Wednesday, May 22, 2013

“Major Crimes” Episode Synopses, Cast & Character Bios, Production Bios

TNT Press Release

TNT's Hit Drama Series Major Crimes Returns Monday, June 10
With Complex Cases and One of Television's Best Ensemble Casts

TNT's top-rated drama series Major Crimes is back on the case for a thrilling second season this summer. The elite team is back, headed by two-time Oscar nominee, Mary McDonnell as Los Angeles Police Captain Sharon Raydor, GW Bailey as Lieutenant Provenza, Tony Denison as Lieutenant Andy Flynn, Michael Paul Chan as Lieutenant Mike Tao, Raymond Cruz as Detective Julio Sanchez, Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, Phillip P. Keene as tech expert Buzz Watson, Robert Gossett as Assistant Chief Russell Taylor and Jonathan Del Arco as Dr. Morales. Graham Patrick Martin returns as Rusty Beck, the homeless teen and material witness taken in by Captain Raydor. This season, Nadine Velazquez joins the ensemble as Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios.

Major Crimes is set to kick off its second season Monday, June 10, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT), only on TNT. The series focuses on how the American justice system approaches the art of the deal as law enforcement officers and prosecutors work together to score a conviction.

As the second season opens, the Los Angeles Police Department's Major Crimes division immediately dives into some of the most challenging and fascinating crimes yet, including the murder of a big-time film producer’s wife, an apparent murder-suicide and a LAPD ride-along that leads to a startling discovery. Right when the squad seemed to be adjusting to last year's leadership change, a new Deputy District Attorney, Emma Rios (Velazquez), arrives to challenge Raydor's intentions and shake up the department. Torn between what is morally right and what the law commands, Raydor and her team are faced with more struggles than ever as they continue to make deals and crack cases.

With an audience of more than 7 million viewers in its first season, Major Crimes ranked as basic cable's #1 new series of 2012. Major Crimes also joined TNT’s The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles in ranking among basic cable’s Top 5 original series of the year.

Major Crimes is produced by The Shephard/Robin Company and Walking Entropy, Inc., in association with Warner Bros. Television. The Closer's James Duff, Greer Shephard, Michael M. Robin, and Rick Wallace serve as executive producers on the series. The show is produced by Andrew J. Sacks.

About TNT

TNT is television's destination for drama. Seen in 99 million households and ranking among cable's top networks, TNT is home to such original drama series as Rizzoli & Isles, Falling Skies, Dallas, Major Crimes, Perception, Franklin & Bash and Southland. The network also features dramatic unscripted originals like Boston's Finest and the upcoming 72 Hours and The Hero. In addition, TNT is the cable home to popular dramas like Castle, The Mentalist, Bones and Supernatural; 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.

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.

Season 2 Episode Synopses

"Final Cut" – Monday, June 10, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
The squad scrambles to garner a confession when the pregnant wife of a big-time film director is found murdered. Meanwhile, just as things seem to fall into place under Raydor’s leadership, new Deputy D.A. Emma Rios (new cast member Nadine Velazquez) challenges Raydor’s intentions as Rusty’s guardian.

Directed by Roxann Dawson
Written by Leo Geter
Created by James Duff

"False Pretenses" – Monday, June 17, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
A complex murder-suicide case has the department reeling. Meanwhile, when Rusty receives a mysterious and threatening letter Emma demands that he be relocated. Torn between her desire to protect Rusty and professional duty to the case, Raydor is forced to seriously consider Emma’s request.

Directed by Arvin Brown
Written by Michael Alaimo
Created by James Duff

"Under the Influence" – Monday, June 24, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
A meddling television writer-producer (guest star Ben Feldman) accompanies Sanchez and Tao on a ride-along so he can get an inside look at the LAPD. But what starts out as a simple outing quickly gets out of hand. And Rusty employees some unfair help when his teacher makes him re-write an essay.

Directed by David McWhirter
Written by Duppy Demetrius
Created by James Duff

"I, Witness" – Monday, July 1, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
The LAPD flies a material witness into Los Angeles to testify, but in a horrible turn of events their witness winds up as the key suspect in an entirely new murder. Personal and professional stress takes a toll on Flynn. And the squad takes bets when Rusty brings a girl from class to hang out with him at the department.

