MCTV Exclusive: James Duff Previews Major Crimes Winter Premiere, the Race for Chief, and Why He Prepared Alternate Scripts For This Season

By M. Sharpe

514- duff raydorAfter a five-month hiatus, Major Crimes returns tonight with the first of eight all-new episodes of its winter season. spoke to series creator and executive producer James Duff to find out just what fans can expect from these upcoming episodes, including how Chief Taylor’s death continues to impact the team and the LAPD at large, what we can expect from two major new additions to the cast, and how the long wait for a season six renewal affected how the writers approached the season finale. And stay tuned for after the episode for our special postmortem with Duff on a few of the jaw-dropping turns tonight’s episode delivers.

MajorCrimesTV: It’s great to have you and the team back. It’s been far too long, and with everything that has been going on in the world, it feels very comforting to have Major Crimes, and these familiar characters back in our lives.

James Duff: Thank you, it’s good to be back. I will say, in our present day lives, the world suddenly seems less stable than it used to. I do think having these familiar characters come back for eight episodes right now is something that offers people a little happy familiarity. And people who like the show, I think they’ll like it even more than usual, because they want a little stability somewhere, and the show does, in its own way, foster that stability in the world. It’s a continuance, and no matter what changes in the world, or how it changes, MC is still here, doing its thing. And we’re very glad to be back for that.

MCTV: You’ve mentioned before going into this season that the team was in for a big shakeup, but what struck me even more than that watching the winter premiere was the feeling that this was a bit of a rebirth for the show, and that things are headed somewhere different. Camryn Manheim as Winnie Davis comes onto the scene like a bull in a china shop, butting up against Raydor. It’s very reminiscent of how Sharon really came onto the scene in The Closer and butted up against Brenda. Are we going to see that parallel continue?

JD: Yes. That is a parallel, but there is a difference, in that Brenda handled Sharon’s presence much differently than Sharon is going to end up handling Winnie’s presence. You’re going to see in this episode, Sharon’s first reaction is, ‘may I please go back to work’. But later the later reactions are going to be much different. Sharon is struggling to find a way to deal with Winnie that’s professional, and Winnie knows that, so she goes for the personal. She tries to get some personal antagonism going between her and Sharon, and Sharon does not take the bait. She keeps everything as cool and professional as she can, although she does eventually lose her patience.

MCTV: We see in tonight’s episode that Wes Nolan, who was the undercover cop from the three part finale from summer, is now working with the team. Has he become a permanent addition?

JD: You know, that’s still a question. He’s going to be testifying for years against the white power organization in which he was an undercover agent for five years.  And while he’s testifying against Zyklon B he’s going to be attached to Major Crimes. And he may ultimately end up somewhere else, but he does seem to fit in, and I will tell you that the cast loved Daniel. They adore him and I think he’s a great addition to what we have. But a lot of it depends on our story-telling needs next season and how his career path goes.

MCTV:  Part of this episode focuses the team going through training exercises, and all that’s involved in that. How did that come about being part of this, as we’ve really not seen that before on the show?

JD: No we haven’t, and active shooter training is a big thing that started with the actual LAPD. There wasn’t any active shooter training like this for a very long time, and also the training has now changed. In the past, the police were told to wait for SWAT. But now, you can’t wait for SWAT, and you have to go right in. Your job as a first responder now is to get in there and try to stop it any way you can.

I felt like I didn’t want to do an actual active shooter story, because we did one already last season, but I did want to show how these episodes are disrupting our society, and I also wanted to show how we are training to deal with it. Additionally, it takes a lot of resources to continue this sort of training. A lot of time, a lot of effort and everybody must go through it. Since our show is largely about the lives of police officers, I felt like it was a great way to start our season, by showing them still training. Even the most successful of them still are training to do better.

