MCTV Exclusive: James Duff Previews Major Crimes Summer Finale and ‘Delicate Dance’ of Replacing Taylor

By M. Sharpe



Major Crimes Executive Producer and Co-Creator James Duff. Photo Credit: Mark Hill, Courtesy TNT When we last spoke to James Duff at the beginning of season five, he alluded to how the theme of this season of Major Crimes, balance, would have repercussions for everyone in the team. As the summer season wraps up tonight with part three of the summer finale, we caught up with Executive Producer James Duff to shed some light on some of the biggest changes we’ve seen so far this season (RIP Chief Taylor), and what we can expect both in tonight’s finale, and for the winter season of Major Crimes, and beyond.

MCTV: I would be remiss to start this off without asking about Taylor, and the shocking decision to kill him off in part one of this three-part summer finale. What lead you to making the decision to have Taylor’s death be such a catalyst in this arc, and as part of the season as a whole?

James Duff: There’s two things to discuss with this. Part one of that is, opening Taylor’s office was always my plan, so that was always going to happen at some point. Part two is that balance is the theme of all thirteen summer episodes – it links them all together. I couldn’t do a study on balance without including the balance of power, and without completely removing the balance of power and forcing a new center of gravity into the circumstances around which Major Crimes revolves. And this new center of gravity that the team is now looking to f26135_011 Major Crimes Ep 511 White Lies Pt. 1ind is going to be the subject of the next eight episodes–how we adjust to changes, who becomes the center, and how everyone must adjust to accommodate that new center.

History itself is the story of a succession of one center of gravity replacing another, and how people must adapt constantly to that sort of change. People either adjust, or they crash and burn. That’s just how it works. And so, Major Crimes is adjusting. And that will be the back eight episodes we’ll see this winter. That’s always what I meant to happen. And beyond that, there is a world beyond the adjustment of gravity, and so that would be our next season, if we end up getting one.

It’s also important to remember that the LAPD is a dangerous place to work, and police officers have an extremely dangerous job in this day and age. The Los Angeles Police Department trains hard to do the right thing, and to bring policing into the twenty-first century, but it’s still every bit as vulnerable as the bad police departments are. There’s no discrimination, apparently, between good police officers and bad police officers. Taylor also encompassed the essence of the blue/black divide, because he’s both. And both sides are damaged by this divide. And I’m not taking sides, I’m just dramatizing the divide that exists, and he was a very good way to dramatize that nobody wins when violence is the answer.

So Taylor’s death accommodated the two things I needed. One was to explore the balance of power and how it affects our daily lives, which is what part two of the finale was about. But, any meditation on the balance of power in our human life would require us to take into account religion, and its force in the world and on our leading characters. So both of these major events, Taylor’s death, the shooting of Dwight Darnell, the balancing of what we owe to our spiritual selves and what we owe to our professional selves, all of that was meant to create special circumstances for Sharon Raydor. And I think we did that.

MCTV: Speaking to that examination of religion, last week was a departure for the show, in that it both took on a different structure in how it was framed from Sharon’s confession, but also gave us a much closer look at Sharon than we’ve seen for a while. There has been hints that Sharon has this strong religious part to her, but this was the most overtly we’ve seen it, and also gave a bit more insight into the state of her relationship with Andy, and what she feels like she can and can’t talk to him about.

JD: To be clear, it’s not that she can’t rely on Andy to talk to, it’s just as she says, she can’t rely on Andy to talk to about the death of Dwight Darnell. And truly, she couldn’t rely on a lot of the audience, either. A lot of the audience would tell her, ‘Look, you did the right thing. Get over it.” I heard that from people after the episode aired. 512- priest raydor

But taking a human life is complicated, no matter the circumstances. For example, with the military, we have 20 veterans a day committing suicide, and a lot of it has to do with loss of life they are involved in. We train people to believe that murder is wrong, and then we send them out to kill people, and don’t understand why they’re confused afterwards. And so I thought it would be important to show Sharon in a moral quandary – wanting to feel grief for having stopped Dwight Darnell from killing anybody else through violence, which she’s always been hesitant to use, unless absolutely necessary. And she’s never killed anyone, and I wanted to explore that aspect of her personality.