Directed by Steve Robin
Written by Adam Belanoff
Created by James Duff

"D.O.A " – Monday, July 8, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
The squad investigates a brutal murder, but they soon find that dark secrets are at the root of an apparent drug bust gone wrong. Meanwhile, Raydor’s estranged husband of 25 years, Jack Raydor (guest star Tom Berenger) returns to Los Angeles to work as a court-appointed attorney. Charming and charismatic, Jack becomes fast friends with Rusty but Sharon continues to remain wary.

Directed by Paul McCrane
Written by Ralph Gifford & Carson Moore
Created by James Duff

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 and new series Major Crimes, 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 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

Award-winning actor Tony Denison joined the cast of TNT's #1-rated The Closer as Det. Andy Flynn in 2005. The follow-up series, Major Crimes, picks up where The Closer left off premiered to an audience of 9.5 viewers making it basic cable’s biggest new series launch ever.

He has received a Prism Award by the Entertainment Industry Council for Outstanding Performance in a Drama Series and five Screen Actors Guild Award® nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Denison stars as a San Francisco Chef in the soon-to-be-released feature film Trattoria, co-starring Gossip Girl’s John Amedori and featuring celebrity chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Traci Des Jardins. He is a culinary aficionado who makes a delicious French toast Italian-style with ricotta cheese and a mean eggplant parmesan.

Denison made his television debut as Ray Luca in Michael Mann’s critically acclaimed drama Crime Story. He received a fistful of kudos, including Time Magazine’s recognition as Television's Best Villain of the Decade. He also received applause for his portrayal of the infamous John Gotti.

Denison has appeared in more than two-dozen motion pictures, with Columbia Tri Star’s Art of Revenge and Joel Bender's independent feature Deadly, Little Vegas. Following Crime Story is an impressive list of dozens of television appearances that include notable guest-starring roles on such shows as CSI, Criminal Minds, Boston Legal, Prison Break, The District, J.A.G., Cold Case, The O.C., ER, NYPD Blue and Charmed. He formed a production company with friend and partner Joel Bess called Jucilian Productions.

Denison’s is dedicated to helping others whenever possible and donates his spare time to The Sunshine Kids Foundation, which makes dreams come true for chronically ill and physically challenged youths and is headed up by his co-star, G.W. Bailey. Denison is a sought out motivational speaker and frequent guest on talk shows.

Michael Paul Chan
Lieutenant Mike Tao

Approaching four decades in the entertainment industry, Michael Paul Chan has worked with most of the top professionals in Hollywood with over 300 episodes of television and 35 feature films.

Chan has worked with directors Michael Mann, Oliver Stone, Tony Scott, Michael Crichton, Joel Schumacher and Richard Donner to name just a few.

Chan has also worked opposite such Academy Award-winning actors as Al Pacino, Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Jodi Foster.

Raymond Cruz
Detective Julio Sanchez

In addition to playing Detective Julio Sanchez on TNT's hit series The Closer and Major Crimes, 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 currently reprising the role of videographer and surveillance expert Buzz Watson on TNT’s The Closer follow-up Major Crimes. His previous television experience includes hosting the series Home and making a guest appearance on the ABC limited series The D.A. He made his feature debut in the Tony Alda film Role of a Lifetime.

Keene, who also speaks 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. In February 2013, Phillip put his extensive collection of PanAm memorabilia on exhibit at Modernism Week in Palm Springs. His other hobbies include surfing and renovating older homes.

Kearran Giovanni
Detective Amy Skyes

Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Giovanni spent half of her childhood in the heart of the Cajun culture, while the rest of her formative years were spent in the small town of Katy, Texas. Her father is the former Vice President of Haliburton Offshore Drilling, while her mother was a special education teacher. As a young girl, Giovanni shined as a track runner and gymnast until she fell in love with dance at age 14 which led her to apply to The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After graduation, Giovanni attended the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio to pursue a career in dance, but soon realized that her true passion was in musical theatre.

