Carin Baer / TNT
Carin Baer / TNT
Are Fritz and Brenda over for good on The Closer? Is Jon Tenney leaving? For the answers to these burning Q's and more, I went straight to The Closer show runner James Duff. He spilled secrets about the future of Kyra Sedgwick's Brenda and Jon Tenney's Fritz, including news about a permanent breakup, a bomb that might go off and when and how your fave guest stars (Willie Ray, holla!) will stop by for more LAPD action before the season ends.
One Fight Does Not a Breakup Make: Despite what the ferocity of Brenda and Fritz's episode-closing argument in the last ep might have led you think (I've been getting your distressed emails) Brenda and Fritz are gonna be OK. "I'm kind of astonished, really, that people would think they were breaking up because they had an argument," said Duff. "My parents, who have been married for 53 years, still get in intense arguments over card games."
What the Future Holds: Even though Brenda and Fritz will be holding fast, expect some long-term consequences from the big battle. Said Duff, "This coming week on the show, when Brenda could actually use Fritz, he's not very helpful, to say the least. He has a few comments in the first act, and then he disappears. She's left on her own." But episode six, I'm told, "is more of a Brenda-Fritz dynamic." Also, said Duff, "What we're shooting right now—several episodes later—is about the results of that argument. She learns something from that argument."
The Other Couple: Brenda and Fritz seem to be muddling through, but things aren't looking so hopeful for Sgt. Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) and Det. Daniels (Gina Ravera). According to Duff, "They've broken up, and that's the end of it. But in our back five episodes, airing in January, there some issues, some consequences, in the squad room, related to the dynamic between Daniels and Gabriel." Oh, dear. Brenda is not going to like that. "No, she's not."
Welcome Back: Clay (Barry Corbin) and Willie Ray (Frances Sternhagen) are coming back! Look for them in episode eight this summer, and in episodes 11 and 12 over the winter. What brings them to sunny Southern California? "They're all pushing for the wedding." Ah, sounds like parents to me. I'm also hearing that Stephen Martines' sexy L.A. Times reporter Ricardo Ramos (of "Vamos, Ramos" fame) will be recurring as well. He's in episode seven this summer, and he will likely be back at least once over the winter. Now, what, exactly, is going on in episode seven? "It's a very personal episode for Sanchez (Raymond Cruz). Seven is a huge episode for him. Someone he knows is murdered, in his neighborhood—he still lives in East L.A.—one of his relatives, actually, and I shouldn't say anything more than that."
Shakeup: Could the LAPD be breaking up the band? According to James Duff, "In episode nine, Brenda's command changes. She gets caught up in a reorganization of her force. Priority homicide division is in terrible danger, let me just put it that way."
Awww Heck: There are six more episodes left this summer, and it sounds like the last one is going to be a high-intensity cliffhanger—one that may or may not involve high explosives or a bank robbery or something equally dangerous for our heroes. According to James Duff, "This season has been about power. Every one of the episodes is about a different form of power in our lives. The last episode is about the power of time. It's called 'Time Bomb.' The LAPD is a very dangerous place to work. Police officers are the everyday heroes of American life to me. They put themselves in harm's way all the time, not just for the millions of us, but for each other. When you get into terrible situations—you don't always know you're walking into a terrible situation—you don't always have your Kevlar, you don't always have your jackets on. You have to make a decision: Am I going to put myself in the line of fire for the sake of the people I'm supposed to protect and serve, or am I going to stand back a little? That's what happens in this episode. They are given the choice, and they have to make a decision. And they're running out of time." Oh lord. So, for me, the worrying starts...now.
Last But Not Least: "I will tell you that episode 11 begins with Brenda in a wedding veil." (!)
Total fake-out or actual wedding? Post your take and your general Closer-related thoughts in the comments, and check back Monday for more from James about the rest of The Closer's summer season!
—Reporting by Jennifer Godwin