Also, she’s very Catholic. That has been mentioned throughout the series. She was so Catholic she didn’t divorce her husband for over thirty years. She loves angels, that’s an established fact, and she sent Rusty to a Catholic school. She’s been very serious about her religion, although, this is a murder show, not “True Confessions” or anything like that, so we just haven’t seen it more than that. But if she and Andy were to perhaps want to do something more than just live together, that would create conflict for her. And so maybe there’s a reminder there, maybe I’m setting something up for the future, by reminding everybody about how Catholic she is.

MCTV: Going back to Taylor for a moment, we’re heard through some casting announcements that we’re going to see the power shift, and we’re going to see some new people come in to be in the running for his job. Are we going to get closure on the loss of Taylor at all, and the impact that death itself has on the team?

JD: Well, we will be talking about Taylor for ages to come. And there is an attempt to honor him in the summer finale in the first act. Not at a funeral, because we’ve already done that, when we went to the funeral of the Chief of Police. I don’t want to give away too much, but he will not be gone completely. He’s a member of the Major Crimes family and he’ll be treated that way throughout.

MCTV: In terms of the power vacuum, the Sharon of a few years ago had a lot of desire to move up the ranks. But now that we’re seeing this job having opened up, it’s hard to envision Sharon wanting to leave Major Crimes now that she’s established this great team, and everyone works together so well. How is this power vacuum going to affect her, in a desire to move up the ranks, or lack thereof? MAJOR CRIMES (TNT)

JD: It’s a delicate dance inside the LAPD when one of these positions opens up. If you get considered for a promotion, you have to try to get it because if you fail, you’ll lose what you have. And that happens all the time. It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but when new people move in to positions of power, then the people underneath them, who were also trying to get that position of power, end up with a lot of ‘freeway therapy’. They get transferred to Harbor Division or they end up at SOB (Special Operations Bureau) or teaching at the Police Academy. So in terms of a career path, it’s dangerous.

On the other hand, you don’t get to decide this. The Police Chief job is decided by the Mayor in concert with the city council and the police commission. The job of Assistant Chief is decided entirely by the Chief. There’s no one else to ask. So if he interviews you, and everybody knows you’re up for the job, then you’re exposed. That’s why we’re bringing on Camryn Manheim, and another actor I can’t announce yet, to all be in play for the job. But the struggle to replace Taylor, will also be a struggle to protect Major Crimes. Because a new Assistant Chief comes in, and the division changes. So Sharon is given a lot to think about in these back eight episodes this winter, and that influences how she has to react to being considered for the position. 504- buzz lr

MCTV: Switching just quickly over to Buzz, and his journey this season. We saw last episode that he’s really stepped up in this investigation and come into his own. Are we going to see more of that now that he has had a taste of being part of this side of the police work?

JD: Well, you’re going to see his realization that things are not over. That’s going to come back. So the conclusion of Buzz’s story is both final, and ambiguous. And Phillip has done an amazing job this season, and in the last scene of the case, he does an amazing job, and in the scene after the case, he does an amazing job. And also stepping up and showing he’s capable has been Julio Sanchez, as a foster parent. And we’re going to see just how much this new experience has meant to him in the finale.

MCTV: Finally, you mentioned that a potential season 6 would have a focus around the adjustment to whoever becomes the new chief, and how that appointment could change Major Crimes. There hasn’t been an announcement yet for season 6 from TNT. Any updates there?

JD: It’s impossible to know what the network consider their needs to be right now, and I can’t say for sure anything. They have not indicated a pickup for next season to me yet, so I really don’t know. I’m very happy overall with how we’ve managed our numbers this season, especially given the switch to 10pm. We did much better than we thought we would do and I think better than TNT thought we would do. It’s a bit of a win-win for us and hopefully the network will want to solidify their gains here and do it again.


