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. 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.

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MCTV Exclusive – G.W. Bailey Talks Major Crimes and The Sunshine Kids Foundation

By Mina Sharpe

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Photo Credit: Justin Stephens, courtesy TNT, used with permission

With a career spanning more than four decades and some very memorable projects, G.W. Bailey’s filmography reads like a who’s who of notable films and television series, including such smash hits as MASH and Police Academy. These days, Bailey is busier and in higher demand than ever. Alongside playing Lt. Louie Provenza for ten seasons and counting on The Closer and now Major Crimes, much of Bailey’s free time is taken up by another passion; his role as the Executive Director of the Sunshine Kids Foundation, a charity that supports children being treated for cancer, and their families.

We caught up with G.W. Bailey at the Turner Network Upfront Presentations in New York City this past May, and talked to him about what’s ahead for Lieutenant Provenza, his work with the Sunshine Kids Foundation, and why, despite TNT’s move towards focusing on the younger demographic with their ‘BOOM’ campaign, he’s pretty sure Major Crimes is here to stay.

MajorCrimesTV: This season marks the 10th season playing Lt. Provenza for you. How has the experience changed? Do you bring something new going into the season like this?  Is it new and fresh because the ideas have changed so much lately?

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Photo credit: TNT, used with permission

G.W. Bailey: “Well it’s interesting. Today, we were in the green room waiting for this to start and Stephen Kane [writer on The Closer and the first season of Major Crimes] who is the writer/producer for The Last Ship walked in. I was sitting at a table among all these people and I was working on a crossword puzzle, which I’ve done every morning on Major Crimes and The Closer, for years while they’re rehearsing. I sit at Provenza’s desk and work on my crossword puzzle. And he walked over and he said, ‘Boy, some things don’t change no matter where you are.’

So, in terms of habits, they don’t change. In terms of characters, they have to develop, they just have to; just like in life, events affect you. Now, they don’t affect your core particularly, but they can affect your behavior and how you handle life and how you handle things. Provenza is certainly still Provenza; he’s still not going to run, he’s still not going to break a big sweat, he’s still Provenza. But he has adapted and he has changed.“

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Audio: K104.7 Sits Down with the Stars of ‘Major Crimes’

Radio station K104.7 talked to G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison and Mary McDonnell this past weekend at TNT’s Armchair Detective Event in Los Angeles, and recorded this fantastic interview.

Listen now: major-crimes-edited-cbs radio

Major Crimes Season 2: What You Need To Know

2.02- raydor 1 lrThis article first appeared in the Comcast-Xfinity TV Blog, reposted here for international accessibility.

“The cast of “The Closer” easily made the transition to its spin-off “Major Crimes” last season — with the exception of Kyra Sedgwick, who retired Brenda Johnson. Instead, Mary McDonnell’s character — Captain Sharon Raydor — took over as the new head of the Major Case Squad, and therein lies the conflict.

Where Brenda was all about getting a confession, Sharon is all about making deals with criminals in order to save the taxpayers the cost of a trial. So the focus, which continues in Season 2, is more on how the American justice system approaches the art of the deal as law enforcement officers and prosecutors work together to score a conviction.

That said, the team is still about getting the bad guys and “Major Crimes” will continue to feature some major cases, including the murder of a big-time film producer’s wife, an apparent murder-suicide and a LAPD ride-along that leads to a startling discovery.

XfinityTV exclusively spoke with McDonnell, GW Bailey, who plays Lieutenant Provenza, and Tony Denison, who plays Lieutenant Andy Flynn to get the inside scoop on the new season:

Sharon is getting a husband this season, played by Tom Berenger: Last season, we learned that Sharon does have children, none of who live with her, so she seems to be estranged from her family. This season we will meet her husband … yes, her husband, not her ex!