MCTV: One thing that really hit me in this episode was that, as we’ve seen for the life of the show, the Major Crimes division has always been the darling of the LAPD. It’s the elite division, they’ve been supported by the brass, etc. But it seems that perhaps in this episode, and moving forward, I’m feeling like we might have just seen the first crack in that armor?

JD: Yes, and that is it exactly. Every time new management comes in, there are changes. They look to see where changes can be made, on all sides. It may surprise you to hear that detectives are not the most popular people inside the LAPD, or inside any police department, usually. Everybody feels they get special treatment, especially homicide detectives. The resources that are detailed to Homicide are always envied by other divisions. It’s natural, of course, because you want your money to go in support of people tracking the most violent offenders. But everybody considers their job important, too. And there’s always a question of balance. How much does any one division get, as opposed to another division, and could some of the crimes that are ultimately solved by our detectives have been prevented by resourcing some of these other departments? Those are legitimate questions. Allocation of resources, that’s always a big deal inside bureaucracies. And the LAPD is no different.

MCTV: We don’t see him until next week, but what can you tell us about the other person who’s going to be in the running for the Chief position?

JD: Commander Davis is also in charge of a division that the LAPD supports and that causes a lot of anxiety among other divisions, which is Criminal Intelligence Division, the LAPD’s own CIA. People’s big complaint about Criminal Intelligence is that they swoop in, they get information, and it goes away and it never comes back. And they never share anything they’ve learned with the rest of the department. I mean, these are the rumors and the complaints that you hear from other LAPD officers, that CI is the sinkhole of all relevant information. And that they would rather hold on to their sources and methods than assist in solving crimes. So Commander Davis will have his own issues in terms of the Chief position, and Winnie Davis is going to have issues with him as well.

MCTV: We were all thrilled and relieved by the recent renewal announcement for season 6, but it came pretty late in the game in terms of where you were in the production schedule of these episodes. Did the delay in renewal affect the storytelling and how you wrote this winter arc, not knowing if there would be another season after this?

JD: I was preparing to do the last eight episodes as if we were going to do no more, but we also planned it so the last episode could go a multitude of ways depending on what happened. The word came down [that the show was renewed] before we started shooting the last two episodes. So as things turned out, we were prepared for the renewal with an alternate script, and the renewal came, and so we had that script ready to shoot.

The winter premiere of Major Crimes airs tonight at 9PM/8C on TNT, and don’t forget to come back to after the episode as James Duff breaks down two of the most shocking moments of the night.

Thursday morning, delve even deeper into the new episode with a brand new edition of Mary McDonnell’s “What Would Sharon Raydor Do?” Podcast, guest hosted by the editor of Find out just what Sharon Raydor was thinking during tonight’s episode, from the woman who knows her best, actress Mary McDonnell.

Warner Bros Sets Release Date for Major Crimes: The Complete Fifth Season DVD Set

MajorCrimes_S5Warner Bros Home Entertainment has announced today that Major Crimes: The Complete Fifth Season will be released on DVD on May 30, 2017.  Featuring all 21 episodes of the fifth season (of which the last 8 begin airing next Wednesday, February 22nd), plus DVD extras including deleted scenes and the ever-popular gag reel, this is a must-have for fans of the show!  See the press release below for more information on the DVD release.






MAY 30, 2017


Five-Disc DVD Set Will Include All 21 Season Five Episodes Plus All-New Never Before-Seen Deleted Scenes and Gag Reel

BURBANK, CA (February 15, 2017) – The fifth season of TNT’s powerful crime drama Major Crimes is set for release on DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE). Available in stores May 30, 2017, Major Crimes: The Complete Fifth Season will feature all 21 gripping episodes from the hit police drama’s fifth season, on DVD, plus a gag reel and deleted scenes. The show that started as a sequel to the acclaimed police procedural The Closer, has become one of basic cable’s top programs. During Season Five, Major Crimes ranked as TNT’s #2 show and as the #5 series on basic cable television, and has delivered close to 10 million total viewers per episode via all platforms (Source: Nielsen P2+ Reach, Live and DVR, 6 min qualifier; Omniture SiteCatalyst; Bango for Mobile Apps, Rentrak OnDemand Essentials for VOD. VOD reporting is dependent upon data from the individual MVPDs, which is often delayed by days or weeks. VOD numbers are current as of the time they were pulled and should not be considered final.). The five-disc DVD set will retail for $39.99 SRP.