The summer finale of Major Crimes airs tonight at 10pm/9c on TNT.

MCTV Exclusive: All That Sass – Kathe Mazur and Jonathan Del Arco Dissect Their Characters

By K. Black and M. Sharpe


hobbs morales

Over the years, DDA Andrea Hobbs and Dr. Fernando Morales have become valued parts of the Major Crimes team, and massive fan-favorites along the way. We chatted with Kathe Mazur and Jonathan Del Arco to find out just what makes their characters tick, and what all that sass is really about.

MajorCrimesTV: You guys are just about at the halfway point of filming for this season – how’s it all been going?

Jonathan Del Arco: I think we’re having an amazing season this year. I feel like the work is getting deeper and deeper for all of us, in different ways. And from my end, the work we do aside, I have gratitude to the fans right now for having continued to find us. The times keep changing, and you guys find us, the days change, and you find us, and I feel like that fed a lot of our enthusiasm to come to work, and the writers to write, and James to do all that he does because he knows you guys get it. And so, it’s very gratifying. Vis-a-vis the ratings and the fact that we’re crushing it, as it were, that way makes me very happy.

Kathe Mazur: I agree! I couldn’t have said it better.

MCTV: It seems like this move to 10pm this season has allowed the show to change tone a little bit, and allowed the show to explore some things a little more deeply.

KM: Well, to me, the very best of life is when you’ve taken an obstacle or something that you thought was going to be a problem and somehow it ends up creating a whole new opportunity. I think that in the work, and I think that in everything, that that’s the highest level because life is filled with obstacles. So, the thing that keeps amazing me about this crew, is that no matter what the obstacle is, it sort of ends up leading to something fantastic and unexpected, and I continually am amazed at how at every single step along the way of this journey that has happened.

504- morales raydor sanchez lrJDA: We all have had our share of anxiety about the change, because we were in the same time slot for so long. But, we have such great leadership in James Duff and Mike Robin, and we were all encouraged by them early on to say, “You know what? Let’s just hit it out of the ballpark and have the best year ever, and just focus 100% on creating an amazing work.” A “if you build it they will come” mentality. And it’s so great to actually see that happen, and it’s so rare, because television is not being viewed as much as other mediums these days, so it’s great to know that we were able to meet the challenge, and we were able to bond together to get through it, and here we are! It’s been fantastic. We’re very lucky.

MCTV: It has been! Now, I loving having the chance to talk to the two of you together, because both of your characters have both become such strong fan-favorites. Both of you are also known for your characters’ sass and for having a little bit more attitude than maybe we get to see out of some of the others. Was that something that developed in the characters for you over the years, or was it always sort of inherent in the writing? Continue reading

MCTV Exclusive: Partners in Crime-Solving – Phillip Keene and Graham Patrick Martin Talk Major Crimes, Identity and More

By M. Sharpe

This season on Major Crimes buzz rusty identityhas seen Buzz and Rusty team up to reopen the unsolved murder of Buzz’s father. Through both storylines in episodes, as well as Rusty’s web-excusive series Identity, the two have explored the circumstances surrounding the cold case, and seek to finally find some resolution for Buzz and his family. So it seemed only natural for us to sit down with both Graham Patrick Martin and Phillip Keene together, to discuss Buzz and Rusty’s new partnership in crime-solving, and what we can expect from both of their characters moving forward this season.

MCTV: This year has been a great year for both of you. Phillip, you’re having a great year with Buzz’s storyline, and Graham, Identity continues to be wonderful with Rusty as well as his storylines continuing. You’re about halfway through filming this season now – how has it been going for both of you?

