The Closer Kitty Passes Away on Show and Real Life
On Monday night's episode of "The Closer" on TNT, viewers watched -- sniffling, misty-eyed and reaching for a hanky -- as Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (played by Kyra Sedgwick) said her final goodbyes to her terminally ill cat, Kitty. Cradling her rescue cat in her arms, Brenda allowed a veterinarian to administer a dose that will put the ailing Kitty to sleep forever.
"There were lots of people weeping on set when the vet came to do the euthanasia scene," James Duff, the show's creator and executive producer, reveals to Paw Nation.
It's unusual to see a detective on a crime series dealing with a dying pet, but this particular story line was a function of art imitating life. When the real feline actor playing Kitty was diagnosed with a "fairly untreatable" kidney issue, Duff decided to write it into the show.
"I had become attached to the cat and didn't want to replace her," Duff tells Paw Nation. "I thought, 'before she goes, let's deal with her on the show.'" Handling the cat's failing health was difficult at times for Sedgwick, whose own mixed breed cat died before filming began on the fifth season of The Closer. "She actually broke down weeping," says Duff. "Then she got upset again when she learned the real cat died after filming."
If Duff seems unafraid of exploring a topic not often seen on television -- "It's not an upbeat moment, it's sad," he says -- it may be because he knows what it's like to lose a beloved pet. "I had a cat for 14 years -- my longest adult relationship," he says. "She was given anesthetic during a teeth cleaning and had a heart attack and died." Duff, who has a 12 year-old dog named Henry realizes how precious little time he has left with his aging dog. "They love you so much," Duff says, referring to our pets. "And that informed the story line with Kitty."