Season 7, Episode 19: Last Rites - July 30, 2012
Guess what? No lie, Season 4 of The Closer started in 2008 and drum roll... the costume department moved again! We thought perhaps it was a good luck charm, moving an entire department, wardrobe for all of the characters, all of our office accoutrements, the tailor shop, the stock room...we were getting to be pros at the packing and moving now 4 years in a row. We were back in the same suite of offices that we had started in and assured by the Unit Production Manager that this would be our last move...that would remain to be seen. I had a new costumer aboard, there were still the old problems of attitude and apathy so that was a challenge. And I was dealing with a parent that I could see was aging before my eyes. Along with all of the costume changes and meetings and shopping and designing, I had to take my mom to numerous doctors appointments and watch as my style guru, my rock, my inspiration was slowing down and not feeling good...but all the while she maintained her fashion sense and style.
Speaking of style, Brenda Leigh Johnson was so deep into vintage suits and colorful twin sets and combinations of prints and perfection that she had a wedding to plan. The wedding dress was one of the most memorable costumes that I had to create for BLJ...and thanks to eBay, not my whiz at being a great designer, was where I found the original 1959 Pricilla of Boston gown bought at Saks Fifth Avenue and in its original box. By the time the wedding scene rolled around, an October day in Malibu, I was dealing with my mom's debilitating macular degeneration and Polymyalgia rheumatica really kicking her ass and having to have a day time care giver, a nice lady from Belize that stayed with mom while I was at work, but since my mom and I both liked being independent and now having to have a "stranger" in the house. My day's on set were shorter so that I could be home more. I was honored to take care of my last surviving parent as both of my parents took care of me for more years than I'd like to admit to! I am so grateful that I had an understanding family oriented company that I was employed by during this trying time as well as now for the past seven years. (and more with the continuation of Major Crimes) I think the best part about the wedding episode was meeting Fritz's sister, having Clay and Willie Ray come for several episodes and then seeing all of our detectives at the bungalow for the reception and the little "best wishes" video that Buzz was filming.
Season 5, 2009 began and surprise we did NOT have to move!! We started filming in early spring, glad to be back to work, but early into the filming my already health compromised mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. A severe blow to her emotions. I was there for the chemo, sketching ideas in my script as she was infused with those horrible drugs. I was at her bedside when her little body was shutting down, texting back and forth with Kyra and when she took her last breath as I held her hand, I received a call from Michael Robin, Greer Shephard and James Duff just minutes after she died. Then the call that blew me away, Kyra, demanding I spend the night with her and Kevin, saying "you shouldn't be alone" so Stella and I spent my first night as an orphan in The Bacon's guest house in Santa Monica...and tonight we were witness to Brenda Leigh Johnson losing her mama...there was not a dry eye on stage when Frances Sternhagen performed her last scene. Earlier in the episode Willie Ray wore a favorite Lady Bug print "house coat" of my Mom's kind of a way to say goodbye to both my Mom and Willie Ray.
The Closer family truly is that...all of the friendships that seven years of knowing someone, spending so much time with folks you have come to know intimately and memorably and then having to say goodbye to beloved characters, saying adieu to the closing of The Closer, but knowing that hopefully these connections, these friends, these memories will last for many, many years to come.