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Tag Archive: Tony Denison


Major Crimes Season 4

It’s pretty rare–we’ve been able to watch the goings on at the LAPD of Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Lt. Flynn (Tony Denison), Lt. Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Assistant Chief Taylor (Robert Gossett), Detective Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), and Buzz (Phillip P. Keene) for eleven years now.  Bridging their exploits in The Closer and three seasons to Major Crimes, it’s just remarkable for any series to successfully marry a group of writers and a solid ensemble cast to continue to provide us with more to look forward to each year for eleven seasons.  Tonight, they’re all back, with Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell), Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco), Detective Sykes (Kearran Giovanni), and Rusty Beck (Graham Patrick Martin) rounding out the cast, as the fourth season of Major Crimes begins on TNT.

The bad news is that we hear the spin-off series featuring the S.O.B. (Strategic Operations Bureau) is officially off the table, with what would have been star Laurie Holden off on another series.  But look for Jon Tenney’s Fritz Howard to be back at least once this year, and the return of Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Jeri Ryan, and maybe even Tom Berenger.

Captain Raydor

The network has hinted that we can expect less of the Phillip Stroh threat after last year’s finale, and more of the Flynn and Raydor relationship, but better yet, a focus on Raymond Cruz’s Detective Sanchez as he finally must deal with his anger issues.

Here’s some quick previews of the season premiere:

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Major Crimes Flight Risk

The tenth season of the Major Crimes team that began with seven years of The Closer, led by Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Lee Johnson, and continued with two seasons of Major Crimes under Mary McDonnell’s Captain Sharon Raydor, begins tonight with Major Crimes Season Three.  If you haven’t been watching these two series you don’t really have time for a TV series binge before tonight’s season opener (although TNT will air a Season Two marathon beginning Monday morning at 1 p.m. Central/12 a.m. Eastern), but you can set your DVR and put it on your must-watch list and get caught up later this season.

Each member of Los Angeles’s Major Crimes squad is back: G.W. Bailey’s old school detective Lt. Louis Provenza, his able partner in fighting crime Tony Denison’s Lt. Andy Flynn, Michael Paul Chan’s tech savvy Lt. Mike Tao, Raymond Cruz’s Detective Julio Sanchez, who knows the neighborhoods of L.A. better than anyone, Phillip P. Keene’s evidence gatherer Buzz Watson, Kearran Giovanni’s Detective Amy Sykes, the newest member of the squad, as well as Graham Patrick Martin’s informant trying to be a regular kid Rusty Beck, Jonathan Del Arco’s Dr. Morales from the morgue lab, and Robert Gossett’s Assistant Chief Taylor, who helps keep them all on the right track.  And don’t forget G.W. Bailey tied for Best Actor in our own Best of 2013 end of year wrap-up last year.

"MAJOR CRIMES""Flight Risk" / Ep 301TNTPh: Tyler Golden

It’s arguably the best ensemble cast on television.

Here’s some quick promos from TNT for Season 3:

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Major Crimes cast Season 2

By C.J. Bunce

Breathtaking.  Gut-wrenching.  This week’s summer season finale of Major Crimes should underscore for any naysayers TNT’s decision last week to renew the series for a third season.  Major Crimes wrapped its eleventh episode of the second season this week with what may be the best dramatic episode of television this year.  Revealing the murders by a “poster boy” model of several innocent victims, the producers took us on a different path through the Major Crimes typical police turf to a place we didn’t really want to go.  Creepy and disturbing in the way Medium once revealed its violent crimes, the audience was left on the edge of their seats not for any grand climax but simply marveling at how each of the cast members aided in solving the crime.

A good balance of crimes of the week and the key thread of teenage informant Rusty kept this amazing 12th year of this ensemble cast fresh, intriguing, and impressive.  Newcomer Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) made us wonder if he will ultimately be around for his trial or whether he’ll skip out and run away, especially in light of a batch of harassing letters he is receiving that purport to be from The Closer carryover criminal Stroh.

Rios and Sanchez

The big shake-up this season—and the series thrives on shake-ups—was the entry of D.D.A. Emma Rios, played by Nadine Velazquez.  Velazquez is hard to read.  By all appearances she is playing Rios as an incompetent lawyer.  Rios is completely out of her element in nearly each episode as the team ends up in the autopsy room, as she tries to simply communicate with the detectives (poor Det. Sanchez), or operate in a courtroom.  Where last season we had doubts about Detective Amy Sykes (Kearran Giovanni), and before that even Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) herself toward the end of The Closer, this season Sykes fits right in and we’ve been on Raydor’s side for a long time now.  Rios?  Rios is painful to watch.  What do the writers have up their sleeves?  Are we supposed to hate her as we used to hate the scheming tactics of Assistant Chief Taylor (Robert Gossett)?  The bottom line is we’ve grown to like Raydor, and Taylor, and Sykes, so we’re taking it on faith that Rios will come through for us at some point.  She certainly keeps the crime squad on its toes.

