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: Graham Patrick Martin on “The Year of Rusty”

By A. Cascone and M. Sharpe

gpm gallery colorOver the last four seasons, viewers have watched as Rusty Beck, played by Graham Patrick Martin, has gone from being an abandoned and mistrustful teen, to a young man with a stable support system of family and friends, and a burgeoning journalism career. We recently caught up with Graham on the set Major Crimes to talk about the evolution of his character’s growth, and  what he calls “The Year of Rusty” this season.

MCTV: This year has been especially action-packed for Rusty. We’ve seen him take on challenges that he has never had to face before, and we’ve seen him really start to mature and move away from adolescence into adulthood. How has it been filming all of this and processing all the shifts in Rusty’s life?

Graham Patrick Martin: It’s been really fun for me! I feel like this is really The Year of Rusty in terms of how much he has come into his own. He’s been in the process of coming into his own this whole time but I really feel like this season is the first time where he seems to be acting like more of an adult in the sense that he’s taking responsibility for his actions and he’s not as self-centered. For the first time, he’s able to think about and focus on other people and I think that this process really started out with Alice, then Slider, and then just in general with his interactions with everyone in his life. At the same time though, he is still learning and growing, as we saw when he was being flaky with Gus, and avoiding acknowledging his feelings. I feel like that’s really interesting, because now it’s like Rusty has finally broken through that threshold of being a child and now he’s officially a young adult. He’s now figuring out who he is rather than just growing up into who he is.

MCTV: One particular initiative that we’ve seen Rusty take this year is with his journalistic ambitions and his commitment to his video blogs. How has that experience been for you? And will we see the vlog continue for Rusty next season?

GPM: It’s been a really different experience for me, and one that I have enjoyed. Initially James had this idea of Rusty getting into journalism and it’s something that we planted in season one. Prior to filming Major Crimes and around the time that I found out that we got the green light for the series, I went to James and pitched this idea to him. I thought that Rusty should have this notebook with him that he writes in very frequently because I feel like on the streets Rusty didn’t make any friends, and he had no one to talk to, so I felt like he needed an outlet, and therefore why not make it this notebook? James liked the idea and let me run with it, so if you notice, during the first season Rusty was always writing in this notebook, so that seed was kind of planted very early on. Then this year, James decided that we were going to take it a step further and go this whole route of Rusty the journalist.

Exploring this through his video 403- hobbs raydor rusty lr2blogs is a good way to further explore the whole storyline, and also to get the audience more involved. Plus it’s so much fun because at the end of the day, this show is a police procedural, not really a show about a teenage journalist, these two hardly ever go hand in hand. But, having the vlogs let’s us have the show as it is, as a police procedural, but also let’s us have this bonus material where fans can be engaged further and gain extra insight into the story and what Rusty is doing, all of which also then informs the A storyline with the rest of the cast. It’s just been a really fun thing to do this season, and I’m happy to say that we will be continuing them next season as well. (Editors note: Catch up with all of Rusty’s vlogs here)

MCTV: Speaking of Rusty coming into his own and maturing, it seems like there has been a shift in his relationship with Sharon this season both in how they relate to one another, and also with regards to her relationship with Andy Flynn, and having him in their lives. How has all of that been for Rusty?

415-67-raydor rustyGPM: I’m glad that you picked up on that shift. Firstly I want to note that Sharon and Rusty’s dialogue is a lot more equal now that it has been in past seasons and I think that is due to the fact that Rusty has grown a lot; he’s really maturing and he’s really trying to be an adult and I think that in turn warrants a lot of respect from Sharon. I mean, Sharon has always respected Rusty, but now that Rusty is growing and really taken control of his own life and not acting like such a victim of his circumstances, Sharon is now able to speak with him as more of an adult. Their relationship has really blossomed and now they’re also in a way, friends. He goes to her for advice like a friend would, so in a way, she’s both his mom and his friend, which I think is fantastic.

With Flynn coming along into their lives, it gets complicated. This is a guy that Rusty knows, and we’ve had some nice moments together and shared a lot. He’s been there for Rusty since the beginning even back in season one when he takes Rusty to the bus stop to see his mother. But, when it comes to this situation, the situation of grown men entering Rusty’s life as partners to the mother figure in his life, it has never been good. So when Flynn comes into Rusty’s life in this way, Rusty’s not incredibly supportive of it. It’s subtle though, it’s never straight up. He’s not against it, and he likes them both individually and he’s happy for them, but he’s got this risk radar that’s going off like crazy. In his mind, he’s thinking, okay, here’s another male coming into my life in this way. If you recall, going back to Jack Raydor, and then even as far back as Sharon Beck’s boyfriend, who dropped Rusty off at the zoo, this whole situation has just never been a good thing for Rusty.

