Long before of “The Closer,” Kyra Sedgwick carved out a successful career spanning film, theater and television. She had turned down offers of other series, including series shot in New York where her family lives.

So what ultimately sold her on coming to L.A. and living and breathing “The Closer” was the thought of playing Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.

“The last thing I wanted was to be in L.A., and frankly the other last thing I wanted to do was be on a procedural, or even a series,” Sedgwick says, “but I really loved the character.”

Logistics have been challenging for Sedgwick and her family, but there’s also been an upside.

“There’s no other genre in which you’ll have this experience as an actor, to live with a character for this long and see a character change and grow — or not grow as the case may be with Brenda. It’s an amazing, complicated ride that’s been mostly an utter joy and great gift for me,” she says.

Sedgwick adds that she approaches acting differently on “The Closer” than on previous other projects.

“Knowing this character so intimately, at this point it’s almost as if she knows me,” she says. “It’s sort of an ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ kind of thing where I learn the lines, show up on set and have no idea how the scene is going to play out. It’s a magical thing.”

An example of that was in the recent mid-season finale, when the plaintiff’s attorney (Curtis Armstrong) in a wrongful death case against her said he would pursue every avenue possible to expose her misdeeds.

“I didn’t know I would be physically shaking during the whole scene,” she recalls. “I had no plan for that at all.”

Sedgwick says the rapid pace of TV has taught her to trust her instincts as an actor. Seeing guest stars come in cold and nail their scenes have also inspired her.

“I’ve learned that sometimes rehearsal is something you don’t desperately need,” she says. “I’m so impressed and in awe when they come in and do something I just didn’t expect.”

Working on “The Closer” has earned Sedgwick an Emmy and a Golden Globe, but it’s brought her more than accolades.

“When you’re part of why a network becomes so successful, that’s a good thing in this business. When you make money for people, that’s a good thing, and I think that will hold me in good stead,” she says. “But what ‘The Closer’ has really given me is a facility and a trust in my instrument that is very profound. That’s been the greatest gift of all, because if you trust that you can do something, then you usually can.”

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