Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Major Crimes" Series Overview, Cast Photo, Cast & Production Character Bios

Photo Credit: Karen Neal

TNT Press Release

TNT's All-New Series Major Crimes
Stakes Out New Territory with Familiar Faces

New Drama Series to Air Mondays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) after Launching Aug. 13 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
In the Wake of The Closer's Series Finale

TNT's all-new drama series Major Crimes is ready to take television's favorite squad of detectives into bold new territory. Two-time Oscar® nominee Mary McDonnell stars in the series, continuing her Emmy-nominated role from The Closer. Joining her are fellow Closer veterans G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz and Phillip P. Keene, along with guest stars Robert Gossett and Jon Tenney. The series also stars Graham Patrick Martin as a homeless juvenile whose character will be introduced in the final episode of The Closer, and Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, an ambitious undercover police detective and military veteran who served in Afghanistan.

Major Crimes is slated to premiere Monday, Aug. 13, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), immediately following The Closer's series finale. The show will then move to its regular Monday 9 p.m. (ET/PT) timeslot.

As the new series opens, the detectives in the Los Angeles Police Department's Major Crimes division are still reeling from the departure of Brenda Leigh Johnson and the realization that Captain Raydor is now in charge. Unlike their previous chief, Raydor is determined to lead the department with a more team-oriented approach, sharing the credit with the people with whom she works. Raydor's hardest job, however, will be gaining the full trust and confidence of her detectives, who aren't quick to forget her long history of internal investigations targeting them and their previous boss. Especially troublesome is Provenza, who has a difficult time taking orders from someone he doesn’t think knows as much as he does.

"Major Crimes will feel very comfortable to fans of The Closer," says executive producer and creator James Duff. "We are not only keeping many of the same cast members but also shooting and editing the show in much the same way. And there will still be a lot of that great banter between characters, especially between Raydor and Provenza."

While The Closer's focus has been on the lead character's uncanny ability to secure airtight confessions from suspects, Major Crimes will center on what it takes to secure an airtight conviction. The show will explore how the police and prosecutors work together to build a solid case that will result in a suspect confessing, signing a plea agreement, or being found guilty in a court of law.

"Despite its connections to The Closer, Major Crimes is very much its own show," Duff continues. "This new series allows us to explore these characters in new and exciting ways, especially as they begin to interact more with the District Attorney's office in order to build airtight cases. We also have the opportunity to see a different side of Captain Raydor as she deals with significant changes in her life both inside and outside the job."

Major Crimes is produced by The Shephard/Robin Company, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The Closer's James Duff, Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin serve as executive producers on the new series.

About Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television (WBTV) has been one of the entertainment industry’s most-respected providers of original primetime programming since its founding in 1955. For 2011–12, WBTV is producing nearly 30 primetime series, with at least three shows on each of the five broadcast networks, in addition to cable’s TNT, Adult Swim and Showtime. WBTV’s continuing series include TV’s #1 comedy in Two and a Half Men and the 2010–11 season’s #1 comedy among total viewers in The Big Bang Theory, as well as Chuck, The Closer, Fringe, Gossip Girl, Harry’s Law, The Mentalist, The Middle, Mike & Molly, Nikita, One Tree Hill, Shameless, Southland, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and Childrens Hospital, among others. New series include comedies 2 Broke Girls, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, Little in Common, Suburgatory, Work It and Are You There, Chelsea?, along with one-hour dramas Alcatraz, Hart of Dixie, Major Crimes, Person of Interest and The Secret Circle.

About TNT
TNT, one of cable’s top-rated networks, is television’s destination for drama. Seen in 99 million households, the network is home to such original series as The Closer, starring Emmy® winner Kyra Sedgwick; Rizzoli & Isles, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander; Falling Skies, starring Noah Wyle; Franklin & Bash, with Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer; Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton; and Southland, from Emmy-winning producer John Wells, as well as the upcoming series Major Crimes, Dallas, Perception and The Great Escape. TNT also is the cable home to powerful dramas like The Mentalist, Bones, Supernatural, Las Vegas, Law & Order, CSI: NY, Cold Case and, starting this year, Castle; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards®; blockbuster movies; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR, the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. TNT is available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

MAJOR CRIMES Cast Biographies

Mary McDonnell
Captain Sharon Raydor

Mary McDonnell is renowned for her work in film, television and theatre. As a two-time Oscar®-nominee, McDonnell has transformed both period and present-day screen roles into dynamic character portrayals.