Phillip Keene: We’re finishing up episode 9 and things have been going great. I mean, Graham has always been excellent at memorizing dialogue – and quite frankly I haven’t had that much dialogue to memorize in such a long time that it was a bit of a challenge for me. But the more that I do it with these episodes of Identity, the easier it becomes. And I just love the fact that you get to see more of my character’s background, so it gives me a lot to do, and I love working with Graham. He and I did a four-page scene a couple weeks ago and we were able to get it filmed in under an hour – it was great! The crew were happy, we loved it, it was just nice playing off of somebody who works as well as he does.

Graham Patrick Martin: Thank you Philip. I am a such a huge fan of the show, and I’ve always been a huge fan of the Buzz character, and so it’s been fun playing with that sort of brotherly relationship that Buzz and Rusty have always had. I’ve always been really anxious to dig deeper and to learn more about Buzz and what’s motivated him to be where he is. So that’s what this whole Identity Buzz and Rusty crossover has done for me. It’s really been an awesome platform to dive into the character of Buzz, who I feel like is one of the characters who we don’t know as much about as the others.

PK: And it’s really cool because in the beginning I was sort of Rusty’s mentor and in terms of bringing him into the fold, and now the roles are slightly reversed in that Rusty already has this Identity and journalism thing established and he’s bringing me out of my shell and exposing more of who I am. Continue reading

MCTV Exclusive: Lights! Camera! Action! On Set with James Duff

By M. Sharpe

MAJOR CRIMES (TNT)
It’s a warm June day in Hollywood, and Executive Producer James Duff is being pulled apart.

Not literally of course, but as we are invited on set to interview Duff and watch the filming of an upcoming episode of Major Crimes, all plans for a traditional sit down with the executive producer/writer/creator of the show seem to go out the window when we arrive to find him and the cast and crew at full speed in the middle of production for the 5th season, premiering tonight at 10pm/9c on TNT.

As the day progresses, the scope of just what being in the middle of the episode order really means becomes more and more clear. Bits and pieces of all seven of the season’s first episodes are in different stages of progress at the same time, all on the same day, and each piece has to be perfect.

The cast is down on the soundstage filming the second-to-last day of episode 506. We first catch up with Duff when the cast takes a break to do the table read for episode 507. The read is running about 45 minutes late–the filming on the soundstage ran long. The actors are released from filming and start arriving, and the big conference room we’re in suddenly begins to feel very small as it fills.

The mood is jovial as Duff introduces himself and the episode’s writer and director to the guest cast that has joined the group for episode 507. The newcomers then introduce themselves and the room erupts in applause, welcoming them into the Major Crimes family. The regular cast introduces themselves and their characters, then Duff takes back over, introducing the dozens of other writers, producers and key crew members who have all joined for the reading as well. He rattles off an impressive list of names and titles of everyone present from memory, then they begin. Continue reading

MCTV Exclusive: Double Time in Major Crimes – Mary McDonnell Talks Winter Arc, Shandy and More

By M. Sharpe



raydor 3 gallery colorFour seasons into TNT’s hit series Major Crimes, viewers have developed a personal connection to the LAPD’s fiercely loyal Captain in the same way that her detectives have developed a devotion to her. For Raydor, family extends beyond the people with whom she shares bloodlines or family names. For Mary McDonnell, the chance to portray a woman of equal emotional and intellectual strength and integrity is a source of joy for her as an actress.

When we spoke to McDonnell several weeks ago, season four of Major Crimes was just completing filming, and she was effusive about the season experience as a whole, and the people who have become her on-set family. She notes that this season’s super-sized episode order has allowed the team behind Major Crimes to have more creative liberty. “It takes a tremendous amount of energy and focus to keep the quality of the show high. I feel pleased by what we were able to do, because I don’t think that the quality dropped out at all. And knowing that gives us all a great sense of fulfillment.”

