EW has learned exclusively that TNT just ordered six additional episodes of its veteran hit, extending its final season to prepare for a possible spin-off. The network expects to air the previously announced 10 episodes this summer, followed by five in the winter … and now another six in the summer of 2012.
The final six will be the swan song for star Kyra Sedgwick (Brenda Leigh Johnson), while likely introducing a new central character who will headline the spin-off.
The new show’s working title is…
Details are sketchy, but it looks like the show will evolve into a gritty drama that focuses on what happens when criminals aren’t sent to death row – the behind-the-scenes dealmaking that’s as maddening as it is brutally realistic in today’s criminal justice system. It’s that give-and-take, EW has learned, that ultimately paves the way for Brenda’s departure.
Though TNT has committed to the six additional hours, bringing the final season to 21 episodes, there’s still a lot of work to be done to shore up the cast (for now, it’s unclear how Sedgwick would be replaced in the spin-off – if at all). Nevertheless, the pickup should be good news to fans, who helped to make the last season of The Closer the most-watched season with 8.4 million viewers.