Monday, July 1, 2013

The Closer and Major Crimes Facebook Chat with James Duff & G.W. Bailey

James Duff, executive producer and creator of Major Crimes and The Closer, did a Facebook chat with G.W. Bailey (Provenza) tonight. It was fun and fast. 

There were so many comments it was impossible to keep up (you can see it for yourself on the Major Crimes FB page). I did my best to recap the chat below. In most cases, it was too hard to find the question that went along with the answers. Duff did an excellent job of recapping the question in the answers so I don't think you'll get too lost. These aren't in order, but I did put the question I asked first... 

Deborah L: Where did you get the original idea for The Closer? Do you have consultants from LAPD helping with the show? How does that work?

James Duff @Deborah L, I came up with the idea for The Closer from former D.A. Gil Garcetti, who's a technical adviser on the show. He told me the best thing the police could do was give him an airtight confession that would hold up in court!

James Duff As for the LAPD, we have one of their finest detectives, Mike Berchem, ret. from Robbery/Homicide as a writer on the show. See my blog in this space for more details!

Here is the first two paragraphs of James Duff’s blog on Detective Mike Berchem. For the rest, go like his Facebook page

“I, Witness”
By now, long time viewers of The Closer and Major Crimes have become familiar with the special relationship enjoyed by Lts. Flynn and Provenza. In fact, their friendship often defines both men, especially when they find themselves in trouble, as happens in this Monday’s episode.

But before we begin that conversation, I should give credit to my own friend and partner in crime writing, Det. Mike Berchem (ret.), formerly of the LAPD’s elite Robbery/Homicide Division. We met on the pilot of The Closer and, “Det. Mike,” as he is affectionately known around our offices, quickly moved from technical adviser to the writer’s room, where his wealth of personal experience proves invaluable. “I, Witness” is from Det. Mike’s own library of true crime stories, and it makes for a remarkable tale. Here’s how it begins.

Now back to the other answers: 

@April, in point of fact, Sharon is already Rusty's parent for all intents and legal purposes, per the State code of California. Legal adoption is less likely, but possible. Lots of things can become more possible as the season unwinds...

@Menda, GW on what it's like to work with the cast: "It's a gift. With one obvious exception. That Italian actor with an Irish name. Also plays a Lt. What's his name. From Crime Story.

@Seth W. I can't let the Lieutenants get a promotion because, in the LAPD, promotions come with transfers!
And I'm not transferring the actors out of the show.

@Ilona A. Sharon doesn't go to Crime Scenes as often because, in real life, the boss doesn't have to do that! Sharon is a detective but she's also an administrator, who takes those duties very seriously. Besides, GW handles the squad very well at crime scenes. We actually started this division back in The Closer some. GW thinks it should have begun in 2008.

@JonathanC, we're currently about two months ahead of shooting in breaking stories, but we're about five months ahead in knowing what happens to our leading characters.

@LizaJ Some of the best moments behind the scenes with the crew include all the time we raise money for The Sunshine Kids, the charity GW runs for children fighting cancer, giving them opportunities to attend fun events with other kids like themselves. Aside from that, for example, most of the cast and crew were just at Dodger's Stadium last Saturday hanging out together.

@ CarrieS: Yes, Tom Berenger is coming (to play Raydor's husband) and GW says about Tom, who we worked with in Rustler's Rhapsody, that he plans on working with him at least every twenty-nine years

Despina: Any chance to see Raydor's kids?

 @Despina there is a chance we'll see Raydor's kids, maybe this winter. But we have three eps with Tom first!

GW Bailey answered this question: We happen to be the same age. Provenza and I also look a lot alike. And our taste in women is pretty much the same. Probably because we are exactly the same guy, except Provenza pulls people over for not using their turning signal and I can't do that.

@Vanne, it's much different creating storylines with Sharon as opposed to Brenda. Brenda was married and disinterested in having children; Sharon, at heart, is a mom. And they have different attitudes toward policy, which causes problems. Brenda mowed over the rules; Sharon creates them!

@Nathalia, warming up Sharon's character has been the job of Rusty Beck, and Graham and Mary's scenes are some of the most emotional in the show.

@River, we are doing a season about identity issues. I did an interview on this subject with AfterElton. Not trying to be coy about it, but Rusty has the same problems lots of young people have when dealing with his sexual orientation.

@Richard O., Sharon will have an opportunity to draw her gun again next week!

As hard as the death penalty is on law enforcement, it is even harder on those individuals required to devote decades of their lives as witnesses for the prosecution. I am not taking a political stand on this issue, just relating the facts as they are on the ground. Rusty dramatizes just what we expect from witnesses in criminal trials. He will continue to do that.

And then most of the cast and some of the producers were at the inauguration of Eric Garcetti last night! We are proud that the guy who played the mayor on our show is now actually the real mayor of LA.

James says: "They are a lot alike because I have known G.W. since I was fifteen, and was anxious to show how brilliant he was. And I have gone a long way toward succeeding! Actually, he can do more stuff than I can put on the show, but I'm trying to keep up with him!"

@Heather, shows about the criminal justice system almost always stop when the killer is caught and punished. Hardly ever do we get a chance to detail what happens to witnesses in this process.

But I will say Philip Stroh is a gift that keeps on giving

@Cathi, G.W. first began wearing the bucket hat because he was on antibiotics, and the doctor said "No sun!" I thought it was because he couldn't allow real light into his coffin!

But we liked the hat, and after he got better we kept it.

@Andrea C., G.W. says we had better see more of Provenza's home life before we go over to the D.A.'s office. And that they can work out of the Murder Room next to his desk, especially if they are smart, attractive, single and open to older men.

@Shirley, I can't give away Rusty's living arrangements, unfortunately, but I can tell you he will testify before our winter season is over.

@Matthew, Not only will Provenza never retire, he doesn't have to, because the LAPD has no retirement age. Their are detectives on the force much older than Provenza, still doing amazing jobs.

@Rosemary, Do you really think I could answer a question about a favorite character?!?!?! I might as well kill myself.

Thank you James Duff and G.W. Bailey. 

Last year right before the last episode of The Closer, James Duff sent out a letter about the show. You can read it here.

I watched G.W. Bailey at Mardi Gras as he was Grand Marshal of the Bacchus parade. Tony Denison was also on his float. See the photos of the float and G.W. Bailey's special doubloon here


  1. You've got me hooked on The Closer and I am on season 6 so this is probably the next show.

  2. I like major crimes. It took me awhile to get into it but i like it now. I like provenza. Please tell me why provenza wears the hat. I read that it is due to a medical condition. Why doesn't he just say why in an episode? I really don't like rusty. He reminds me of john osbourne's 'last angry man'. I wish he was just written out of the series or he has a major attitude overhaul. It is a good series.