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  • Writer's pictureAugust Sorenson

Alumni Summer Binge Series Pt. II: "The Closer"

Photo Credit: IMDb

This summer we are putting together a collection of high-caliber television shows that have alumni appear throughout the course of their run, called "Alumni Summer Binge Series." Our first highlighted series was the recent HBO hit Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. For the second show in our series, we would like to showcase the long-running TNT drama The Closer.

The Closer follows Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson as she uses her innate ability to read people in order to obtain confessions that help solve Los Angeles' toughest, most sensitive cases. The show ran for seven seasons encompassing the time period between 2005 and 2012, for a total of 109 episodes. The show had seven Primetime Emmy Nominations with one win, ten SAG Awards nominations, and six Golden Globe nominations with one win. Along with the following alumni, the show also featured Kyra Sedgwick, J.K. Simmons, G.W. Bailey, and Raymond Cruz.

Gossett with J.K. Simmons, Photo Credit: IMDb

Having worked on TV for decades, Robert Gossett (Class of 1976) has one of the most distinguished careers, earning himself accolades while working with other high-profile actors. You’ve no doubt spotted Gossett on one of the many long-running series he’s featured in General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, The Oath, and Major Crimes, the successor series to The Closer. Alongside the countless alumni on this list, catch Gossett in The Closer, the police procedural centered on Brenda Leigh Johnson (played by Kyra Sedgwick) and her team in Los Angeles.

Starring as Commander Russell Taylor, Gossett worked for all seven seasons of The Closer and is credited with working on all 109 episodes of the series. When asked how he prepares for the challenging role of playing a law enforcement agent, Gossett recalls “...I grew up with cops, my father was a cop, my brother is a retired police officer…in New York.” This closeness, this familiarity with the role (and some Academy training) no doubt gave Gossett the ability to bring to life such an iconic character.

Foch in "NCIS", Photo Credit: IMDb

Dutch-born actress Nina Foch (Class of 1942) built a career that would span six decades, crediting her with over 50 feature films and 100 television appearances. Foch received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the 1954 film Executive Suite. While not working on stage or screen, Foch taught at USC for over 40 years, where she pioneered the class “Directing the Actor.” In 2007, Foch played Doris Donnelly in Season 3 Episode 5 of The Closer, titled “The Round File.” In the episode, Donnelly quips “It’s so difficult to meet people in Los Angeles. I tried going to AA for a little while, but it turns out you have to quit drinking completely, which seemed extreme.” The episode is Foch’s last credited performance of a career that spanned half a century.

Stewart in "NCIS," Photo Credit: IMDb

French Stewart (Class of 1985) began his career in the theatre, touring with regional companies before making his way to the screen. When Stewart did land on screen he saw a plethora of opportunities: 3rd Rock from the Sun, the ‘90s sitcom starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and John Lithgow; Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi feature Stargate, and the titular role in both installments of the Disney franchise Inspector Gadget.

Looking through Stewart’s list of credits on IMDb, one will spot, in the midst of his countless projects, three episodes of The Closer in 2007. In the first of these three, Stewart plays Gary Evans in “The Round File,” the same episode as fellow alumna Nina Foch. Stewart reprised his role in “Next of Kin: Part 1,” and the subsequent followup, and finale to Season 3, “Next of Kin: Part 2.”

Mosley in "Castle," Photo Credit: IMDb

If you’ve had your eyes glued to the TV screen over the last decade, you may have spotted one Michael Mosley (Class of 2000). With dozens of episodes in highly-rated series including Castle, the Nathan Fillion-led crime-comedy series, Netflix’s Ozark starring Jason Bateman and fellow alumna Julia Garner, and the Dennis Leary-created Sirens, a series with the tagline “A life or death situation comedy” for which Mosley received top billing, he’s placed himself as a reliable working actor in the business.

Before landing recurring roles for himself on any major series, Mosley starred in a 2010 episode of The Closer. The episode, titled “Old Money,” sees Mosley give a strong performance as Jeff Darby in an episode that indulges in bribery and murder, all while Mosley smears the screen with his acting chops.

Robbins, Photo Credit: IMDb

Born in Turkey, award-winning actor Blake Robbins (Class of 1993) spent decades working as an actor in projects in the theatre, film, and television. Making his Broadway debut in Arthur Miller’s The Man Who Had All the Luck, Robbins played alongside television star Chris O’Donnell in a production operated by The Roundabout Theatre Company. Robbins has starred in series all across his career with such stars as J.K. Simmons in Oz, NBC’s prized sitcom The Office, and in an episode of The Closer, the crime drama punctuated with Academy alumni.

Robbins plays Mr. Witten in the episode “Heart Attack,” released in 2010. The episode lands in the middle of Season 6, delving into a gang (specifically Cartel) violence, and the team’s ability to deal with such a high-stakes, factious event.

Parker in "The Good Doctor," Photo Credit: IMDb

With consistent work on numerous series from The Rookie (another Nathan Fillion-led series) to Disney’s Lab Rats, the Elizabeth Holmes biopic The Dropout to Marvel’s Runaways, Angel Parker (Class of 1999) possesses an immense range. Before having recurring roles on major projects, Parker paid her dues working countless episodes across TV: two episodes of ER, one episode of The Young and the Restless and Criminal Minds, respectively, and an episode of The Closer back in 2009.

Titled “Half Load,” the episode is centered on a murder that takes place in gang territory that sparks skepticism in the local community. “Half Load” aired at the beginning of Season 5 and was directed by Roxann Dawson, who starred in A Chorus Line on Broadway, and directed episodes of House of Cards, The Americans, and Mercy Street.

Broderick in "The Closer," Photo Credit: The Female Villains Wiki

Beth Broderick (Class of 1977) is most known for her role as Zelda Spellman in the ABC/WB sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch. With recurring roles as Diane Janssen in ABC’s mystery series Lost and as Rose Twitchell in CBS’s science fiction series Under the Dome, Broderick has cemented herself as one of TV’s favorite actresses.

Broderick played the part of Morgan Bloom in Season 2 Episode 7 of The Closer. The episode, “Head Over Heels,” centers on the murder of Chris Mundy, an adult film star who was employed by Bloom’s company Opulent Films. The murder is revealed to be a coverup of dark motives (and sometimes realities) of working in adult entertainment. By fans of the series The Closer, Bloom is remembered as one as an iconic “villainess.”

All episodes can be streamed on HBO Max.

Duke Daniel Pierce contributed to this piece.


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