To dress the cast of TNT’s cop drama The Closer as authentically as possible, costume designer Greg LaVoi went straight to the source.“It was fun to be a sociologist and look at what real cops are wearing,” says LaVoi, who visited Los Angeles police offices to come up with a wardrobe for Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson, a cop from the South now working a special unit in LA. The most important thing for LaVoi was that everything look real and be in character.“She’s a Southern girl, she needs quirkiness,” says LaVoi. “I had spent some time in the South as a child and as an adult, so my sensory memory was floral prints and pastel colors.”After buying clothes for the character in the same shops a real police officer might frequent, he pitched the idea to actress Kyra Sedgwick and was thrilled to find she agreed the style was perfect for the character. Dressing her in lime green and mustard yellow, hot pink with brown or “the most horrible olive green,” the intention “wasn’t to make her look ugly, it was to make her look more fish out of water,” LaVoi says.With a look set for the lead, LaVoi set about creating looks for the rest of the cast. “We’ll set Brenda’s clothes first, then we work around those colors for her squad,” he says. “We’ll do complementary colors for her outfit. Maybe it’s a tie; maybe it’s a flower on a tie.”LaVoi says Tony Denison’s Detective Flynn wears three-piece suits to reflect his personality as “a bit of a peacock.” When a character such as Sgt. Gabriel, played by Corey Reynolds, wears suits from Fred Segal, it’s because LaVoi sees the character as someone who would save his money for such a purchase—a character quirk that was recently worked into the dialogue.The look for Brenda has begun to evolve as the series enters its second season, though it remains quirky. “Her ill-fitting jackets have morphed into these wonderful vintage jackets,” he says. “It’s giving her her own style. It’s still very Southern, but it’s kicked up a notch.”The same attention is paid to the clothes worn by the suspects and criminals, who wear contrasting colors. “It’s not blatant, but it’s one of those painted pictures that when you see it on the screen it just works,” he says.
Written by Tom McLean