414-20-flynn rustyRusty trusts Flynn, and he likes Flynn, and Flynn has been an important person in his life, but in this specific circumstance, it’s hard for Rusty. At the end of the day though, I think he’s supportive of it and he sees that Flynn has good intentions and that Sharon’s happy. Had this happened a few years ago, I think that Rusty would be more inclined to freak out, but at this point, again, he’s older now and he’s grown, so he is able to look past his inhibitions.

MCTV: Two people who have really characterized Rusty’s adolescence have been his biological mother, Sharon Beck, and Philip Stroh. Will these two characters continue to shape Rusty’s life and his sense of security he goes forward? Or will he finally leave them behind?

I mean, the risk of Phillip Stroh is always there. The last season ended with him driving off in an Uber, and you don’t know where he’s going. But I think Rusty’s constant feeling is that he isn’t going to let fear rule his life. He’s going to go out there into the world, and he’s learned these counter-surveillance measures from Cooper and Syke419- buzz provenza rusty lrs, so he’s going to use them to the best of his ability. He’s not going to live in fear, he’s just going to live with a sense of awareness.

With respect to his mother, he loves her and he wants what is best for her, unfortunately he has the instinct to always want to be there for her. And that is still there within him. She is where she is, and he is not going to inhibit his life and feel guilty about this new opportunity that he has been given and how he’s going to take it and make the most out of it. He’s also not going to live in guilt.

Major Crimes continues its winter season this Monday at 9pm/8c on TNT

Graham Patrick Martin on Rusty’s Coming Out and Creating “One of the Best Gay Characters on TV”

s3 GPM galleryIn a fantastic new interview with Advocate, Graham Patrick Martin discusses how he prepared to play the role of Rusty Beck on Major Crimes, how the LGBT community has reacted to the character, and how, in the words of the article, how he and James Duff have “created one of the best gay characters on TV.”

“Graham Patrick Martin’s Rusty was one of the most important characters bridging the The Closer finale to the Major Crimes premier. Since then he’s created one of the most complex, fleshed out, confusing, maddening, hopeful, and loving gay characters we’ve ever seen on cable TV. The upcoming episode on July 9 lets Martin showcase his acting chops as Rusty comes to terms with his mother, his past, his new family, and himself.

You’ve had a great storyline, going back to last year, on Major Crimes. Did you have any concerns about taking the role?
I think my concerns are the same as every actor. Can I find this character and make it come to life properly? And, at first, it was just a one-off guest- starring role on The Closer finale. I almost didn’t even audition! I was asleep when I got a the call saying I had a same-day audition in three hours, and I thought, “If I read this part, and it’s not good, I’m not going.” And I remember being irritated because I liked it. And I decided I really wanted to play it. So I got up and really worked on it and then, while we were shooting it, I began to like the character so much I didn’t want to leave him behind. So I was very happy when James Duff and Mike Robin asked me to stay around for Major Crimes.

Crime dramas aren’t usually known for portraying fully-fleshed out gay characters, but Major Crimes seems to be doing just that. What do you attribute as the reason the show has gotten it right with this character?
I think part of the reason my role is more authentic than a lot of other gay parts you see on television is that I’m not there just for laughs. Also the trauma of having been on the streets as a hustler because I was abandoned by my mother, gives me something of a unique journey in the basic cable-network television universe.

I know this is a story that was really important to executive producer James Duff. What has he told you about the role, the story arc?
Of course, you’d have to ask James this question, but I know he’s told me the part’s based a little on him, and that he wasn’t very popular in his late teens. He didn’t have a lot of friends his own age. And he ran away from home when he was 17 and finished high school on his own. I haven’t discussed this aspect of the role with him very much because I’m playing it how I see it and how I feel it. He can say it’s him, but it’s me.

You came on the scene as a homeless teen turning tricks to survive. Were you able to talk to other homeless LGBT teens before or during the role?
I did not talk to any homeless LGBT teens in preparation for this role. I didn’t think it would feel good to talk to a homeless teen for the benefit of my performance, then turn around and collect my series regular paycheck. Just didn’t seem right to me. I also played a character with a similar background in a film called Somewhere Slow. For both roles I instead decided to read as many blogs and testimonials as I could by people who had experienced this world and gotten out of it. Look, it’s pretty dark, really, when you sit down and think about it, Rusty’s life. I try to keep that darkness nearby without playing it. Because Rusty is, essentially, a hopeful character. But people need hope for a reason, don’t they?