McDonnell’s first Oscar nomination was a Best Supporting Actress nod for her portrayal of Stands with a Fist, a white woman raised by the Sioux in Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves. She also received her first of two Golden Globe nominations for her performance. McDonnell garnered a Best Actress Academy Award® nomination and Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of a paraplegic soap-opera star in John Sayles’ critically acclaimed Passion Fish, a story portraying the relationship between a woman and her taciturn caretaker.

Some of the films in McDonnell’s extensive filmography include acclaimed cult film Donnie Darko; Nola with Emmy Rossum; two Lawrence Kasden films, Grand Canyon and Mumford; Roland Emmerich’s Sci-Fi blockbuster Independence Day, with Bill Pullman and Will Smith; William Friedkin’s Blue Chips, with Nick Nolte; and Sneakers, with Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier and Ben Kingsley.

Last year, McDonnell appeared in the critically acclaimed award-winning Margin Call, a behind-the-scenes look at an investment bank over a 24-hour period right before the financial crisis, where she had a pivotal cameo role opposite Kevin Spacey. And Scream 4, which took moviegoers back to Woodsboro for more terror, McDonnell portrayed Sidney Prescott’s aunt Kate.

McDonnell received outstanding reviews for her portrayal as President Laura Roslin in the Peabody Award-winning series Battlestar Galactica. McDonnell also garnered an Emmy nomination for her recurring guest role on the television series ER. Some of her other television credits include TNT’s adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The American Clock; the CBS series High Society and the critically acclaimed television movies Behind the Mask and Two Small Voices. She also co-starred on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Virginia Dixon, a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon battling Asperger’s Syndrome.

McDonnell began her career in theatre and has starred in a wide variety of both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. She received an Obie Award for her performance in Emily Mann’s Still Life and has starred in such Off-Broadway productions as Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child, John Patrick Shanley’s Savage in Limbo, John O’Keefe’s All Night Long, Michael Cristofer’s Black Angel, Kathleen Tolan’s A Weekend Near Madison, Paula Cizmar’s Death of a Miner and Dennis McIntyre’s National Anthem. Her Broadway credits include Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke, Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles and Emily Mann’s Execution of Justice.

G.W. Bailey
Lieutenant Provenza

G.W. Bailey, who plays the cantankerous Lieutenant Provenza on TNT's hit series The Closer, has a career that spans four decades and is packed with memorable and distinctive characters. A native Texan, he began his training at Texas Tech University and started his professional career at the prestigious Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Ky.

Bailey later moved to Los Angeles, where he started his television career in a string of guest-starring roles on episodic series, in addition to continuing his stage work. He later played a recurring role on M*A*S*H as well as regular roles on The Jeff Foxworthy Show and St. Elsewhere. Bailey also starred in several TV miniseries, such as the award-winning Double Crossed and The Siege at Ruby Ridge.

Bailey’s feature career began with the film Police Academy and flourished with starring roles in such movies as Mannequin, Short Circuit, Burglar and Rustler’s Rhapsody, among others. He returned to academia in the mid 1990s and graduated from Texas State University in 1994. Upon graduation, he remained at Texas State and served as artist-in-residence for several years, working occasionally in Hollywood and on the stage in New York.

Bailey’s true passion is his work with The Sunshine Kids Foundation, where he serves as the Executive Director. Sunshine Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to children with cancer. Established in 1982, the foundation is committed to providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients and their families.

Tony Denison
Lieutenant Andy Flynn

In addition to his role on THE CLOSER, Tony most recently completed shooting the feature film Trattoria, in which he plays a chef who starts to recognize what is really important in life. He has also formed a production company with friend and partner Joel Bess called Jucilian Productions.