The fifth thrilling season of Major Crimes finds the dedicated team of detectives tackling some of the city’s most complicated criminal cases. The division is led by department head Captain Sharon Raydor, portrayed by Oscar nominee Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves, Battlestar Galactica). The unit is comprised of Lieutenant Provenza (G.W. Bailey, The Closer, M*A*S*H, Police Academy), Lieutenant Andy Flynn (Tony Denison, The Closer, Crime Story), Lieutenant Mike Tao (Michael Paul Chan, The Closer, Arrested Development), Detective Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz, The Closer, Training Day), tech expert and reserve police officer Buzz Watson (Phillip P. Keene, The Closer, The D.A.), Detective Amy Sykes (Kearran Giovanni, One Life to Live), Rusty Beck (Graham Patrick Martin, Two and a Half Men, The Bill Engvall Show), Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco, The Closer, Nip/Tuck), Assistant Chief Russell Taylor (Robert Gossett, The Closer, Arlington Road),and Deputy Chief Fritz Howard (recurring guest star Jon Tenney, The Closer, King & Maxwell).

Major Crimes returns with more mysteries in Season Five, as the squad continues to work some of the most challenging murders in the City of Angels. From searching for a missing teenage girl who vanished while helping the homeless, to hunting down the killer of a potentially dirty cop and following up on a beheading in an isolated corner of Los Angeles, cable’s favorite investigators work to arrest and deal out a succession of criminals and killers.

Outside of their work, each member of the team must balance their work and personal lives. Captain Raydor strives to push her adopted son Rusty, (Graham Patrick Martin, The Closer, Two and a Half Men), through college, while figuring out where she wants to go in her ongoing romance with Andy Flynn; Julio Sanchez decides to try to adopt a child himself; Provenza develops sensitivities related to his new marriage to Patrice (Dawnn Lewis); Buzz Watson picks up the 30-year-old murder investigation of his father and uncle; Mike Tao wins an award for his work as a Hollywood consultant; and Amy Sykes confronts the idea of motherhood versus focusing on her career.

“For five seasons, Major Crimes has captivated audiences with its brilliant ensemble cast, engaging storylines and top-notch production. It’s one of the best police procedurals on television today,” said Rosemary Markson, WBHE Senior Vice President, TV Marketing. She added, “We’re thrilled to offer another season of this outstanding series to consumers.”

Major Crimes is produced by The Shephard/Robin Company and Walking Entropy, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television. The Closer’s James Duff, who also created the series, is an executive producer alongside Duppy Demetrius, Mike Berchem, Adam Belanoff, Rick Wallace, Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin. Major Crimes has been renewed for a sixth season on TNT.


•Deleted Scenes
•Gag Reel

21 (1-HOUR) Season 5 EPISODES:

1.Present Tense
3.Foreign Affairs
4.Skin Deep
5.Cashed Out
6.Tourist Trap
7.Moral Hazard
8.Off the Wagon
9.Family Law
10.Dead Zone
11.White Lies – Part 1
12.White Lies – Part 2
13.White Lies – Part 3
14.Heart Failure
15.Cleared History
16.Quid Pro Quo
17.Dead Drop
18.Bad Blood
20.Shockwave – Part 1
21.Shockwave – Part 2
About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

514 – “Heart Failure”

WINTER PREMIERE: “Heart Failure” – Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017
When Captain Sharon Raydor and the Major Crimes Division investigate the murder of a young woman found in the LA River, their case is not only impeded by a secretive PI working for a tech industry millionaire, but also by Deputy Chief Winnie Davis (guest star Camryn Manheim), who regards Sharon as competition for the promotion to Assistant Chief of the LAPD.
Directed by Nzingha Stewart
Written by Ralph Gifford
Created by James Duff


Major Crimes Returns for Winter Season on New Day and Time

By M. Sharpe

mc winter red annoucement

TNT today announced that the second half of Season 5 of Major Crimes will premiere on February 22nd at 9pm/8c.

