Monday, November 9, 2015

James Duff & Mike Berchem from #MajorCrimes Answer Fans Questions

James Duff, Executive Producer, of the TNT show Major Crimes was back tonight for his weekly in season chat with fans on Facebook. He was joined by Detective Mike Berchem who not only advises the writing staff on how LAPD works but now has joined the writing staff. You can find Duff's answers to those questions below, but before we get to that we had a couple of other updates this week. 

You may have caught James earlier this week in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) with show star, Mary McDonnell, who plays Captain Sharon Raydor. If you missed it, you can find the AMA here.

And Rusty's video log, Identity: The Other Side of the Coin returned last week in the first episode of the winter series. You can see last week's entry below. Tonight after the show, TNT will release another entry on their Facebook page

And now for the recap...

Because Duff does such a great job recapping the questions, you'll only find the answers below. I've also removed any specific references to tonight's show for the benefit of those in other times zones and people who have it on their DVRs. 

James Duff Lorraine B asks if Malcom Jamal Warner will be returning this fall. He will!

James Duff Barbara C G wants to know if Sanchez is going to get a romance and I answered down below, but yes. He is getting a romance. This winter!

James Duff Ilona Arcari wants to know what Sharon means when saying she and Andy will be taking it slow. She means that, before she commits to a deeper relationship, she wants to be sure that.....she's not creating more problems than solutions.Our culture seems to promote instant sex. And I guess Sharon is saying that, for her, sex is the last piece of the puzzle. Having sex before you are sure about how much you like someone is not always the best recipe for a long term relationship. But I do not present myself as an expert on dating, just on Sharon.

James Duff Vicki N asks if the French aspect of Jack's story will affect Major Crimes down the line.

James Duff The blank page always scares me. And yet, somehow, I always try and fill it up.

James Duff Kathe Mazur has been playing Hobbs since season 4 of The Closer, and we love every episode in which she appears!

James Duff Sitting with me, by the way, is former LAPD Robbery/Homicide Detective, Mike Berchem. Berchem and I write a lot of stories together and do a lot of testing out murders on a white board. He also makes sure that we follow procedure and don't do things the police can't do...

James Duff Also Ron Marasco also gives us some added zip as Judge Grove, just like Steve Tom does when he wears the black robes.

James Duff Deborah Lacy asks how we know a scene is going to be compelling. One thing that helps is the read thru, where we sit with all the actors and speak the script out loud with the writers, producers, and guest cast. Read thrus give you great ideas of what's working and what's not. Also, auditions! Sometimes, when auditions for a character don't go well, you suddenly realize, "Wow. I really screwed up that scene!" Writer's can use the audition process to make the words better. Finally, when you get uncomfortable with how dark a story is getting, some time that tells you that you're on to something. But the truth is - as Evelyn David could tell you - there is no magic recipe.  One thing that will make your scene compelling is Garret Coffey. Garrett will be appearing as Slider most of the episodes.

James Duff Bridget E asks Det. Mike Berchem how the LAPD decides on rank and promotions. Promotions are almost entirely based on civil service exams, with experience playing some small part in getting to the test. And each division is allowed a certain number of promotions. Mike went through all these civil service tests before he got each of his promotions and transfers. Promotions are almost entirely based on civil service exams, with experience playing some small part in getting to the test. And each division is allowed a certain number of promotions.

James Duff Tiffany K notes that Sharon was more of a villain in The Closer but is now the heroine and leader. And was this a scary thing to try.It's always scary when you do a spin off. And equally frightening to replace characters you have loved and written for with growing confidence. But starting all over is the way of writers.

James Duff Emily L asks how we typically cast extras. There is a casting service devoted to people who want to be extras or play background.

James Duff I hear people asking for a bigger kiss between Sharon and Andy. Hold on a minute, guys! Some of their romance will happen off-screen. But I will take this opportunity to correct a complete and total misconception about how the LAPD treats these sort of relationships.

James Duff Evelyn David asks if Annie Potts will ever make it back. It's possible! This is Hollywood and Annie Potts played an astrologer!

James Duff Also, the LAPD has no retirement age. At all. And that explains Lt. Provenza... G W will probably hunt me down and hurt me for typing that.

James Duff And now, the mystery is going to play out without me. I'll stop interrupting your time with the show and we'll be back next week. And I'll have a special guest with me!

James Duff Thank you for joining us! Mike Berchem and I are grateful for your support!

Duff will be back next Monday on the Major Crimes Facebook page around 9pm ET and 6pm PT, so head on over to ask your question. In the meantime, you can follow Mystery Playground on twitter @mysteryplaygrnd or find us on Facebook

Last week's recap with Phillip Keene and James can be found here

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