Did you catch The Closer last night? If so, you may have noticed that Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) is cuddling up to a new man: a kitten named Joel! On last week’s episode, Johnson’s FBI Agent husband Fritz Howard (played by Jon Tenney) surprised his stressed-out wife with a palm-sized furball. Johnson – who suffered the heartbreaking loss of her beloved Kitty earlier this summer – immediately shunned the cute cat, claiming, “You can’t buy a pet for someone else.”
Throughout the episode, in which Johnson handles some particularly difficult cases, she begins to warm up to the idea of a new cat, and by the end of the show, she’s curled up on the couch with Joel purring in her arms. Johnson’s new roommate is actually played by three male kittens, all brothers, named for Closer characters Taylor, Pope and Fritz. Just 25 weeks old, the show’s animal handler rescued the adorable trio from a local shelter.
Choosing to add a new cat into the mix wasn’t a decision Closer creator Jim Duff took lightly. “People tend to repeat the things they do well as we enjoy the things that work,” he tells PEOPLEPets.com. “This pet is not a replacement for the former. One cannot just replace a pet as we cannot just replace a person when they pass away.” In the episode, Johnson is steadfast in her argument that Kitty could never be replaced. But her love for animals is undeniable. “If there was anything Johnson does well it is caring for a pet,” Duff says. “Without that vulnerability, it would leave her unfulfilled.”
While a lot of thought went into picking a new furry friend for Brenda, the same can’t be said of the cat’s name. “The name Joel is 100 percent arbitrary,” Duff says. “I pulled it out of the air!”
Watch The Closer Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.
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