There was a tough episode in which a 13-year-old trans girl named Michelle is murdered and her family are suspects. That’s every trans kids worst nightmare. How does filming a tough story like that affect the actors?
Everyone has there own process. A lot of times, Rusty doesn’t really have much to do with the crime; he’s more the personal side of things. And so the intense elements of the procedural in “Boys Will Be Boys” didn’t involve me. But the guy who was bullying the transgender kid is brought in and calls me a “faggot.” And that felt really horrible. There wasn’t much acting going on in that moment, because it was just so [pausing] well, rude does’t exactly cover it. I don’t understand the whole name-calling thing.

Your character’s storyline for me is resonant, not because of issues of identity or orientation, but because I’m the child of an addict. What part of Rusty’s life resonates with you the most?
I think the part of Rusty I find most interesting is that he doesn’t ever accept the role of victim. He is not always out there doing the right thing, either. He makes mistakes. And then he tries to rebound. And he actively wants to take responsibility for his own life. Sometimes he doesn’t succeed, but he tries. Which is why his mother and her addictions drive him crazy. His determination not to get dragged back into her madness is a sign of growth. But he doesn’t fully let go of her either. I think that’s how it works. You turn your back on the addiction, not the person. But it’s hard, because they look alike.

Do you hear from other people who connect with what you’re going through on the show?
All the time. It’s wild to be visiting New York and crossing the street and having someone yell out at me, “Hey, Rusty!” Or to be recognized when I go out as “the kid on Major Crimes.” And I think people relate to the journey he’s going on because finding out who you are is something every young person has to do. It’s part of becoming an adult. Plus, everyone has to come to terms with the role sex plays in their lives. Rusty dramatizes that. And, I think, the LGBT community relates because Rusty doesn’t really have many of the old cliches attached to gay characters on television. He doesn’t sing show tunes. He doesn’t get all excited about figure skating during the Olympics. I think he’s probably more interested in sex than he lets on. And that might be pushing his crisis a little.

I remember watching you on The Bill Engvall Show. Jennifer Lawrence was also unknown as your sister. Did you have any idea you two were destined to be where you are?
I loved doing that show and I loved working with Jennifer. I like to tell a story about when Engvall first premiered, I believe we scored 3.5 million viewers. Upon hearing the news, she sent me a text saying, “Oh my gosh we’re rock stars.” I love telling that story because of how excited she was at the modest viewership our show gained. Having no clue that she would be nominated for an Oscar three years later. Such a kind and humble girl, and she was great at comedy. Really great. You can say she’s gifted, because I think that’s true, but she has done remarkable things with her gift. As for me, I have a way to go before I catch up with Jennifer. And I don’t know where my future will take me. But we had fun with Bill. And I remember that early part of my professional career happily. I have no dirt. This is probably a terrible interview. I’ve been lucky not to have had bad experiences.

On the Engvall Show and Two and a Half Men, you’re comic relief, which is so different than Major Crimes. What have you learned the most in this role?
It’s hard to say what you learn acting a part. You find bits and pieces of yourself that are inside the character you play. You locate the relatable aspects of that character to your own life. So, in a way, every part you play forces you to discover things about yourself you might not have learned otherwise. I have never been a homeless gay kid on the streets of Los Angeles, but because of Rusty, I have thought a lot about what that must be like — and how important a home and a family were to me growing up. Sometimes I drive by these kids on the street and now I know what’s going on, and I didn’t before. It’s sad. For some reason, as a society, we don’t care about these children very much. They’re thrown away. We treat our pets better.

Your character gives Major Crimes a chance to deal with LGBT youth, sex work for survival (or surrogate parents), foster care systems, mentoring, fear of violence, cycles of neglect, and also, you know, solve a crime each week. What’s left for Rusty? Is happiness and stability in his future?
It’s great to be able to deal with adult issues, and the crisis of neglect and abuse in our culture, and to show a kid fighting to survive that, and make something of his life. He didn’t start out believing he had much of a future. In the second episode of Major Crimes, he tells Sharon, “People like me don’t go to college.” And I think that’s largely true. But I also think it’s great to see a character who’s reaching for something that others don’t believe he can grab — and to show him not giving up. When he’s cornered, Rusty finds a way to fight back. I’d like to see him do some of that when he’s not cornered. He has it in him.

At one point Sharon says, “Rusty, what you are is who I love. And all of you is coming home.” Can you imagine what the world would be like if every kid got to hear that?
Rusty handed Sharon his soul in that moment. And she just loved him. Period. She didn’t push him to explain himself. She didn’t demand explanations he didn’t know how to make. She just loved him. Is it obvious to say that most children do better when they’re loved? Do you get mad at a kid for being left-handed? Do you make someone explain to you why they have brown eyes? In that moment, Rusty is actually very ambiguous, because he still doesn’t know how to say the words out loud. And Sharon tells him, it doesn’t matter. Yes, I think it would be a much better world if more children were treated that way.