Despite the intensity of long work days and a 23-episode season, the longest of any TNT series to date, McDonnell says the tone on set and among the cast remained positive. “There was a very strong sense of ensemble this year, more than ever before; there were people working together easily, quickly, economically, and enjoying it. It had a wonderful feeling of familiarity and professional respect down there on the floor and a great appreciation for the continuing workplace. Everyone appreciates it, the cast, the crew. There are a lot of us on that floor every day, and to keep going with the flow, and knowing we’re coming back again, gives everyone a great sense of security.” Continue reading

MCTV Exclusive – James Duff Talks Major Crimes Winter Season and Daring New Structure

By M. Sharpe


MAJOR CRIMES

When we spoke to executive producer James Duff at the beginning of this season of Major Crimes, he discussed how the focus for this season centered around the theme of “courage”, and how that issue would reverberate through the lives of the characters. Catching up with Duff on the eve of the groundbreaking winter premiere, it’s clear that exploring the themes about courage was not only for the characters, but for the writers themselves as they embarked on a new structure for the series. For the first time ever, Major Crimes will break from its procedural format to create a serialized arc out of the final five episodes of season four.

The choice to move to exploring just MAJOR CRIMESone case over five episodes instead of the traditional murder-of-the-week structure is a first for Duff, and in many respects, a first in general for televised programs. Duff admits that the choice is both unconventional but exciting, “It’s very different. It’s interesting to see the show continue its evolution and finding interesting things for our fantastic series regulars to do. We are very excited by the challenge.” It’s a bold move for a highly successful show with a devoted fan base to suddenly flip the switch part-way through a season, but Duff is confident that fans, whom he’s always shared a close connection with, will appreciate the creative liberty which he has taken. He notes that if it doesn’t sit well with them, “our audience will not be shy in telling me if I’m mistaken.”

The decision to structure the season this way came after TNT increased Major Crimes season four episode order by five episodes for a total of 23 episodes, the biggest season order of any TNT series to date. Duff explains that he and the writers had just finished laying out their plans for the original 18 episodes of the season when the additional five were ordered. Instead of changing what had already been put into motion with the first part of the season, they opted to use the opportunity to try something completely different.

Partially inspired by the success of past two-part episodes of the show with both the fans and the network, Duff shares that the increased episode order led him to take the traditional two-part episode formula a step further to push the boundaries of what television has been capable of before. “When we got the extra order for the final five episodes, I thought of this idea I had had before for a procedural pilot. Procedural pilots are very hard to sell right now, and I thought that I could take this story and weave it into the existing plot and it would turn out differently because there are different characters here. At the same time, I knew that it would fit the characters that we have already established and connected with, and that it would give a chance for Sanchez and for Sykes to run at their own issues.”

419- sykes lr As Duff explains, much of the reasoning behind bringing Sykes to the center of the action in the winter arc has to do with the character of Sykes herself, and points out that as the newest member of the team, she was the most likely candidate to be willing to explore the mystery surrounding the new case in a way that would be unthinkable to anyone else on the squad. Duff also says he relished the chance to finally give Sykes her own fully realized storyline. “We’ve never been able to fully utilize Sykes in our previous seasons and the structure of these episodes finally allows us to do just that. Unlike most of the cast, she wasn’t part of the original The Closer crew so it’s been a slower ride up for her and I’m just thrilled to be able to show everybody what Kearran Giovanni can do. She’s got game, and Amy Sykes has game, and I think the audience has really grown to like Sykes and that they’ll really enjoy getting to see her in action.”

Sykes isn’t the only supporting member of the cast who takes a more prominent role in the unfolding episodes. Despite an intense crime unfolding in the foreground of the episodes, in the first of the five episodes alone there are no less five of the main characters of the show for whom things begin to shift dramatically as the case and episodes unfold.

The intensity of these episodes, 419- buzz provenza rusty lralong with the structure of the sustained arc, work together to also function as another storytelling device, and a new prism through which to view the characters. “It just gave us a lot of opportunity not to just tell a mystery, but also to delve deeper into our characters, and to see how our ensemble reacts in different circumstances.  We saw how Flynn reacted to the various conflicts that took place during our winter episodes, and now we want to see how Sykes and Sanchez and Tao react to the conflict of these final episodes. Sanchez is still dealing with the issues related to his wife, and having someone else there who is relating to long-term grief issues as well. And, Tao in particular has a really epic scene in the second episode that I think will really shock people!”

