Monday, November 24, 2014

Major Crimes Facebook Chat Recap with James Duff, Jonathan Del Arco & Phillip Keene

James Duff, executive producer and co-creator of Major Crimes, returned to Facebook tonight to answer a multitude of audience questions about the show and tonight's winter premiere episode. He was joined by Phillip Keene (Buzz) and Jonathan Del Arco (Dr. Morales). Duff is always so generous with his time with fans -- from this letter he sent out before The Closer finale to his recent appearance at the Bouchercon mystery convention. Thank you, James! 

Onto tonight's recap. What did we learn:

  • Det. Julio Sanchez will be read his rights this season. (Now I am worried about him)
  • Duff says that as a writer everything is harder than he thinks it will be
  • Four of the nine episodes will have Jon Tenney as Agent Fritz Howard in them. He directs one. (We could see more of Jon Tenney if the Major Crimes potential spin off, SOB (Special Operations Bureau) gets picked up...But more on that later.
If you want to read more about the Major Crimes writing process and what might happen this season, check out this post and this one

At the end of the chat James wrote:

James Duff I wish I could thank each of you individually for being here, but we're all grateful for the time you take to spend with us. Next week, young love as two college students suffer a deadly attack with a pair of scissors. Awful! I couldn't turn away.

Can't wait until next week's episode...

The rest of the answers are below. As usual, I've removed any references to this specific episode. Because of the volume of questions, only James Duff's answers are included. He restates the questions in his answers so you can track all of the action. 

  • James Duff Marsha S asks why The Closer and Major Crimes have stayed successful and I don't know the answer to that, really, except that our audience has stayed so loyal.

    James Duff
    Kimberly B says she loves Provenza and would like to see him with another lady who could liven up his life.

    James Duff
    Provenza is about to meet someone who changes his life. Next week.

  • James Duff Kathe Mazur, who plays Hobbs, is one of my favorite actors in the world. She raises the tone of every room she enters.

  • James Duff
    And we work every year to tie her closer to the squad.

    James Duff
    Helen B asks why the LAPD would hire someone after they had a heart attack. As a rule, heart attacks do not necessarily disqualify people from work, especially in the era of modern medicine. But, in point of fact, LAPD officers get their physicals from their own doctors, who sign off on their health for work.

    James Duff
    Elle R that we put our show in real time. Including the birthday of the baby. Yes, we do it whenever we can for the sake of the people watching the show when it originally airs.

  • James Duff
    Those of you who show up for us when our episodes premiere: you deserve something extra!

    James Duff
    The LAPD has hundreds of reserve officers who work as patrol cops and detectives and terrorist experts.

    James Duff
    And Michael V also suggests that role of Buzz has grown and grown as the show has grown. Buzz will have even more to do, as he trains to be a reserve officer.
  • James Duff I don't know about that myself.

  • James Duff
    Phillip wants people who watch the show that the Rusty story effects him deeply, and that he thinks that's why the show has transitioned so well. Captain Raydor is the mother Rusty needed. And that relationship is so primal that people almost need to see it.

  • James Duff Jonathan Del Arco wants everyone to know he's better looking in person than Phillip is.

  • James Duff Phillip disagrees.

  • James Duff They argue about this a lot.

  • James Duff
    But we have an idea that we think will work really well for the end of the year.

  • James Duff Ilona A asks if we have selected the theme for next season. We're talking about it in private right now.

  • James Duff
    I don't want to say anything before I sit down with the writers again next week to begin our work on the fourth year.

  • James Duff
    Phillip P. Keene thinks the switch to Major Crimes offered him a chance to step up. And he's very proud of how all the actors from The Closer have gone on to do so much.

  • James Duff
    Jonathan Del Arco thinks the transition from The Closer to Major Crimes gave him an opportunity to do more. And to expand the work he was doing.

  • James Duff
    If I knew how hard something was going to be when I started, I would probably not try.