“It is a very interesting complicated relationship,” McDonnell says. “It is a lot of fun to act, and there is really something off-center about them that I love. They are not divorced. They haven’t lived together in decades, so it is really fascinating about the complexity. And [Tom] is a fantastic actor. Without saying anything else, you will be pleased.”

Nadine Velazquez plays the new Deputy DA: Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios (Velazquez) arrives to challenge Raydor’s intentions and shake up the department, especially getting on Raydor’s case about her overseeing custody of Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin), who may be a homeless teen, but is still a material witness in a case, so it could appear as if she was witness tampering.

“She is a pain-in-the-neck district attorney,” Denison says. “That is what they do. They come and tell us why we may not have done the investigation properly and what they think we need to do more of, and she comes and she is really ‘frictionist’ in a cute and clever way. ”

” I think she is interesting, too, because she brings her generation into the room,” McDonnell adds. “And there is sort of an entitlement about her generation. They are very smart. They are very aggressive and very entitled as young women, but they are very clueless about some things and that is fun.”

As hard as it is to believe, Provenza is grumpier than usual this season: In the beginning of Season 2, Provenza wins a $4,000 kitty, which has been gathered from the other cops who were in his class at the Police Academy, and Provenza wins it because he is the last officer from his class still on active duty. This doesn’t help improve his mood. “Of course, grumpy people don’t find themselves grumpy at all,” Bailey says. “I don’t find him to be grumpy, but he is aggravated a lot, and he is not afraid to let that aggravation show, so it comes out as grumpy. You know, me personally, when I arrive in the morning … they started this years ago … for a 6 o’clock call, they have the ADs [assistant directors] on the walkie talkies say, ‘Is he grumpy or grumpier?’

“I am not a morning person, so what I do is play Provenza like it is morning all day long. This year it is interesting because he is really beginning to finally admit how old he is and because all the evidence is around him, he is the last one standing. They are all gone. [He is facing] those very basic, philosophical questions that have been going on since man could write and that is: What is this all about? What in the world are we doing here? Why do these bodies keep showing up? Why do people keep doing this to each other? He asks those questions almost every episode.”

One of the unique aspects of “Major Crimes” was the addition of Rusty to the cast. He continues his role this season, more like a family member than the material witness he is. When Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios discovers that her material witness is living with Sharon, she is not a happy camper. She insists on deposing Rusty, but he is reluctant to talk to her with Sharon present because he doesn’t want Sharon to hear all sordid details of his life on the streets.

“I think it is beautiful because, for her, it allows us to understand her in a different way,” McDonnell says of the humanity that Rusty adds to the story. “But in terms of how it affects us as cops, I think it allow us to start to interrelate in a way that we wouldn’t normally even though we work together every day. I think that [Rusty] has created a potential relationship here, where we may have had a little more trouble relating or understanding our feelings of it emotionally.”

And Bailey, whose character Provenza has a special, almost grandfatherly relationship with Rusty, says, “He has worked as a character because he is such a charming actor. He has worked as a great catalyst to bring us together. We may have differences about a lot of things but this kid’s well-being is glue to us.”

Also returning for Season 2 are Michael Paul Chan as Lieutenant Mike Tao, Raymond Cruz as Detective Julio Sanchez, Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, Phillip P. Keene as tech expert Buzz Watson, Robert Gossett as Assistant Chief Russell Taylor and Jonathan Del Arco as the medical examiner Dr. Morales.

“Major Crimes” kicks off its second season Monday, June 10 at 9/8c on TNT.

News Briefs: Flynn and Provenza Antics to Return, Episode 2.01 Reviews (Updated)

1.06-38-provenza flynn- TV Fanatic got a chance to talk to GW Bailey about the upcoming season of Major Crimes, and the veteran actor shed some light on whether or not those famous Flynn and Provenza-centric episodes are still on the horizon:

‘MAJOR CRIMES Were you worried that just because The Closer is over that the Provenza/Flynn fun wouldn’t move over to Major Crimes? Never fear because GW Bailey (Provenza) told me on the set last week that an upcoming episode will give the twosome some time together: “It’s not exclusively about the two of us but it’s a situation that we get into and it actually isn’t our fault. We actually do a favor for someone we’re not even fond of, Emma (new regular Nadine Velazquez, playing an ADA), and it ends up a disaster and a mess and we’re in the middle of it…whoever’s closest to the flame is the one who gets burned. It’s a good episode.”