While the move back to the 9pm hour that the series previously held since its premiere in 2012 is a welcome one, the move to Wednesday marks the first departure from a Monday airing since the show’s predecessor, The Closer, premiered in 2005.

The second half of season five will focus on the power vacuum created at the LAPD when original cast member Robert Gossett (Chief Taylor) departed the series last fall. Emmy winner Camryn Manheim joins the series for the 8-episode winter run, as well as a host of new and familiar characters.

Major Crimes is TNT’s most-watched cable drama, and has ranked in the Top 10 of all cable programs for the past 4 years. This season Major Crimes brought in 93% more viewers than any new TNT series, including outperforming highly touted the series premiere of Good Behavior by more than 3 million viewers. This summer, the series ranked as one of the top 3 cable dramas of the week for it’s entire 13-week run, and brought in 131% more viewers than any other current or former TNT series in the 10pm time slot for the past 5 years.

There is currently no word from TNT on a season 6 of Major Crimes.

Read the full press release from TNT below:

Top 10 Cable Drama Returns Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).

Television’s favorite squad of detectives charge back to TNT this winter when Major Crimes returns to solve eight more mysteries on the way to its explosive fifth season finale. Major Crimes features a stellar ensemble cast including two-time Oscar® nominee Mary McDonnell as Captain Sharon Raydor, G.W. Bailey as Lieutenant Provenza, Tony Denison as Lieutenant Andy Flynn, Michael Paul Chan as Lieutenant Michael Tao, Raymond Cruz as Detective Julio Sanchez, Phillip P. Keene as tech expert (and reserve officer) Buzz Watson, Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, Jonathan Del Arco as Dr. Morales and Graham Patrick Martin as Rusty Beck, Sharon Raydor’s adopted son. The winter premiere of Major Crimes is set for Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on TNT.

In addition to the main cast, Major Crimes features recurring appearances of Emmy winner Camryn Manheim as Deputy Chief Winnie Davis, Jon Tenney as Deputy Chief of the Special Operations Bureau Fritz Howard, Kathe Mazur as DDA Andrea Hobbs, Jeri Ryan as Linda Rothman, Ransford Doherty as Coroner’s Investigator Kendall, Rene Rosado as Gustavo Wallace, Leonard Roberts as Commander Leo Mason, Dawnn Lewis as Patrice Perry, Daniel DiTomasso as Det. Wes Nolan and Jason Gedrick as former detective Mark Hickman.

Major Crimes centers on a special squad within the LAPD that deals with high-profile or particularly sensitive crimes. This winter, the squad moves inexorably to fill the vacant post of Assistant Chief that Fritz Howard has been occupying on a temporary basis. Along the way, Sanchez tries once again to become a father; Flynn and Sharon move closer toward the path to matrimony; Provenza considers retirement; Rusty interns for DDA Hobbs as he looks toward attending law school when he graduates from UCLA; Buzz attempts to help out the family of the man who murdered his father; Sykes confronts an old foe in Mark Hickman; Lt. Mike Tao is instrumental in solving a case dealing with plastic explosives; and Dr. Morales joins the squad for the entire investigation of a very personal mystery.

Since its chart-topping debut in 2012, Major Crimes has consistently ranked as one of TNT’s most-watched drama series. For the first half of its fifth season, the show reached an average of 10 million viewers per episode across TNT’s multiple platforms and finished the third quarter of 2016 ranking as one of cable’s Top 10 dramas with adults 18-49. Stemming from TNT’s hit original The Closer, many of the cast members have been playing their roles since 2005 and will hit their 200th episode together during the finale.

