Someone asked last week if there were any shows I felt did well on the gender or race front. Though they are few and far between, some exist. One of them is TNT’s The Closer, which I just love to watch. Unfortunately (or perhaps this is a good thing) the show only comes on during the summer. The seasons are 13 episodes long. And you have to wait through the Fall/Spring season to get more Closer goodness. It’s worth it, though.
The Closer’s lead character is female–Brenda Leigh Johnson, played by Kyra Sedgewick, who is awesome. The ensemble cast only has one other female, sadly, but many minority actors:
Irene Daniels (Black & Latina) played by Gina Ravera
Julio Sanchez (Latino) played by Raymond Cruz
Commander Taylor (Black) played by Robert Gossett
Michael Tao (Chinese-American) played by Michael Paul Chan
David Gabriel (Black) played by Corey Reynolds
Of the 10 main characters, five are ethnic minorities. Pretty impressive.
I love The Closer because the creators they don’t just pay lip service to diversity by throwing some brown people in the cast. It’s an ensemble and the group is very integrated. Each team member is important and the writers don’t take shortcuts and don’t go for negative racial stereotypes. That’s not to say that all of the minority characters are good and golden. They have flaws, like everyone, and Commander Taylor is Brenda’s biggest nemesis in the first and through part of the second season. The writing allows the audience to not have to focus on the race of the characters without acting as f the characters don’t have a particular race at all. They do, and it’s commented upon but not put in neon lights.
Like in real life!
Though I love all of the characters in The Closer, I do wish they’d get some more female detectives in there. Brenda is wonderful, and Kyra Sedgewick can carry a show in her sleep. The only other female in the squad is Irene Daniels. While she is written just as competently as the others, I’ve noticed that she doesn’t often get to shine in the foreground as much as Detectives Flynn and Provenza or Sgt. Gabriel. Gabriel is understandable since he’s Brenda’s favorite and sort of her right hand man. Flynn & Provenza are hams and excellent at providing comedy relief, so it’s not a stretch to understand why they get forefront attention a lot. Still, I wish they would bring in another female and give Daniels more time in the spotlight.
Season 3 is almost over at this point, but you may be able to catch some episodes on TNT OnDemand, or watch them at TNT’s website, or you can buy episodes from all three seasons for $2 each on AmazonUnbox. Seasons 1 and 2 are out on DVD. It’s definitely something you should check out if you like crime dramas.