Season 3 Scoop- James Duff Talks Rusty’s Mom, Spinoff Rumors and More


In a new interview with TV Guide, creator James Duff talks about the return of Rusty’s mom, Jackson Raydor, and addresses the recent spinoff rumors.

“Major Crimes is about to turn Rusty Beck’s life upside down.

After two seasons of tracking Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) through the emotional turmoil he felt after being abandoned by his family and forced to prostitute himself to survive, the TNT drama’s third season (premiering Monday, June 9 at 9/8c) will finally introduce Sharon Beck, the mother who eventually left him behind. Eureka and 24 alum Ever Carradine will play the crucial role, Major Crimes creator James Duff tells

“We begin our first episode with a different Rusty,” Duff says. “He has changed quite a bit. The experience of testifying on his own and having his say in the courtroom, reduced the whining, reduced the teenage angst. He’s sort of moving beyond and looking into his own heart and how he can make things better. Then, out of the blue, he’s knocked off stride by the reappearance of [his mother] who he had thought he was separated from for good.”

However, Rusty doesn’t tell the other Sharon in his life — Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell), who took Rusty in — about his mother’s reappearance, at least not right away. When he does, you can expect things to get a little messy. “The anxiety he has about his mother will reveal itself, and he [does] introduce his mother to Sharon,” Duff says. “His mother has a very different take on where he is in life than Sharon does. It’s so disturbing.”

But Rusty’s mother isn’t the only one weighing in on Rusty and Capt. Raydor’s relationship. In fact, later in the season Raydor’s husband (Tom Berenger) and her yet-to-be-cast son Ricky will have a point of view as Sharon considers adopting Rusty outright. “The theme of our first 10 episodes this season is expectations,” Duff says. “We have an expectation of a lot of things in our lives that it turns out that we have no right to expect. Family is not a given. Family is something you are sometimes obligated to create for yourself and that you embark upon with other people. How do you include other people? What does the word family mean? Do you have any right to expect that your family will always be exactly what it is?”

In terms of the Major Crimes family, Season 3 will also dedicate a little more time to extended family member Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney), who has reprised his role from The Closer off-and-on during the first two seasons. And this season’s Fritz spotlight episode is going to be bigger than ever. “Episode 7 involves another section of the L.A.P.D. called the Special Operations Bureau,” Duff says. “The S.O.B., as its called inside the department, is in charge of the largest municipal air force in the world, the dive team, the SWAT team, the bomb team, criminal intelligence, gang intelligence, K9. … We’re rolling out S.O. B. [for] a huge, disturbing, frustrating manhunt involving Major Crimes and S.O.B. in tactical support.”

However, Duff says that some reports that the episode will serve as possible pilot for a spin-off series may be premature. “It’s an episode of Major Crimes, slightly super-sized because it’s in the middle of our season when usually do very well,” he says. “I guess the episode could serve as proof of concept for a show about S.O.B., but it’s not what I would call a spin-off or a pilot. If TNT wants to order a series based on it, I won’t tell them no. But I will tell you with absolute frankness that I have no deal to do a series called S.O.B. at this particular moment.”

But Duff doesn’t rule out seeing more of Fritz and that team if audiences respond to the story. “We thought we’d give our audiences a great big thrillride,” he says. “It puts Fritz in the center of it. If it looks interesting or feels interesting, we might pursue more stories like that, especially in the back nine.”

James Duff on Rusty Beck and ‘Thrown Away’ Children

2.02-rusty2 lrA new article in the New York Times looks at some of the current films and TV shows that are exploring the issues surrounding children in foster care, and spoke to Series Creator James Duff about Rusty Beck and Major Crimes.

“Another cable series takes a grittier approach to a similar subject. In the Los Angeles police procedural “Major Crimes” on TNT, the main character, Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) becomes an unofficial foster mother to Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin), a gay, homeless teenager and former sex worker who is a key witness in a case. “Major Crimes” treats Rusty with sympathy without glossing over his past. That’s because the character comes from a deeply personal place for the show’s creator, James Duff, who is gay.

“I ran away from home when I was 17,” said Mr. Duff, who said he is hoping to raise awareness of runaways or, as he called them, “thrown-aways,” by providing a window into a little-seen world.

“When I see what goes on now with thrown-away children in our own culture, I think Dickens would have blushed,” he said. “ ‘Oliver Twist’ is actually an uplifting story compared with the horrors that the unattended children of Los Angeles are suffering now.”