In 2004, she moved to New York where she joined the cast of The Lion King for an eight-month run. Her debut was just the beginning, as she went on to star in several Broadway productions, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, Anything Goes, Tarzan, Finian's Rainbow and Catch Me If You Can. She made her leading lady debut portraying the role of Helene in Sweet Charity and was nominated for an Astaire Award for her work in Guys & Dolls. In 2009, she landed a role on the Daytime Emmy®-winning series One Life to Live as Vivienne Wright, the love interest of Shaun Evans (Sean Ringgold). In early 2013, Giovanni guest starred on the CW’s Beauty & the Beast in the role of Miranda Bishop the supportive yet elusive wife of Police Captain Joe Bishop (Brian White).

Having recently relocated to Los Angeles, Giovanni spends her free time with her family: husband Philip Ambrosino, two daughters and Neo, their long-haired Chihuahua. She refers to herself as the "Activities Queen" because any free time she has is spent on family outings, which include trips to museums, zoos or concerts.

Giovanni is actively involved with the Sunshine Kids Organization which was founded by Major Crimes cast member and friend G. W. Bailey and is dedicated to providing extensive, fun programs and events to children receiving cancer treatments across America. She is especially active in The Lupus Foundation, as her mom succumbed to the autoimmune disorder. Additionally, her mother’s commitment to teaching ignited Giovanni’s philanthropic passion for ‘The Special Olympics,’ of which she is an active supporter and continues to be a staunch advocate for community service, dance programs and art projects that are centered on helping children.

Graham Patrick Martin
Rusty Beck

Graham Patrick Martin is starring in the indie film Somewhere Slow, which recently screened at Cinequest Film Festival, Omaha Film Festival, and the Vail Film Festival. Graham is also starring as Anna Nicole Smith's tragically-doomed son in the Lifetime movie The Anna Nicole Story, opposite Martin Landau, Cary Elwes, and Agnus Bruckner, airing in June on Lifetime.

Martin has recurred on the last three seasons of the smash hit Two and A Half Men, alongside both Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher, playing the son of Courtney Thorne-Smith and the best friend of Angus T. Jones.

Martin was born in Thibodaux, LA. At the age of 8, he attended French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts summer camp, where he began his acting career on the stage. He has since performed in over 25 musical and dramatic stage productions.

In 2003, Martin was cast in his first professional role 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 Big Easy Awards. In 2004 he played a supporting role in Tennessee Williams' A House Not Meant to Stand.

Martin relocated to New York City in 2005, where his focus shifted from theatre to film and television. Initial commercial work soon led to a guest-starring role on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. All the while, he was training at Fiorello H. Laguardia High School for Music and Performing arts.

After expanding his resume, Martin moved to the west coast in 2007, landing his very first Los Angeles audition to play a series regular on TBS's multi-camera sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. He played the son of Bill Engvall and Nancy Travis, and brother to Jennifer Lawrence. This role earned Martin a Young Artist Award for best performance by an actor in a comedy series.

Martin has guest-starred on numerous television shows, including The Closer, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Love Bites, iCarly, Good Luck Charlie and Jonas. He has also appeared in several indie films, including Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door and Rising Stars.

Martin recently wrapped Bukowski, James Franco's directorial debut. It is a biopic of the late writer, Charles Bukowski, and is set for a 2014 release.

Robert Gossett
Commander Taylor

Robert Gossett has appeared in Lloyd Richard’s Broadway production of Fences, Hal Scott’s A Raisin In The Sun and Donald McKayle’s The Last Minstrel Show. Other notable theatre performances include Manhattan Made Me, Sons and Father’s Of Sons, A Soldier’s Play and Colored People’s Time, all of which were performed with the famed Negro Ensemble Company of N. Y. under the direction of Douglas Turner Ward. He has also appeared in plays at numerous regional theatres across the country, including Geva Repertory, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Milwaukee Rep. and most recently the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre of San Francisco in its production of Blues for an Alabama Sky.

In Los Angeles, Gossett has appeared at the Doolittle Theatre (Lloyd Richards' Fences), Mojo Ensemble, LATC and, last fall, Ebony Repertory's production of Fraternity. Gossett’s awards include the NAACP Theatre Award and the Drama Logue Award for his performance in Indigo Blues with the Mojo Ensemble. He also received the L. A. Weekly Theatre Award and Drama Logue Award for his performance in Washington Square Moves, also at Mojo Ensemble

In film, Gossett has starred in Arlington Road, The Net and White Man’s Burden, to name just a few. His Independent film credits include Jimmy Zip, Best Film winner at the Hollywood Film Festival. Gossett's television credits are numerous.