In addition to the return of the squad, fans can look forward to the addition of a few new faces joining the winter season as well. Cheryl White appears as firearms technician “Firearms” Francine, who sets Sykes off on her unsanctioned attempt to get to the bottom of the case, while Julie Ann Emory portrays a detective with a very personal connection and perspective to the case. Jason Gedrick also features prominently as Mark Hickman, a disgraced former LAPD officer who finds himself with his foot right back in the case that ended his career years before, and left things very tense with his former partner, Mike Tao. Duff praises Gedrick for not worrying about tempering his performance to make his controversial character more palatable to viewers. “He did not try to make his character likable, and yet somehow or other there is something about the character, you see how wounded he is.”

419- hawkins3 lrGeddrick’s Hickman, as well as the gang-related case at the center of these episodes also serves as a tool for the writers to touch on the very relevant and very real issue of race and racial tension between civilians and police, but Duff maintains that his purpose as a storyteller is not to present these issues with bias, but merely present them as they are and allow his audience to judge them for themselves. “I’m ruthless about not politicizing issues or current events, that is not what I am trying to do with this show. What I am trying to do is be authentic and as unbiased as possible. I present issues that reflect our current events as they are and the facts clearly indicate that there are racial tensions between minority groups and the law enforcement community. I am not making that up, I am merely acknowledging it.”

Fans should expect a nail-biting conclusion to the first episode – and we use the term ‘conclusion’ in the very loosest sense of the word. Rather than having the drama and mystery wrapped up neatly as per Major Crimes’ traditional formula, the volume gets turned up even higher. Duff shares that this is the effect he and his writing team were hoping for. “Not only was this our intention, but we realized early on in the writing process that this was the best way to tell the story. It’s important to remember, this is not the kind of mystery that we normally tell. Normally, we limit ourselves to a mystery that can be told in one episode, and this one could not be done in that same way. When we were evaluating our writing strategy, we realized that you couldn’t even get the back story in one episode.”

MAJOR CRIMESLooking forward, Duff reveals that the writers are already hard at work crafting season five, which will premiere this summer. After the intensity of these final episodes of this season, it seems natural, and welcome, for Duff to have a more harmonious theme to open season five: balance.  “We will be exploring how we balance our professional and personal lives, how we balance needs of adults and needs of children, how we balance our virtual world with the real world, and how we balance our fantasies  of how things are going to be with the actualities.” In addition to finding balance in the lives of his characters, Duff jokes that he is also on a personal journey to finding balance with his cast and crew. “Balancing a cast this large is phenomenally difficult, and it makes me really, really appreciate Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey and those are even larger cast shows. It’s a very interesting process!”


Major Crimes winter season premieres tonight at 9pm/8c on TNT.

MCTV Exclusive: G.W. Bailey Talks Winter Season, Provenza’s Wedding Plans and More!

By A. Cascone and M. Sharpe



gw gallery color2Though his perpetual troublemaker days may never truly been behind him, evidence suggests that Lt. Provenza may at last be mellowing a bit. MajorCrimesTV.net spoke with G.W. Bailey during a recent set visit to get the scoop on the upcoming winter episodes of Major Crimes, and find out if Provenza may finally be a changed man (hint: there may be wedding bells in his near future!)

MajorCrimesTV: You’re almost through filming this super-sized season of Major Crimes. Have you found there to be any unique challenges involved with the longer season?

