Picks and Pans Review: The Closer

updated 07/03/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/03/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

TNT (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)
BY TOM GLIATTO
DRAMA

It's one of the special pleasures of watching a dramatic series: a performer latches onto a character, really gets his or her hooks into the role and creates a multilayered human being a viewer can look forward to, episode to episode. I've never even been all that crazy for actress Kyra Sedgwick. With her pinched beauty and carefully tousled hair, she always seemed like a more fawnlike Farrah Fawcett. But as a lady detective in The Closer, which has just started a second season, she's terrific fun.

Sedgwick plays Brenda Johnson, a deputy police chief transplanted from Atlanta to L.A., where she exasperates the homicide division with her fussy, sometimes fierce attention to detail. Johnson is something like the attractive yet messily problematic female characters audiences might associate with Julia Roberts. (For one thing, the fact that Johnson's boss is also her ex-lover keeps threatening to knock her off her wobbly heels.) Weird, rich little touches turn up in any given scene: Merely trying to remove her glasses while eating an orange becomes an intricate, ungainly maneuver of fingers and wrists. Arguably Sedgwick overdoes things--but she brings so much juice to it, why complain?
[3.5 stars]

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