With New York stage credits under his belt, Tony Denison made his momentous television debut starring in Michael Mann’s critically acclaimed drama Crime Story as Ray Luca. He received a fistful of kudos, including recognition from Time magazine as television’s best villain of the 1980s.

Denison has appeared in more than two-dozen motion pictures, including Art of Revenge and Little Vegas. He was recently cast as Ed Reilly in The Obama Effect directed by and starring Charles Dutton. In addition to Crime Story, Denison has an impressive list of starring roles on series, that includes a special episode arc on Wise Guy, Under Cover, Love and Marriage, The D.A., Playmakers and Prison Break, as well as notable guest-starring roles on such shows as CSI, Criminal Minds, Boston Legal, The District, J.A.G., Cold Case, The O.C., ER, NYPD Blue and Charmed.

Michael Paul Chan
Lieutenant Mike Tao

Michael Paul Chan grew up in Richmond, Calif., and was a musician in several Bay Area rock bands before becoming an actor.

Chan has more than 200 television and film credits, including The Insider, with Al Pacino and Russell Crowe; Spy Game, with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt; U.S. Marshals, with Tommy Lee Jones; Falling Down, with Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall; and the critically acclaimed adaptation of The Joy Luck Club. He has worked under the direction of legendary filmmakers Michael Mann, in Thief and Robbery Homicide Division, and Oliver Stone, in the third of his Vietnam trilogy, Heaven and Earth.

On television, Chan starred in Eddie Murphy’s animated television series The PJ’s, played a recurring role on Arrested Development and recently guest-starred on Bones and The Simpsons.

Raymond Cruz
Detective Julio Sanchez

In addition to playing Detective Julio Sanchez on TNT's hit series The Closer, Raymond Cruz has appeared in more than 30 feature films and has worked extensively in television, playing a wide range of characters. His work in films includes roles in Havoc with Anne Hathaway; Training Day, with Denzel Washington; Collateral Damage with Arnold Schwarzenegger; Alien 4: Resurrection with Sigourney Weaver; and Clear and Present Danger with Harrison Ford. Other notable films include The Last Marshal, The Rock, The Substitute, Out for Justice and Under Siege.

On television, Cruz has had recurring roles on My Name Is Earl, Breaking Bad, Day Break, The Division, 24 and Nip/Tuck. He has also guest starred on numerous hit shows, including CSI, CSI: Miami, NYPD Blue, The Practice, Star Trek, Boomtown and The X-Files. He recently won an Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work on The Closer.

Cruz also has an extensive stage background and is a recipient of the Drama Critics award.

Phillip P. Keene
Buzz Watson

Phillip P. Keene is excited to be reprising the role of videographer and surveillance expert Buzz Watson on TNT’s The Closer and the upcoming Major Crimes. His previous television experience includes hosting the series Home and making a guest appearance on the ABC limited series, The DA. He made his feature debut in the Tony Alda film, Role of a Lifetime.

Keene, who is fluent in Spanish and German, earned a degree in history/art history from UCLA and a pilot’s license before deciding to go into acting, taking classes from Howard Fine, Heidi Davis, Margie Haber and Tony Sepulveda. His hobbies include surfing, collecting Pan Am memorabilia and renovating older homes.

Kearran Giovanni
Detective Amy Skyes

Kearran Giovanni, is best known to television viewers for her role as Dr. Vivian Wright on One Life to Live. She has also been seen on Law and Order and Royal Pains.

Giovanni, who hails from Katy, Texas, has spent the better part of her career on Broadway. She most recently starred alongside High Jackman in the award-winning show Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway. She is currently preparing to reprise Marion Cotillard's role as Josephine in the Broadway musical Big Fish: A Musical of Mythical Proportion, in which she will co-star opposite Michael C. Hall.

A graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Giovanni was nominated for an Astaire Award for her work in Guys and Dolls. She has also starred in such shows as The Lion King, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sweet Charity, Tarzan, Finian's Rainbow, Catch Me if You Can and Anything Goes.

