Brenda Leigh Johnson
Name Brenda Leigh Johnson
Rank DeputyChief Deputy Chief
Affiliation Los Angeles Police Department
Division Major Crimes
Gender Female
Family Clay Johnson (father)
Willie Rae Johnson (mother, deceased)
Charlene Johnson (niece)
Claire Howard (sister-in-law)
Spouse(s) Fritz Howard
Played by Kyra Sedgwick
First appearance "The Closer (Pilot)"
Final appearance "The Last Word"
If I liked being called a bitch to my face, I'd still be married!

Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson heads the Major Crimes Division (formerly known as the Priority Homicide Division) of the Los Angeles Police Department on The Closer.

She is an intelligent, determined, and exacting woman who may offend some people involved in her cases, or coworkers, but she has powerful skills to determine the facts of a crime, compel confessions, and close cases. Thus, she is "a closer".

An expert at interrogations, Brenda has a long history in law enforcement. She worked for the police in Atlanta, where she is born and raised, and later for the U.S. State Department as well as the CIA. She was married at one point to a co-worker in Atlanta, but it ended in divorce.

At the end of The Closer, she wanted to capture Phillip Stroh by any means necessary, leading her to assault him. Brenda, knowing she will lose her job, retires from the LAPD and accepts a new job as the Chief of the District Attorney's Office's Bureau of Investigation. While its more administrative, she can still work in the field sometimes. She also has David Gabriel transferred there to act as liaison officer for the LAPD.

In Season 3 of Major Crimes, Fritz tells the team she's considering a new job in Washington, DC. However, Fritz gets a job as the Deputy Chief in charge of the LAPD's Special Operations Bureau and it is unknown how it affects her choice. She is also unaware that Fritz had a heart attack and now needs a pacemaker with only Michael Tao knowing.

In “Sanctuary City, Part 1”, after Phillip Stroh's possible return, a protection detail is ordered for Brenda as well as Emma Rios, Rusty Beck and possibly Linda Rothman.

Officer-involved shootingsEdit


  • Brenda has three brothers, Clay Jr, Bobby and Jimmy. Clay Jr. is married to a woman named Amy. Bobby is married to a woman named Joyce, and they have a daughter, Charlene, named after Brenda's paternal grandmother. Jimmy lives in a small apartment in New York with his partner Frank.
  • Brenda's niece, Charlene (Charlie) Johnson was sent to her grandparents (Clay Sr. and Willie Rae Johnson) when her parents, (Bobby and Joyce Johnson), became tired of her. When her grandparents also got tired of her, they sent her to her aunt Brenda and her husband, Fritz. She eventually was sent home to her parents, after Brenda straightened her up.
  • Brenda's favorite merlot is a McCray Ridge 1997. ("To Protect & to Serve")
  • In “Reloaded”, the Major Crimes series premiere, its revealed that Brenda left her desk full of snack food. She later sends Fritz to clear it out, though he gives one to Captain Sharon Raydor. She later gives it to Rusty Beck but its not clear if he eats it or not.
The Closer Characters
Brenda Leigh JohnsonSharon RaydorFritz HowardWill PopeRussell TaylorLouie ProvenzaAndy FlynnMichael TaoDavid GabrielJulio SanchezIrene DanielsBuzz WatsonDr. Fernando Morales

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