A trilogy of episodes this season featured Tom Berenger as Captain Raydor’s semi-ex-husband Jack.  Berenger hasn’t been better and here he played a failed husband who also understood–and seemed to want to help–Raydor’s live-in Rusty in a way that Sharon noted was something he failed to do with his own kids.  Ultimately Sharon pushes Jack away, but we hope we see him in future episodes.

Jack and Sanchez in Major Crimes

One of the highlights of the season was the completely off-the-wall episode “There’s No Place Like Home,” with a variety of guest stars from classic TV including Tim Conway (McHale’s Navy, The Carol Burnett Show), Marion Ross (Happy Days), Ron Glass (Firefly, Barney Miller), Paul Dooley (Alf, Sixteen Candles, Grace Under Fire), and Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond, Remington Steele, Barney Miller).  The gritty, sometimes gory nature of the L.A. crimes in the series beg for more comedic episodes like this one.  We’re still holding out for the next episode featuring the comedic duo of Provenza (G.W. Bailey) and Flynn (Tony Denison).  We almost saw this as they were accused of bumbling a witness in the episode “I, Witness,” a fun episode that left the guys playing clean-up and catch-up.

Rusty’s fear and angst grew last week with the episode “Backfire,” as the Major Crimes squad pursued the murderer of a young woman who was an FBI informant. The FBI botched its protection of their witness, and as Rusty followed along at his normal after-school haunt he had more reason to believe neither he, nor those around him, are safe as he waits to testify against Stroh.

Major Crimes crew

Where will Rusty end up now that his friend Kris (Madison McLaughlin, Supernatural) has revealed his secret about the letters?

We’ve got a long wait to find out.  Major Crimes returns November 25, 2013, with the mid-season restart episode “Pick Your Poison.”

Major Crimes Season Two banner

TNT’s first season of Major Crimes was the surprise win of 2012.  It accomplished something very rare, taking a series–The Closer–that might otherwise have wound down after seven seasons, and used a change in cast to take the best ensemble cast on TV in a very different direction.  For fans of the series wanting to delve deeper into the decision to move the story of L.A.’s Major Crimes unit from a team bent on getting criminal admissions to settling cases, check out Major Crimes: The Complete First Season, available on DVD, next Tuesday, June 11, 2013.

The DVD set includes the ten season one episodes plus four behind-the-scenes features, deleted scenes showing some good acting by the cast that didn’t make the final cut, and a blooper reel.  The best of the features, “Major Crimes: Major Challenge,” examines the big hurdle for this spinoff series, and series creator/writer and executive producer James Duff reveals the challenges, rationale for story arcs, and casting decisions that resulted in the first season of Major Crimes.  Duff is open about the struggle the writers had, ultimately pulling the reality of national economic crises into the series as a key story element that grounded the first season episodes.  Here are three clips from Season One:

Series star Mary McDonnell and the rest of the cast discuss the characters in the feature “Crossing the Tape: Inside the Major Crimes Squad,” touching on Captain Raydor in particular.  Fans of the series actors cannot get enough of these types of interviews, and hopefully future season DVD sets include in-depth interviews with Lieutenant Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Lieutenant Flynn (Tony Denison), Lieutenant Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Detective Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), and Buzz (Phillip P. Keene).  This includes some insightful anecdotes, such as having show writers refer to Detective Tao instead as Mike to personalize the role and cut-through the possible stereotype of Michael Paul Chan’s character as just another Asian on TV.  Instead of focusing on featurettes tied to the characters from The Closer, the DVD set includes two features focusing on the new key roles: witness turned foster teen Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) and the too-eager-to-please Detective Sykes (Kearran Giovanni).

Major Crimes Complete First Season DVD

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Reviewed by C.J. Bunce

The first season of Major Crimes was better than the last season of The Closer.  It even had individual episodes that out-performed several episodes of the entire run of The Closer.  Since the production was working with pretty much the entire cast of The Closer sans the series lead, is that a commentary on Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Lee Johnson?  Heck no, but the freshman year of Major Crimes convinced me that The Closer picked the right time to end a good thing.  Major Crimes is a good series in its own right that should be judged on its own merits.  Yes, it has its faults, including some clunky writing in its season finale.  Yet considering it was set up for failure from almost the beginning of the last season of The Closer, Major Crimes surpassed the typically lackluster performance of any season one effort.

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