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Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson isn’t afraid to bring out her roots. While also being one of the few women in the Major Crimes Division of the LAPD, Brenda stands out amongst the crowd with her proud Southern accent.

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At the time of the premiere of The Closer in 2005, a lead character with a Southern twang in their lines was hard to come by on television. Wanting to break the norm, series creator James Duff was insistent on Brenda having a prominent accent. 

“There was never any question at all because the character of Brenda Johnson was complete with that accent,” said James Duff on building Brenda’s character.

From Texas himself, Duff wanted to see more main characters that look, spoke, and represented where he came from. He believed television avoided these types of characters due to the stereotype of people with Southern accents being unintelligent.

“I grew up in the South with really smart people who had that accent, and every time I saw them on television, they seemed like the stupidest people on the face of the Earth. Like the accent was a badge of inferiority. I thought, as long as we’re doing something different, how about if the woman lead with the Southern accent is the smartest person in the room instead of the most ignorant?”

Both Duff and Sedgwick worked together on The Closer to help break the stigma of ignorant Southern characters on television. Sedgwick even worked with her dialect coach during every season of the series to continue perfecting her voice.

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