Last year the entire cast shot a PSA about bullying for GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.
I was very proud to participate in the GLSEN PSA. Actually, every single member of our cast participated in it. It was just one of those no-brainers we decided to do while filming the story about the transgender kid. Don’t beat children. Again, it sounds like a pretty obvious thing to say. And not at all like a political statement. Don’t hit kids! Why do we have to be told this? But we do.

You can read the entire article here.

Graham Patrick Martin: Navigating His Path with Trust and Intuition

By M. Sharpe


Photo credit: Jason LaVeris/Getty Image

Before joining the cast of Major Crimes, Graham Patrick Martin admits to being a little nervous. “It was really scary at first, because all these actors had been on the show for so long, and they’ve been together and have this already established family. But fortunately everyone was really cool and really inviting, and it made me feel at home. It was great.”

Quite literally the new kid to Major Crimes both on screen and off, Martin also had concerns about how his character, Rusty Beck, would be accepted by audiences, especially in light of how he was introduced. “There was a brief moment where yes, I was concerned, because I knew right off the bat that Rusty butts heads with all of our heroes, all of the Major Crimes division. They’re nice to him, but Rusty is not kind to them, and I knew that people weren’t going to like to see that. But at the end of the day, all I can do is focus on my work, and trust that if I do the best job I can do, I trust that the writers are leading my character in a great direction, that ultimately will be successful.”

Continue reading

A ‘Major’ Win for Graham Patrick Martin

2.02-rusty1 lrIn a new interview with the New York Post, Graham Patrick Martin talks about his early career, and the challenges and concerns he faced taking on the role of Rusty on Major Crimes.

“When actor Graham Patrick Martin joined the cast of the TNT drama “Major Crimes” last year, he felt major pressure to succeed on the spinoff of “The Closer.”

“I was kind of nervous just because my character was going to be a pivot point between the shows,” he says about portraying Rusty Beck, a homeless hustler and witness in a homicide case who was first introduced in last summer’s series finale of “The Closer,” which starred Kyra Sedgwick.

“I was afraid if my character didn’t work and people didn’t buy into it, then the whole show would tank — and it would be my fault,” he says. “It was very terrifying, but kind of the reality of the situation.”

Read the rest of the article here


Major Crimes Season 2: What to Expect

2.02- provenza sykes lrTVFanatic talked to much of the cast of Major Crimes and found out what we can expect from their characters and storylines in season 2.

Tony Denison: Has Detective Andy Flynn changed much between The Closer and Major Crimes? “Flynn has more to do in terms of police procedural stuff that wasn’t there in The Closer,” Denison said of his well-dressed character. “You find out why he’s an alcoholic and he’s probably a tough guy to live with, which is great to play.”

Kearran Giovanni: We know Detective Amy Sykes had experience in the military, but will we find out more this season? “You’ll get to see a little bit more of her personality,” the actress told me. And while she’s waiting for more backstory on her character, “I make up my own little things about Amy.”

Graham Parker Martin: While Rusty brings out the maternal side of Raydor, who has taken the troubled teen in and given him a home, he’ll need as much support as possible since he’s involved in a case that brings up questions about his sexuality. Martin said he doesn’t know exactly where the story is going, but told me that it “adds to the complexity of his life and what he has to go through now because he’s trying to be normal and at the same time he was forced to go into this brutal lifestyle.”

And while Rusty may butt heads with DDD Rios, we’ll see bonds form with many of the other members of the Major Crimes division including Raydor’s ex. “He’s a guy who comes in and immediately starts bonding with me,” Martin said, “and it’s kind of an interesting situation for Sharon because she knows that he’s not supposed to be around for long yet he’s giving [Rusty] this kind of hope that ‘Oh, cool male influence.’”

Philip Keene: With Rusty going through a lot, Francis “Buzz” Watson becomes an important figure for him. “He does share a lot of things with me,” Keene said, who added what the teen character brings to the show. “It gives us more to play on than just the cases. It’s a more personal and familial atmosphere,” the actor said.

 Read more from the rest of the cast here


Graham Patrick Martin Discusses Acting Career, New Orleans and His Role Major Crimes

1.02-61-rustyIn a new interview with, Graham Patrick Martin discusses how he got into acting, his first career choice, and about his role as Rusty Beck on Major Crimes.

“Landing the starring role on Major Crimes was “a dream come true. I’m excited to do what I’ve been training for for so long. I enjoy the work you have to put behind a dramatic performance, researching the background and representing a different human life,” he says.

Major Crimes is now the top-rated scripted show on Monday night and was picked up for a second season. Martin plays Rusty Beck, a former rent boy who witnesses a murder.”

Read the whole article, where Martin also discusses his role opposite Jessalyn Gilsig in the upcoming film Somewhere Slow, here.