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Published:July 18th, 2011 14:31 EST
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The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick on the Series' Final Season

By Paulette Cohn

It`s the beginning of the end for The Closer, which last week premiered the first episode of its seventh and final season with a surprising twist: Chief Tommy Delk (Courtney Vance) had a heart attack, throwing the LAPD into a major realignment. Could it put Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick) out of a job? Is that how the series will wrap?

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We asked the show`s creator James Duff, who would only say that the knowledge of when the end comes "gives us the chance to write the final episode knowing what those final images are going to be and what the final story is going to be."

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For Sedgwick, the timing of wrapping The Closer at the end of the seventh season was perfect because she was at the end of her contract, but also because she wanted to leave while the audience was still tuning in.

"I loved the idea of going out on top," she says, " I really struggled with the decision for many reasons, not the least of which is putting everybody else out of work, loving everyone as I do, but I felt like for me as an artist, it just was really time to move on."

For Sedgwick, playing Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson has been one of the most challenging roles she has ever taken on and she admits she doesn`t expect to undergo anything like it again.

"The Closer has been an experience like none other," she shares. "I can`t even equate it to any other creative opportunities I`ve ever had, but it is also a familial experience. You know, the closeness of being together with people for seven years is like creating another family. That has just been an amazing learning experience for me growing and changing with people."

So is there a memento from the set, besides the myan friendships she has made, that she will take with her?

"I like Brenda`s shoes," she says. "I can`t really bring the candy drawer home ""

On tonight`s episode, Brenda and her team investigate the murder of a young girl who was house-sitting, and Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) is forced to expand her audit of Major Crimes in light of the civil suit against Brenda and the LAPD.

The Closer airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. on TNT.