Monday, December 22, 2014

Major Crimes Facebook Chat with Writer, Kendall Sherwood

Kendall Sherwood, who wrote this week's episode, joined us for the Facebook chat tonight while James Duff took a well deserved break. I had the chance to meet Kendall back in November. She started out four years ago on Major Crimes as an intern and now she writes entire episodes. Kendall in the photo below, second from the right. 

She did a great job on the episode and the chat!

The the recap is below. As usual, I've removed any references to this specific episode that may be construed as a spoiler. Because of the volume of questions, only Kendal Sherwood's answers are included. She restated the questions in her answers so it all makes sense. 

Here we go:

Kendall Sherwood Hi guys! Thanks for tuning in! I’m afraid you’re stuck with me tonight as James is taking a well-needed vacation. With 19 episodes to produce, a short break over the holidays is all the time off he gets. Fire away with any questions!

Kendall Sherwood As a quick introduction, Season 3 is my first year writing for Major Crimes (my first episode was 306, “Jane Doe #38,” which featured the mysterious Alice) but I’ve been working on the Closer/Major Crimes for four years now. I started on the show as an intern.

Kendall Sherwood Megan E asks how we came up with the idea for Buzz to enter the reserve training program. To be honest - I can't remember! But it sure seems to bug Provenza, doesn't it...

Kendall Sherwood Helen L asks which character is my favorite to write for. I personally love Provenza. His perspective is so unique and his grumpy one-liners come easily to me. Not sure what that says about me...

Kendall Sherwood I want to point out that the director of this episode, the talented (and handsome) David McWhirter, also worked his way up the totem pole of The Closer/Major Crimes directorial staff. He is now one of our most relied-upon directors! Goes to show you how much the Major Crimes producers value their crew and provide opportunities to grow within the show.

Kendall Sherwood But did any of y'all hear about the Santa who robbed a bank in San Francisco just last week during a Santa pub crawl? A crazy coincidence - or maybe we're just that good at predicting a crime. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was Tony Denison or GW Bailey in disguise.

Kendall Sherwood Hope S asks how we got the idea to do a Santa flash mob. We got the idea from a real criminal who asked on Craigslist for people to show up in blue shirts, safety vests, and hardhats when he was planning to rob an armored car. He wore the same thing - and got away in the crowd!

Kendall Sherwood Del S asks if the writers have input in casting. We have a meeting early on to tell our casting directors what we're looking for. Then they come in for auditions. We aren't often too specific about looks for the actors. If it's not a story point, we just want the show to look as diverse as a city like Los Angeles is.

Kendall Sherwood By the way, the umbrella theme for our winter episodes is hope. This particular episode is about the hope for rebirth or reinvention. A new beginning. Definitely reflects what’s going on with Sharon’s family – and possibly with the relationship between Sharon and Andy, too. And if you were a slightly unhinged person, you might think robbing a bank was a good way to reinvent yourself, too. But you have to keep watching to figure out who that person might be...

Kendall Sherwood Mallory M points out that this episode shines a little light on gun control lines. We're not a political show - and we don't have any agenda - but I think that this episode demonstrates that sometimes a good guy carrying a gun can look like a bad guy.

Kendall Sherwood Another question from Mallory M: how long did it take to film the flash mob scene? It took about six hours, y'all. I'm not kidding. Our crew were absolute great sports and never complained a bit!

Kendall Sherwood Jeanna H asks where we should shoot a "Provenza on vacation" story. What do y'all think about Hawaii? I think I could handle Hawaii. If any other Major Crimes writers are reading this, I call dibs on that episode!

Kendall Sherwood Ilona Arcari asks about developments in the Alice story from "Jane Doe #38." Alice's story will be explored further in Season 4.

Kendall Sherwood Linda O asks if we script anything about the character's clothing. Almost never. But, actually, in this episode, someone will have an unexpected wardrobe change. That's all I'm gonna say!

Kendall Sherwood Pandora G asks if we have many bloopers and who is the biggest crack-up. Let's just say that GW Bailey often says things that TNT won't let us air at 9 o'clock. We have a blooper reel of him that would make you blush.

Kendall Sherwood Beverly H - Malcolm-Jamal Warner will be back soon! Not tonight, but keep watching this winter.

Kendall Sherwood Lots of you are asking about Sharon and Andy's developing relationship. I can't speak to the specifics but I think they have fantastic chemistry.

Kendall Sherwood The new question is: who is Provenza taking to Laguna Beach???

Kendall Sherwood Deborah Lacy asks about my favorite part of writing this episode. I think it'd have to be the opening. We usually open with the crime scene, as you know, so this was a refreshing change!

Kendall Sherwood Cheryl W asks if we work with crime scene forensics specialists for authenticity. We have two former detectives that work on our show: Mike Berchem, who I mentioned earlier, and Gary Milligan. Gary actually goes to every shoot and has a lot of input at the crime scene - spreading the blood, placing evidence markers, making sure everything is accurate. Mike B used to do that, but he ran out of time with all the writing.

Kendall Sherwood Ilona Arcari asks how many Santas we used in this episode. I honestly don't know - at least 50, I would guess. We utilized a real flash mob company – I didn’t even know those existed! – for the opening sequence. You can hire companies like theirs for your proposals, parties, parades, etc. They did an amazing job.

Kendall Sherwood Cathleen O asks about the next batch of episodes after this winter season. There are 4 more episodes of the winter season after tonight - some really great ones might I add. Then Season 4, which we are already busy breaking, will air in June! Not sure of the exact dates.

Kendall Sherwood Ilona Arcari asks about writing the whole Raydor family into one episode. She's write - we have both kids in this episode and it was an absolute charm. I love the family dynamic they share - especially now that we're folding Rusty into it. It's a complex thing.

Kendall Sherwood Deborah Lacy asks about how long it takes to write an episode. It's really a 3 step process. First, the entire writers room sits down and outlines the show - that takes between 5 and 8 days, depending. Then a single writer goes to work on making that that outline a full-fledged script - that usually takes about 3 weeks. Then another week or two is spent doing revisions based on the desires of the studio, the network, and our creator, James Duff. THEN we prep, shoot, and edit the thing! It takes awhile, y'all...

Kendall Sherwood Missy C asks if we get our ideas from real crimes. Much of the time, yes! I know James has talked about Det. Mike Berchem, retired, who is one of the 11 writers on our staff. He is invaluable and a lot of our stories are based on experienced he lived through.

Kendall Sherwood I have a hard time watching some parts of the show - I can't imagine living that life 24/7!

Kendall Sherwood Lorraine B asks about Sgt. Gabriel returning to Major Crimes. Corey Reynolds a very talented actor - and Gabriel was one of my personal favorites from The Closer - but I'm afraid he's busy with a film career. Maybe in the future!

Kendall Sherwood Isn’t Zarah Mahler as Emily Raydor remarkable? I feel like she, Ryan Kennedy (Ricky), and Mary really do look like they could be family.

Kendall Sherwood Next week’s episode is a heart-breaker written by Damani Johnson and directed by Fritz – I mean, Jon Tenney!

Kendall Sherwood Robin Brunt asks if this was my first baby - or my first episode. I co-wrote my first episode in the summer season ("Jane Doe #38") with Michael Alaimo, an amazing writer, mentor and friend. Look forward to another episode from him in two weeks!

To read a pre-season interviews with James Duff and crew, click herehere and here. To see the recap from last week, click here

Come back next week for another recap... 

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