MCTV Exclusive: James Duff on THAT SCENE and Other Shocking Moments from Tonight’s Major Crimes Premiere

By . Sharpe


514 - sharon fritzCAUTION – the below includes spoilers for Wednesday’s all-new episode of Major Crimes. Do not read if you have not yet seen the episode and don’t want to be spoiled!

Major Crimes is always full of twists and turns, and tonight’s winter premiere is no exception, with two particularly shocking moments towards the end of the episode. We wanted to find out just how those moments came to pass, so we checked in with creator James Duff for the scoop.

MajorCrimesTV: So, this episode was full of shocking moments, but first, let’s talk about Sharon getting punched, because I was NOT ready for that!

James Duff: Sharon was just trying to find a reason to hold her suspect and she put her face in the line of fire. You see our characters running towards the danger at the top of the episode, and then you see Sharon walking in and putting herself in the line of danger in the interview room. It’s actually a parallel to that moment in the beginning. It’s a dramatization of her putting herself first – she is trying to find a way to stop this guy. And the way to stop him is to get him to assault her. And she succeeds. That was her strategy to resolve this case.

MCTV: Well, it sure got me – I wasn’t expecting it at all, and it looked very real.

JD: It got me, too, even though we wrote it and knew it was happening, when I saw them on screen I gasped. And Mary was fantastic in that scene. It’s very unnerving.

MCTV: The other big bombshell at the end of this episode is that Stroh may be back. How is that going to play into the rest of this season?

JD: Well, we’re going to get more information as we go along about Stroh, but I’m not going to be able to tell that story–remember when I was doing these last eight episodes, I didn’t know whether or not we would have a season six, and so I put all the Stroh information where I could excise it if I needed to. And I made it small, so I could track his potential return without promising to actually show anything.

Indeed, if he has come back, he would be very careful. I mean, he’s on the ten most wanted list, he is a serious, serious criminal, people seriously want to catch him. He’s the subject of a world-wide manhunt. So how he may be accomplishing these things is questionable. He may not be here in person. We know he has a history of manipulating people into helping him. I’m not really going to pay off the story in the back eight, but I’m going to continue setting it up, because I am going to go there next year.


Major Crimes returns with an all-new episode next Wednesday at 9pm/8c on TNT. Don’t forget to check out the “What Would Sharon Raydor Do?” podcast tomorrow, where we talk about this episode (and that scene!) in depth with Captain Raydor herself, Mary McDonnell.

MCTV Presents: ‘What Would Sharon Raydor Do?’ Special Edition Podcast – Mary McDonnell


Welcome to a Special Edition of the ‘What Would Sharon Raydor Do?’, Podcast with Mary McDonnell. This episode features Mary with Maggie and Nachelle as they take on an important topic.

Leave your feedback and questions by commenting on Facebook or Twitter with #WWSRD or leaving your comments below.

‘What Would Sharon Raydor Do’ – Podcast #8 – Mary McDonnell w/ Guest Host Olivia Mell


Welcome to Episode 8 of ‘What Would Sharon Raydor Do?’, the podcast devoted to getting an in-depth view at Major Crimes Captain Sharon Raydor by the woman who knows her best, Mary McDonnell. This week’s guest host is Mary’s daughter, Olivia Mell.

In this episode, Mary and Olivia discuss the three-part Major Crimes summer finale “White Lies’.

Leave your feedback and questions by commenting on Facebook or Twitter with #WWSRD or leaving your comments below.

 

Find Mary online:
Facebook.com/Themarymcdonnell
Twitter.com/marymcdonnell10
instagram.com/theladyBAM

Find Olivia online:
Facebook.com/OliviaMellMusic
Twitter.com/Mell_Olivia
Instagram.com/OliviaJaneMell
OliviaMellMusic.com

Find MajorCrimesTV online:
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Intagram.com/MajorCrimesTV
MajorCrimesTV.net

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 Presents: What Would Sharon Raydor Do? Podcast #7 with Mary McDonnell and Guest Host Greg LaVoi


Welcome to  Episode 7 of ‘What Would Sharon Raydor Do?’, the podcast devoted to getting an in-depth view at Major Crimes Captain Sharon Raydor by the woman who knows her best, Mary McDonnell. This week’s guest host is Greg LaVoi, the costume designer and wardrobe guru at Major Crimes.