Bailey is also excited to work with guest star Tom Berenger, who’ll appear later this season as the long-absent husband of Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell). “Tom is an old friend of mine,” said Bailey. “We did a movie together almost 30 years ago – 29 years ago – called Rustler’s Rhapsody…when we saw each other on this we promised that we’d work together every 30 years.”’

- Our friends over at RizzlesUnlimited attended an advance screening of the Major Crimes premiere last weekend, and they’ve posted a great review/recap of the episode here. Warning- there are some mild spoilers for the plot of the episode.

6/7/13, 2pm PST, ETA:

- Channel Guide Magazine Review:
“Summer is here and so is the art of the deal on Major Crimes. Don’t forget to tune in Monday, June 10 (and set your DVRs), when Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) and one of television’s best ensemble casts returns for a second season.

Seven million viewers watched Major Crimes last year, ranking Major Crimes as basic cable’s No. 1 new series of 2012. As their second season opens, Lt. Provenza (GW Bailey) continues to drop hints about retiring while Lt. Flynn (Tony Denison) commits to 10,000 steps a day to help his health.

Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) has settled in nicely with Capt. Raydor, and so has the squad with the leadership change, but a new Deputy District Attorney — Emma Rios (Nadine Velazquez) — who’d rather win in court than make deals threatens to derail the status quo of the department.”

- WhopperJaw Season 2 Review:

Major Crimes returns to TNT for its second season on June 10. We were huge fans of The Closer (until its last season when the world came crashing down on Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) and Interim Chief of Police Will Pope (J.K. Simmons) exited to do State Farm commercials.  While the quirks of hard-nosed by-the-book Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) are nowhere near as endearing or colorful as those of her predecessor, she’s proving to be a slow burn, gradually gaining our appreciation as she makes the rules work to her advantage.

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Whopperjaw got a preview of the first episode of the new season. In terms of structure, it’s clearly trying to parallel the more successful elements of the initial series. Raydor is the smart, driven central figure and Rusty, her witness/charge/”foster son” is a stand-in for her “real world” that is connected to, but not fully part of, her life fighting crime. (He’s fulfilling the role Fritzy and family played for Johnson in the original series.)  The show appears to be setting up the Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios (Nadine Velazquez) to assume Raydor’s former position as the hard-to-like, oft antagonist. However Valazquez (let us save you the time it took us to place her before we gave up and searched IMDB; among other roles she played the maid on My Name is Earl) has a difficult time pulling it off. She’s out-performed by virtually every member of the extensive cast.

Still, the story draws you in at the get-go, starting with the body of a film director’s wife being pulled from a Los Angeles pool while crusty Detective Lieutenant Provenza laments both the victim’s death and his status in life. And so, even though we’d take back Johnson and Pope in a heartbeat, with the regular cast of favorites—Provenza, Flynn, Tao, Sanchez, Taylor and Buzz—staying on the case, this spin-out  police procedural continues to beat most of the crime shows out there and retains its space on our DVR.






Major Crimes and Drama- Q & A with GW Bailey, Mary McDonnell and Tony Denison

Cast Flynn Raydor ProvenzaThis past weekend our friends at RizzlesUnlimited attended TNT’s Armchair Detective Weekend, and took the opportunity to talk to GW Bailey, Tony Denison and Mary McDonnell about what we can expect in season 2- and found out that they don’t always agree on what might happen next on Major Crimes.

Q: How will the Captain’s need for control of her environment and the people around her degrade or change as she continues to work with the detectives and the outside influences of her personal life start to come in more and more? What should we expect to see as far as her need for control?