Graham Patrick Martin
Rusty Beck

Graham Patrick Martin was born in Thibodaux, La. He attended French Woods Festival for the Performing Arts in Hancock, N.Y., in the summer of 2000, where he first appeared on stage as Louis in The King and I.

Back in Louisiana, Martin signed up for an after-school drama program and performed lead roles in such productions as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Huckleberry Finn and William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. While participating in the program, he went on to perform in four other Shakespeare plays.

In 2003, Martin auditioned for his first professional stage role and was cast as Young Ebenezer and Cratchit Child #2 in Christopher Durang’s Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, for which he was nominated for Best Performance by a Child Actor Award at the 2004 Big Easy Awards. In 2004, he played the role of Chips in Tennessee Williams’ A House Not Meant to Stand.

Martin has performed in more than 24 stage productions, landing lead roles as Danny Zuko in Grease, Bugsy in Bugsy Malone, Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls and other featured roles like Rum-Tum Tugger in Cats, Young Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees, Bill Sykes in Oliver and Kenny in Fuddy Meers.

Martin made his feature film debut in Jack Ketchum’s Girl Next Door and has guest-starred on such series as Law and Order: Criminal Intent, iCarly, Jonas, Good Luck Charlie and Love Bites. He earned a Young Artist Award for his performance on the TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. He has also played a recurring role in Two and A Half Men and was a series regular in Monster of the House.

Special Guest Stars

Jon Tenney
FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard

Jon Tenney’s professional career includes extensive work on stage, as well as in feature films and television. He launched his TV career with a guest-starring role on Murphy Brown and has been a series regular on several shows. He has also had recurring roles on CSI and Will & Grace.

Tenney can be seen in one of the year’s most anticipated films, the comic-book action flick Green Lantern, with Ryan Reynolds. He also recently co-starred in Legion, opposite Dennis Quaid, Paul Bettany and Tyrese Gibson; the thriller The Stepfather, with Sela Ward, Penn Badgley and Dylan Walsh; and the film adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole, with Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest.

Tenney has been successful on the big screen, beginning with his debut in Watch It, opposite Tom Sizemore, John C. McGinley and Peter Gallagher. He went on to appear in Fools Rush In, co-starring Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek, and Albert Brooks’ Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, the Western drama Tombstone and Oliver Stone’s Nixon.

For television, Tenney co-starred in the Showtime films Twilight of the Golds, co-starring Jennifer Beals, Faye Dunaway and Brendan Fraser, and Homecoming. He has also appeared on the series Crime & Punishment, Equal Justice and The Division.

Robert Gossett
Commander Taylor

Robert Gossett was born in the Bronx, and landed his first professional gig in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Mercer Arts Center in Greenwich Village. He went on to perform in Lloyd Richard’s Broadway production of Fences, Hal Scott’s production of A Raisin in the Sun and Donald McKayle’s production of The Last Minstrel Show. Other notable theater performances include Manhattan Made Me, Sons and Fathers of Sons, A Soldier’s Play and Colored People’s Time, all of which were performed with the famed Negro Ensemble Company of New York.

Gossett’s awards include the NAACP Theater Award for Best Performance by a Male and the Dramalogue Best Actor Award for his performance in Indigo Blues, directed by his wife, Michele Gossett. He also earned the LA Weekly Theater award for Washington Square Moves.

In film, Gossett has starred in Irwin Winkler’s The Net, alongside Sandra Bullock; Tim Hunter’s The Maker, with Matthew Modine; Arlington Road, with Jeff Bridges; White Man’s Burden, with John Travolta; The Spring in Her Step; and Flying By, with Heather Locklear and Billy Ray Cyrus.

MAJOR CRIMES Production Biographies

James Duff
Executive Producer/Creator/Writer

James Duff began his professional writing career with the Broadway drama Home Front, which was later re-titled The War at Home before having a successful worldwide run in London, Stockholm, Athens, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sydney. The play was made into a feature film starring Kathy Bates, Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Kimberly Williams and Carla Gugino. Duff’s play A Quarrel of Sparrows went from regional theater productions to off-Broadway’s Promenade Theatre and won a Dramalogue Award during its run in Los Angeles.

