ratings, a rare feat for a veteran series. Here is TNT’s release:
TNT’s long-running, breakout hit THE CLOSER will wrap up its phenomenal run with a final season in 2011. The difficult decision to conclude the series with season seven was made by Kyra Sedgwick, the Emmy-winning star of THE CLOSER.
“It’s impossible to fully express our appreciation to Kyra Sedgwick, series creator James Duff and all of the other talented people who brought THE CLOSER to TNT viewers,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “THE CLOSER was a pivotal series in setting a new course for TNT’s original programming, while also serving as a prime example of the storytelling strength possible on cable television.”
“I cannot fathom how difficult it will be to say goodbye to the incredible family we’ve created on THE CLOSER,” Sedgwick said. “I will always be grateful to James Duff for his love and friendship, as well as for creating such a rich and complex character who I have loved living with year after year. Mike, Greer, Rick and all of our outstanding cast and crew are forever in my heart. I want to thank TNT and Warner Bros. Television, as well as the incredible fans of THE CLOSER, for all of their unwavering support over the last seven years.”