In this episode, Mary and Greg answer questions about Season 5, Episode 9, “Family Law”, discuss how wardrobe choices are made, what role the actor’s input plays in costume selection, and how the costumes are used to tell the story.

We will be including a few listener questions on the podcast each week, and you can ask your questions below, on the MajorCrimesTV Facebook page, or tweet them to us @MaryMcDonnell10 and @MajorCrimesTV using hashtag #WWSRD, and tune in next week to see if your question is answered!

MCTV Presents: What Would Sharon Raydor Do? Podcast #6 with Mary McDonnell and Guest Host Kathe Mazur


Welcome to Episode 6 of ‘What Would Sharon Raydor Do?’, the podcast devoted to getting an in-depth view at Major Crimes Captain Sharon Raydor by the woman who knows her best, Mary McDonnell. This week’s guest host is Kathe Mazur, who plays DDA Andrea Hobbs. In this episode we dive in to episode 8 of Season 5 of Major Crimes “Off The Wagon”. Mary and Kathe discuss the episode, the relationship between their characters, and both character’s back stories. Get to know the characters and the women behind them.

We will be including a few listener questions on the podcast each week, and you can ask your questions below, on the MajorCrimesTV Facebook page, or tweet them to us @MaryMcDonnell10 and @MajorCrimesTV using hashtag #WWSRD, and tune in next week to see if your question is answered!

MCTV Exclusive – Inside the Fitting Room with Greg LaVoi – “Moral Hazard”

By M. Sharpe


lavoi-lavoi

Major Crimes costume designer Greg LaVoi

As part of our new weekly series “Inside the Fitting Room” we spoke to Major Crimes costume designer Greg LaVoi to get an inside look at the fashion and costumes behind last week’s episode, “Moral Hazard.”

MajorCrimesTV: The last few episodes have each taken place over several different days, and thus each character has had several different costume changes. In contrast, this episode took place all over one day, and as such, everyone (with the exception of the Jere Burns character) had just one costume all episode. It very much helped make it clear that the episode was in the same day, and it really contributed to the intensity of that.

Greg LaVoi: Exactly. In something like this, it’s such a real episode, very reality based, so you have to believe that that it’s real, and that the clothes are part of the story, but not in an obvious way. I love going to a film or watching a TV show where you don’t even notice the clothes because then I think that truly is a successful designer, having success with the clothes, and making them very real to the story.

MCTV: Sharon Raydor and the rest of the team just had the one costume throughout the episode. What was she wearing for this?

GLV: Sharon wore a pin-striped charcoal-grey Armani that we got last spring at Saks. It’s just beautiful, it’s grey flannel, and who doesn’t look good in grey flannel?

The dress is a wool crepe shift dress, and it’s actually “turtle green”, not black, and it’s by Akris Punto. In the store it looked black, and then when we got it to the office it’s actually this beautiful turtle green…it’s just wonderful.507- armani

MCTV: Patrice’s sundresses were such a breath of fresh air in this episode – bright and summery. How did you decide on them? Continue reading

MCTV Presents: What Would Sharon Raydor Do? Podcast with Mary McDonnell – #5



Welcome to episode 5 of the ‘What Would Sharon Raydor Do?‘, the podcast devoted to getting an in-depth view at Major Crimes Captain Sharon Raydor by the woman who knows her best, Mary McDonnell. This weeks episode discusses the last several episodes of Major Crimes, through episode 507 “Moral Hazard”.

We will be including a few listener questions on the podcast each week – ask your questions below, and listen next week to see if your question has been answered!