Duff has written three television films: Without a Kiss Goodbye, Betrayed: The Story of Three Women and Doing Time on Maple Drive, which earned him an Emmy® nomination. In series work, he has written and produced episodes for Popular, Felicity, Wolf Lake and The Agency. He also created and produced The Closer and the series The D.A. with Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin. In 2007 he was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award.

Additionally, Duff has written an episode of Enterprise, as well as four pilots: Long Island Fever, Texas Graces, 911 Fifth Avenue and The Travel Agency.

Greer Shephard
Executive Producer

A co-founder of The Shephard/Robin Company, Greer Shephard is former vice president of drama series programming for ABC. In that role, she supervised both drama development and current series programming.

Shephard began her television career in 1989 as a manager of comedy and drama development at Walt Disney Television. She joined ABC in 1991 as associate director of current series programming. She was promoted to director, dramatic series development, in 1993, and then elevated to vice president in 1995.

During her tenure at ABC, Shephard helped develop the Peabody Award-winning Nothing Sacred; the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning The Practice; Robert Altman’s Gun; Cracker; and Relativity. Shephard then served as a producer on Nothing Sacred and C-16 before launching The Shephard/Robin Company. She has since directed episodes of THE CLOSER, Nip/Tuck, Trust Me and State of Mind.

Michael M. Robin
Executive Producer/Director

Michael Robin has worked in the episodic television world for 15 years. In addition to awards at The Shephard/Robin Company, his accomplishments include two Emmys® and a nomination for Best Director. He has directed eight drama pilots, including THE CLOSER.

Robin started as a production assistant on the hit series L.A. Law, where he worked his way up to producer in the fourth season and later received an Emmy® for his work on the series. He then segued to Cop Rock as a producer, where he made his directorial debut. Robin continued directing as the supervising producer on Civil Wars, and he evolved into a co-executive producer on NYPD Blue. His four years of work on NYPD Blue earned him a second Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, in addition to a nomination for Outstanding Director for a Drama Series.

After an 11-year association with Steven Bochco, Robin struck out on his own to co-create, executive produce and direct multiple episodes of the ABC drama C-16, before partnering with Greer Shephard to launch The Shephard/Robin Company.

Rick Wallace
Executive Producer/Director

Rick Wallace began his professional career as the artistic director of Pegasus Productions, a theatre company in Los Angeles. He started directing television in 1981 on the much-acclaimed series Hill Street Blues, which began a long association with Steven Bochco that has led to six more series.

Wallace came to THE CLOSER as executive producer having directed five episodes over the first four years of the series. He has directed episodes of more than 35 other series and has won three Emmys® for Outstanding Drama Series. He was nominated twice for Outstanding Directing in a series. His directing credits include episodes of Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, Murder One, Smallville, Law & Order, Law & Order: S.V.U., Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Sleeper Cell. Wallace has served as an executive producer and director on such series as L.A. Law, City Of Angels, Philly, Peacemakers, Commander In Chief, Men In Trees and Women’s Murder Club. Wallace has directed seven television pilots, including Doogie Howser M.D. and The Pretender, which he also executive-produced.

Wallace lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.

Andrew J. Sacks

Academy Award® winner Andrew Sacks started his career as a project coordinator with Landmark Entertainment Group, helping to create a theme park in Oita, Japan. After returning to the United States, he began his work in television on the series Beverly Hills, 90210.

Sacks continued to work on several projects for Spelling, Touchstone and Warner Bros. Television. His feature credits include The Opposite of Sex; Shirley MacLaine’s directorial debut, Bruno; and Adaptation, directed by Spike Jonze. He has worked on several projects for The Shephard/Robin Company, including Brutality Normal, Elementary and Beck and Call, as well as co-producing the series The D.A with executive producer James Duff.

In 2004, Sacks won an Oscar® for producing the short film Two Soldiers. In 2005, he was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Sacks is a member of the Board of Directors for the Sunshine Kids Foundation. This non-profit organization, for which THE CLOSER cast member G.W. Bailey serves as Executive Director, serves children with cancer from all over the United States and Canada.

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