G.W. Bailey: Doing 23 episodes is definitely not an easy thing, and its been a little bit like trial by fire. At the same time though, it is a very unique experience. I have been playing this character for so many years, but I actually never did a long-term series prior to The Closer or Major Crimes, though I have been involved in a lot of different network shows over the years. Some of those either didn’t last very long, or I was simply a recurring character. So to now film 23 in a row is very trying; and it’s especially trying on the writers, as they’ve been working virtually non-stop this year, but it’s rewarding at the same time. It’s just a different sort of an experience for them, and for all of us working on the show.

So doing more is always a challenge – mentally, emotionally, you just get tired. So yes it does have its challenges but in the great scheme of things, this is gravy; this is a great gig! It’s a safe place to work, good food, good housing, you know, it’s not a bad gig!

MCTV: Not only is this season longer than any other that you have done previously, but the structure itself is very unique. Can you speak a little bit about what is different in this upcoming winter arc?

G.W. Bailey: The writers are doing something that’s very new to us and that is a lot of fun for the final five episodes. They are a serial piece as opposed to a procedural piece, which of course means that there is one crime, or rather series of crimes, and they’re all connected to either a killer or a group of killers. We will be spending the entire final five episodes trying to solve those murders and bring that killer or killers to justice.

Structuring the show in this way is a MAJOR CRIMESbig first for us, so that’s been fun to explore. And the best part is that we (the actors) truly don’t know, or rather we won’t know the outcome until the final episode, so all of us on set have our own theories as to who it might be.

Continue reading

MCTV Exclusive: Tony Denison Talks Flynn’s Recovery, “Shandy” and Major Crimes Biggest Season Ever

By M. Sharpe


417 - flynn raydor lrThis winter season of Major Crimes has been a rough one for Andy Flynn. We spoke to his portrayer, Tony Denison to get the scoop on Flynn’s health (everyone breathe a sigh of relief: he’s going to be OK!), his evolving relationship with Captain Raydor, and what it’s been like filming the biggest season of Major Crimes yet (Hint: Tony is ready for more!)

MCTV: Flynn has had a rough go of it this winter season, with being injured and then the complications from that, and recovering from surgery. Fans have been very worried about him! How is his recovery going? Are there more setbacks on the horizon for him?

Tony Denison: I think he’s on the road to recovery. But like anything else, as human beings when  something that happens to you, you develop an attitude about it. It’s like people who have had heart attacks or strokes, they suddenly become more aware about what they need to change in their lives. So when such an event happens in a person’s life they have two choices, they can either be keenly aware of it, or ignore it and wind up maybe having to deal with it again.414-86-flynn

I think that Flynn, if he was in his 30s when this happened, I think that he would probably ignore it and insist that he’ll be alright, but the fact that he’s not, and it means that he’s going to be a little bit more sensitive to it. And the other thing that is really cool about this story, and this is where relationships start to have a very interesting or profound meaning in the person’s life, is that your partner-to-be, the person that you’re involved with, suddenly turns around and says, hey, you want to take it easy over there? Which is great, everybody needs someone in their life to say that to them.  That’s what relationships are about, and as (Flynn and Raydor’s) relationship builds, I suppose we’ll see more of that, but I can’t say for sure. All I know is what we’ve done, I don’t know what the plans are, or how the relationship moves along, if it moves a little bit more quickly or more slowly, I really don’t know. I’ll be happy with whatever they decide.

415-81-flynn rustyMCTV: Speaking of the relationship between Sharon and Andy, we’ve seen a lot of development this winter. How has that been for you?

Tony: I’m not just trying to be polite, but it’s been great, it’s been absolutely fantastic. I love working with Mary McDonnell.  I love working on the show period, I have a long standing relationship with G.W. (Bailey) and great relationships with the rest of the cast, but I’ve always been a fan of Mary McDonnell.  I think I’ve seen almost everything that she’s done. So when she worked on The Closer and she was basically just reoccurring, it was great to have some scenes with her. I didn’t really have that many, but I still looked forward to them. And then when Major Crimes happened, and when James Duff noticed that there might be something brewing between Sharon and Andy, that meant for me that I would have the opportunity to work even more with her.