Read the full article here



With James Duff at the Helm, Major Crimes Forges Its Own Identity

By M. Sharpe

Duff TC Finale

Major Crimes Creator/Executive Producer James Duff.
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

As the eve of the Season 2 premiere of Major Crimes approaches, Series Creator and Executive Producer James Duff can’t help but reminisce about the difference between when The Closer first premiered on TNT in 2005, and last year, when Major Crimes debuted directly after its series finale. “It’s a very different environment than when The Closer first started. Because there were only two shows on the air that season, and TNT was just beginning its thrust to original content. And now a new season has arrived and they have several one hour dramas on the air- almost a full network schedule.” Of promoting the series premiere of Major Crimes last year, he says it was problematic because, as the spin-off to The Closer, it relied on launching directly after that show’s final episode- and to say almost anything about the new show would give away the details of how The Closer would end. “It was a marketing nightmare, but we managed.”

They did more than just manage. Major Crimes set a new record as basic cable’s most-watched series launch ever and averaged 7 million viewers in its freshman season. Returning tonight for its second season, Duff is excited about the new storytelling opportunities that are being presented in Major Crimes, and while comparisons to The Closer are inevitable, he says that Major Crimes has truly developed into its own unique franchise. Continue reading

Mary McDonnell and James Duff on the Complexities of Sharon Raydor

2.02-raydor3 lrIn a great new article by the LA Times, Mary McDonnell and Series Creator James Duff talk about the evolution of Sharon Raydor in Major Crimes, and what we can expect from her in season 2.

‘”She’s concerned with doing what’s right, not with what people think about her,” McDonnell said recently during a break in filming this season’s expanded order of 19 episodes. “It’s more of a male energy.”

So if Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg hadn’t written the bestseller “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” maybe Raydor would have? The unflappable cop will continue to thrive in a male-dominated world when “Major Crimes” returns Monday to TNT, where it planted its flag as the No. 1 new drama on cable last year with an average 7 million viewers.

James Duff, creator of “Major Crimes” and its predecessor, “The Closer,” said he wants viewers to respect and relate to Raydor, the politically savvy chief of detectives.

But like her? It wasn’t his goal, even as he took her from guest player on “The Closer” to the center of the “Major Crimes” ensemble. And that helps illustrate how far TV, especially cable, has come in its portrayals of women, he said.’

Read the rest of the article here.

Goodbye Kyra, Hello Mary!

In a new interview in Dish Mag, creator James Duff talks about bringing The Closer to and end, and creating Major Crimes to continue its legacy.

Major Crimes Creator James Duff described how that show picks up where The Closer leaves off.  “What I mean by that,” he said, “is The Closer concentrated almost exclusively on getting confessions, while the major crimes team is expected to deliver convictions.  And with the help of a few intriguing new characters, such as former Two and a Half Men’s Graham Patrick Martin as homeless teen Rusty, and a new undercover detective, a few DAs, and members of the FBI task forces, Major Crimes proves that in life, everything, even murder, could be a negotiation.”

Whole article here.

James Duff on the End of The Closer, and the Future of Major Crimes

James Duff, showrunner and creator of both Major Crimes and The Closer wrote a note to fans reguarding the end and the beginning of his two shows:

While The Closer generally wrapped up with a final interview, Major Crimes must reach further into the process. I look forward to exploring the justice system by seeing how it works when people play as absolutely by the rules as they can. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to what came before. Let us ask ourselves, and also ask our collective conscience, given a serious lack of funding, what kind of bargains is the justice system designed to make? It’s a new and different way of looking at murder, and part of the authentic change occurring inside the public sector (independent of which party is in power).

Read his whole letter to fans here.

James Duff on the end of The Closer and the future of Major Crimes

In a new interview with Assignment X Magazine, Creator and Executive Producer James Duff talks about bringing The Closer to an end, and moving forward with Major Crimes.

AX: Can you talk about the differences and the similarities between Brenda and Sharon as characters?

DUFF: Brenda is a much more personality-driven, impulse-driven, what-I-need-to-do, obsessive/compulsive kind of personality.Sharon is much more orderly and she is more like her conscience. Brenda is more like your desires and your wants and your conscious self, and Raydor is more like your conscience telling you what you ought to do. It would be appealing to think that we always followed our conscience, or found our conscience in some way attractive, but a lot of us would like to avoid it.

Read the whole interview here.