  • James Duff Pete W asks if the transition from The Closer to Major Crimes was harder than I thought it would be.

  • James Duff As a writer, I can tell you for sure that everything is harder than I think it will be.

  • James Duff As for titles, we try to find something that couples our theme with our mystery and uses a phrase you may have heard before, or a bit of lingo from law enforcement that fits the subject
  • James Duff Sometimes there's a clue in the title. Sometimes it's a mislead.

  • James Duff
    Usually, we talk about story for seven to ten days, writing it all down on white boards around the writer's room. And then the writer goes off for about three weeks and writes an outline. And then we take that outline and convert it into a script (in about two more days). And then we keep rewriting the script while it shoots.

  • James Duff So each story takes about nine weeks to complete. But we are doing several stories at once, so it mostly works out.

  • James Duff @Todd H (hi my friend!) asks how long it takes us to come up with stories and how we come up with the name.

  • James Duff We come in to work, hoping to do the very best job we can do.

  • James Duff We want to do new stories that you've never seen before. And to the extent we can achieve that, we feel lucky to be here.

  • James Duff
    If we have done anything out of the ordinary, it is only what most of you do every day.

    James Duff
    Michael V talks about how interesting Jonathan DelArco is on the show, which is absolutely true. He's been doing snarky/creepy autopsies for eight years!

    James Duff
    Lorraine B asks if Jon Tenney is coming back.
      James Duff Yes, he appears in four more episodes and directs one in our winter season!
  • James Duff Jon is now a Deputy Chief!

  • James Duff
    Teresa F wants to see more of Malcolm-Jamal Warner.

  • James Duff
    And so would we. Malcolm comes back in our last two episodes, when we also become reacquainted with Phillip Stroh.

    James Duff
    It's hard to keep a show from getting out to the public in this day and age

    James Duff
    I can't say too much more than that, except to mention that, at some point, Julio Sanchez will be read his rights...

James Duff and show writer Detective Mike Berchem

  • James Duff Del S asks Phillip about significant events that happen in Buzz's career. Yes, that happens this winter, in the finale involving Phillip Stroh.
  • James Duff We work so hard to make the show surprising in some way, and then I think people get overly excited when they learn something and spill the beans.

  • James Duff Phillip Keene, Kearran Giovanni, Graham Patrick Martin, Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan and Tony Denison all met G.W. Bailey in Florida this last week for a golf tournament raising money for the Sunshine Kids.

  • James Duff Jonathan and Mary both would have gone, but they don't golf!

  • James Duff I don't golf either.
  • James Duff Unless there's a windmill on the course.

  • James Duff But the actors like the other actors on our show!

    James Duff
    I'll be back here next week and I will bear in mind that you all want Hobbs, Morales, Buzz and Tao to go out and get a drink together one night!

    James Duff
    Phillip P. Keene says he hopes you all stay to the end and Jonathan thanks you for coming back to chat with us at the beginning of our new season.

    James Duff
    We hope to do nineteen episodes in season four, but right now, we are only being ordered for fifteen. That could change after we begin breaking stories.

    James Duff
    Of course, we don't ever begin with an order for nineteen. Only fifteen.

    James Duff
    It takes a lot of time to write, shoot, edit and mix every episode we do, not to mention the effort the cast has to go through to memorize and perform it all.

  • James Duff Grace E asks why we only have eight episodes. We are actually airing nine episodes.

  • James Duff At some point in the process, we run out of time to finish episodes and get them to air in consecutive order.

  • James Duff So we take a break to make enough 
  • episodes to show in a row and keep you interested.

  • James Duff Jonathan Del Arco says he uses medical consultants when the show hires them, and Wikipedia when they don't.

    James Duff
    I don't expect privacy in my life anymore. And I'm just one person! So how you maintain privacy on a project with two-hundred-and-fifty people working on it: I don't know.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read the AH magazine in years, thanks for the Major Crimes report. I forgot, sure hope my dvr didn't.