Mary McDonnell: I’m not sure exactly which direction it will go in, but I would say that the balance between growing by letting go and holding on too strong, that sort of tightrope is part of what’s at the core of her. But what’s been already obvious to me in the season we’re playing now is that [the detectives’] influence on her has already been positive in that, to be really working directly with the detectives on a crime rather than working with other detectives on detecting whether or not they did well on a crime, is really gratifying for her. It’s opening her up emotionally in a different way than being in Internal Affairs allowed her to. … If you’re friends with [the detectives], you’re not doing your job. So, so far, it feels to me like it’s having a positive effect, but there will be some trouble, I’m sure.

G.W. Bailey: In paradise.

Mary McDonnell: Because it’s a drama.

G.W. Bailey: And it’s TNT.

Everyone: And we know drama! (laughter)

Q: Will the fact the entire department is more-or-less raising Rusty eventually cause strife, or will it continue to be a unifying factor for them?

Tony Denison: I don’t know. Right now, it’s starting…

Mary McDonnell: Both.

Tony Denison: Yeah, both. It’s kind of both right now. You know, who knows which way James is going to go with this? But I’m sure, just as it’s going really great now, no matter what direction it takes or if it decides to split the baby the whole way down, it’ll be great either way, and the kid, Graham who plays Rusty, is wonderful. He’s wonderful, a nice kid, and really good actor to work with.

Q: We’ve noticed that your character, Tony, has started to become the Captain’s number 2 as the series has progressed. He’s sort of the go-to guy for that as opposed to Provenza, who has seniority on that. Why is that? Why are you the go-to guy as opposed to your partner?

Tony Denison: Because he’s super grumpy. (chuckles)

Q: Besides that! Is this something we’re going to see it expanded more where your character winds up being more and more at the number 2 spot while G.W.’s character evens it out?

Tony Denison: That won’t ever happen. The balance of the show is… I mean, it may happen in a way where it becomes annoying to him [G.W. Bailey] so that there’s more friction…

G.W. Bailey: It’s interesting what perceptions [are out there] because we [he and Tony Denison] won’t talk about this, but he and I have very strong opinions about…

Tony Denison: Yes.

G.W. Bailey: About this very issue and who is emerging as what we call the…

Tony Denison: The go-to.

G.W. Bailey: Corey Reynolds…

Tony Denison: David Gabriel.

G.W. Bailey: Gabriel. Gabriel had nothing to do with seniority. He was the youngest of all of us and wasn’t even made a detective. He made detective grade on the show. [He] was [Raydor’s] kind-of partner. He was her right hand, so it really has nothing to do with seniority at all. But there’s somebody on the show that we think is taking that position, but it’s neither one of us [Flynn or Provenza].

Mary McDonnell: And you know what? I just want to say that, from my point of view, both as the actress and Raydor, that’s not now I’m experiencing it at all, that there’s any one person. There’s been an interdependence to each one of them at different points that I felt very strongly. I don’t have that consciousness. Do you know what I mean? I’m not quite seeing what you’re [G.W. and Tony] seeing, perhaps, but maybe I don’t want to? (Laughs)

Read the rest of the interview here, and follow RizzlesUnlimited for all the latest news and information about TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles!



G.W. Bailey to Reign as Bacchus XLIV at Mardi Gras 2013


After roles on the stage, film, and TV, Major Crimes’ G.W. Bailey is taking on another leading role, this time as “King” of the Bacchus XLIV Parade at Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

One of the premier parade’s of Mardi Gras, the Carnival Krewe’s long- standing relationship and charity work with Children’s Hospital of New Orleans makes Bailey a natural choice to lead this year, as in addition to his work as an actor, he is Executive Director of The Sunshine Kids, a non-profit for young cancer patients. According to press releases, several Sunshine Kids will be traveling to New Orleans to ride on the float along with Bailey.

For more information, check out some local coverage of the parade, here and here.