Created by James Duff, Major Crimes is produced by The Shephard/Robin Company and Walking Entropy, Inc., in association with Warner Bros. Television. James Duff, Greer Shephard & Michael M. Robin, Rick Wallace, Adam Belanoff, Mike Berchem and Duppy Demetrius serve as executive producers.

Major Crimes Season 5 Gets Expanded Episode Order

blue cast promoTNT has announced that the episode order for this season of Major Crimes has been increased by 8 episodes, to a total of 21 episodes for the 5th season of the series.

The extension comes a week after Major Crimes premiered to strong ratings, coming in as the 3rd Most Watched Cable Series of the week for its premiere episode. has learned exclusively that the original 13 episodes that were ordered for this season will air as a whole this summer; the additional 8 episodes will air later in the year, but no word yet if they will be set around the holidays, or if, like in season 4, they may debut in winter 2017.


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

By M. Sharpe

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

Video: Major Crimes Season 5 – First Promos Revealed!

Major Crimes returns in just 5 weeks, and we have your first look at the brand new promos for the upcoming season, premiering Monday, June 13 at  the brand new time of 10pm/9c on TNT!



Promo #3

Thanks to our friends at AUSXIP for sharing this video with us!

Major Crimes Gets Season 5 Return Date and New Time Slot

MCs5TNT today announced the return date for Major Crimes, and a new time slot for the series fifth season.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Major Crimes season 5 will premiere on Monday, June 13, 2016 on TNT. For the first time since its series premiere, the show will be moving to 10pm, following the final season of Rizzoli and Isle at 9pm. has reached out to TNT for comment, and will update this story as more information is available.

From the TNT Press release:

Major Crimes – Season 5 Premiere: Monday, June 13, at 10/9c

Major Crimes centers on a special unit of Los Angeles Police Department detectives responsible for investigating high-profile crimes. The series features a stellar ensemble cast headed by two-time Oscar® nominee Mary McDonnell as Captain Sharon Raydor. Also starring are G.W. Bailey as Lieutenant Provenza, Tony Denison as Lieutenant Andy Flynn, Michael Paul Chan as Lieutenant Mike Tao, Raymond Cruz as Detective Julio Sanchez, Phillip P. Keene as tech expert and reserve officer Buzz Watson, Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, Jonathan Del Arco as Dr. Morales and Robert Gossett as Assistant Chief Russell Taylor. In addition, Graham Patrick Martin stars as Rusty Beck, a formerly homeless teen who was adopted by Captain Raydor in the third season.

Major Crimes returns with more mysteries in its fifth season as the squad sets out to solve some of the worst and most challenging homicides in America’s second largest city. Whether it involves hunting for a missing teenage girl who vanished while helping the homeless, hunting down the killer of a potentially dirty cop, following up on an ISIS-related beheading in an isolated corner of Los Angeles, or putting back together a body burnt to cinders in an Elysian Park grilling pit, the investigators strive to return balance to the scales of justice. This season, Sharon also strives to push her adopted son, Rusty, through college while figuring out where she wants to go in her ongoing romance with Andy Flynn; Julio Sanchez decides to try to adopt a child himself; Provenza develops some sensitivities related to his new marriage to Patrice (recurring guest star Dawnn Lewis); Buzz Watson picks up where the LAPD left off on their murder investigation of his father and uncle 30 years ago; Mike Tao wins an award for his work as a Hollywood consultant; and Amy Sykes confronts whether she wants to have children or stay focused on her career.

In season four, Major Crimes reached an average of 10.3 million viewers per episode across TNT’s linear, mobile and digital platforms. The series is produced by The Shephard/Robin Company and Walking Entropy, Inc., in association withWarner Bros. Television. James Duff, Greer Shephard & Michael M. Robin, Rick Wallace, Adam Belanoff, Mike Berchem and Duppy Demetrius serve as executive producers.