The writers have been putting together some really good storylines and making this romance believable because they’re not going to be impetuous, they’re very responsible people, they’re very responsible adults. She’s the Captain of a squad involved in saving lives and in charge of all of us, and we’re all these responsible police officers, and plus, we’re not kids anymore. There’s a certain amount of decorum that we experience, it doesn’t make our feelings for each other any less, it just means that we behave a little differently. The feelings are the same, they’re the same way that they would be if we were in our 20’s, just a little less impetuous.

MCTV: We’ve seen a lot of people 418- flynn raydor rusty lrtalk about how that’s one of the reasons they’ve enjoyed watching the relationship between Flynn and Raydor develop – seeing these more mature characters explore a relationship, and how that plays out with their responsibilities in life has really resonated with the viewers.

Tony: Yes, I agree with that. It’s been wonderful to explore.

MCTV: You’ve also had a chance to really explore some evolving relationships with some other people in Flynn’s life this season, from Patrice as Provenza’s significant other to Flynn working to forge a relationship with Rusty. How has that been?

415-52-flynn patriceTony: James Duff was very much interested in really building that a lot and I’m sure that there will be more of that as the new season approaches. It will be great for Flynn and Rusty especially because of the relationship that they each have with Sharon. And of course the other relationships that Flynn has with Provenza and now with Patrice, well you can just see down the road that that’s going to be a lot of fun, especially as it relates to Flynn and Provenza, I just see a virtual goldmine of fun.

MCTV:  This has not only been a standout season for Flynn, but also a standout one for Major Crimes as a whole, with having the season extended twice. How has that been going?

Tony: It’s been great! They gave us an additional 5 episodes to do, so we’re doing 23 this season which is unusual for a cable show, very unusual. We’re tearing up the tracks again; we’ve had some stiff competition this winter against three different shows: The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, and Monday Night Football. Despite that we’ve managed to maintain a certain rating – now it wasn’t our usual summer rating however our DVR ratings were tremendous and the minute those other shows finished, our ratings went up by 48% in actual live viewings. There is a definite audience out there for us and we have very loyal fans which, I am sure that I speak for the whole cast and crew, which we so tremendously appreciate. It’s great to have a power base like that and fan’s support and that means that we’ll run, certainly for a while longer. And as an actor I know that I’m looking forward to our 5th year, and beyond.

MCTV: You are in the final stretch of MAJOR CRIMES (TNT)production right now, filming the final five episodes of the season that are scheduled to air in February. Is there a big difference as an actor between filming 10-15 episodes like in season 1 and 2, to now 23 episodes in Season 4?

Tony: Well it’s more than usual which I say, yeah, okay, and that’s a problem why? I mean nobody’s complaining. If they said, you’re doing 33, I’d be like, okay! It’s just a different kind of discipline that you have to prepare yourself for, that’s all. I mean we get certain hiatuses and some time away from the show. Most of those hiatuses are really to benefit the writers and the crew, because those people are really working very hard all the time. And yes, while actors expend a lot of emotional energy, the writers and the crew, they’re going non-stop. I wouldn’t care if I worked on 33 episodes a year, it wouldn’t matter to me at all.

This season has been great. I decided a long time ago that, I’ve always been one who enjoys the surprise, and as an actor you try to the best of your ability to do a scene and not know, not play the results. If you read the script and you know that you’re in jeopardy in one scene and because you’ve read the script you know that you’re going to come out of the jeopardy – the key as an actor is to play that jeopardy as if you don’t know what is going to happen. So overall, I don’t talk to James other than to say, thanks for a really good episode, I don’t call to ask what’s going to happen to my character. And they keep me definitely surprised. The stuff that I am doing now with Mary and the injury, and how that all continues to work out, it’s just been grand.


Major Crimes winter season continues through next week, then returns February 15th, 2016 for the final 5episodes of the season. Season 5 of Major Crimes will premiere in Summer 2016.