By Stacey K. Black
Choose a Blog:
Here we go! Episode 1 of season 5, and it's like we never left. It's always like that with this crew, because most of us have been together for so long. We pick up right where we left off the previous season.

The truth about this show is that every episode has victims, and Brenda Leigh Johnson is their champion at all costs. That means every week a murder, violence, tragedy. We, as the filmmakers, have to make it appear real. It can get dark and tragic and ... wait! Let's talk about something a little sweeter. I know, Kitty!

Remember? The cat inherited in season 1 after a Russian prostitute was murdered and Brenda took over her house? Yes, that is SO much better.

We've spent a lot of years watching Kitty purr and sleep and charm us in the background, and she finally gets an intense story arc. Or, HE gets an intense story arc ... Kitty's gender is still so confusing, isn't it?

Because Kitty is a part of the cast, she does expect certain things. Like, a private dressing room (well, itís really a cat-carrier, but don't tell; she doesn't know the difference). Personal assistants (yep, they're animal trainers, ssshhhhh ...). And her very own, personal stand-in.

We have regular stand-in for our main cast, including Greg France and Sam Archer. The stand-in have to learn the lines and actions in every scene, so our cinematographer Dave Harp can light the scene with the director, chief lighting technician Scott Young and key grip Roy Heath and their teams. While they light, the actors get into character with the help of hair, makeup and wardrobe, go over their lines, grab a bite or just plain relax and recharge for a rare minute. Stand-ins are essential to a well-run production. Without stand-ins ... no, I don't even want to think about it. It kinda makes me shudder.

Miss Kitty's stand-in, "Stuffy," is a stuffed toy Siberian Husky who was chosen for the job due to her size and color for lighting purposes. She was outfitted with armature wire by our "prop tarts," Jeanne Bueche and Eileen "Neelie" Hespen, to make her bendable for posing as Kitty. That way, while Dave and his guys light, Miss Kitty can relax, learn her meows, have a nibble and some pats and love from the crew and get ready for her close up in comfort.

She is such a diva.

Stacey has been burnin' hair on Hollywood TV and Film sets since 1996. Her credits include "The Stepfather," "Nip/Tuck," "EZ Streets," "Running With Scissors," "Providence," and of course, TNT's "The Closer," where she is enjoying Season 5 as the Department Head Hair Stylist. She also enjoys making music and movies. And pizza.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.