Jonathan Del Arco
Dr. Morales

Last year, Jonathan filmed a pilot with Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas for Lifetime Television and for the better part of the last twenty years he has been a part of the television landscape with memorable appearances in countless television shows including The Sopranos, 24, Doll House, American Dreams, Crossing Jordan, Huff, The Division, First Monday, Sisters, Grosse Pointe, Star Trek: Voyage, Pearl, The Mommies, The Wonder Years, Blossom, Boy Meets world and Miami Vice. He also appeared in the films, True Right, The Mambo Kings and Lost Angels. He earned cult status among Star Trek fans worldwide with his portrayal of the loveable Hugh Borg on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Jonathan was born in Uruguay and came to the states at the age of ten when his parents settled in Port Chester, a suburb of New York City. When he was old enough to ride the trains on his own, Jonathan would trek to the city to catch the latest plays and enrolled in acting classes. When he turned eighteen, he joined the company of the Broadway hit Torch Song Trilogy and toured the country along with Golden Girl Estelle Getty in what was then considered a highly controversial gay play. Many other Broadway and off Broadway plays followed before Jonathan settled in Los Angles to pursue a television and film career.

While in Los Angeles, Jonathan found a new passion – politics and social activism. He worked for environmental causes, gay rights, state initiatives, and two presidential campaigns before landing at GLSEN (The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) where he works as a consultant running the West Coast fundraising operation for the national organization. GLSEN works to ensure safe schools for all children regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and to curb the hateful results of bullying in our schools. Last year, he served as an Obama Celebrity Surrogate for the 2012 Presidential Campaign, giving speeches across the country on behalf of the President.

Nadine Velazquez
Deputy D.A. Emma Rios

Nadine Velazquez captured our hearts as ‘Catalina’, the sexy hotel maid/stripper with a heart of gold, on the People’s Choice winning NBC comedy series, My Name Is Earl. In 2006 and 2007, she was honored for her work with an Alma Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category.

This past fall, moviegoers had a chance to see her dramatic side as she starred opposite Denzel Washington in the Robert Zemekis-directed film Flight, which hit theaters nationwide on November 2, 2012. More recently, she starred as Dwayne The Rock Johnson's wife, Analisa in Summit Entertainment's action thriller SNITCH. That will be followed by Lionsgate comedy Aztec Warrior, where Nadine plays the romantic lead opposite Luiz Guzman.

Nadine continues to be a familiar face on television with recurring roles as sultry ‘Sofia’ on FX’s hit comedy, The League, and as sweet Southerner ‘Didi Ruano’ on CW's Hart of Dixie. She also will be seen in the new season of Arrested Development.

Daily Variety singled out Velazquez as one of ‘Ten Actors to Watch’, and USA Today named her ‘One of Five Rising Stars to Watch Closely.’ She was additionally picked by Entertainment Weekly for their summer ‘Must List,’ and included in People En Espanol for its ’50 Most Beautiful People.’

Velazquez spent her first three years in Hollywood honing her skills in projects such as Biker Boyz, Chasing Papi, Sueno, HBO's Entourage, The Bold and the Beautiful, Las Veghas and The Last Ride.

A Chicago native, Velazquez currently resides in Los Angeles. She is an impassioned supporter of charities that protect the rights of disenfranchised youth.

Character Descriptions

Mary McDonnell as Capt. Sharon Raydor
Head of Major Crimes, Capt. Sharon Raydor leads the department with a rule-based, team-oriented approach, sharing the credit with the people with whom she works. Having taken on the role as Rusty's guardian, Raydor is challenged with caring for a delinquent teen who is also the key witness in an upcoming murder trial. Though her intentions are seemingly good, Raydor's ability to be a non-biased guardian will be challenged this season, and her team will continue to question her leadership.

G.W. Bailey as Lt. Provenza
The squad’s resident old-timer, Lt. Provenza still has a few tricks up his sleeve. He likes to bend the rules to avoid doing too much work.

Tony Denison as Lt. Andy Flynn
Lt. Flynn is passionate about his job but sometimes lets his friendship with Provenza get in the way. He always has a wise crack to keep the squad lifted, even in stressful situations. More than ever, he steps into the role of Raydor’s chief adjutant.

Michael Paul Chan as Lt. Mike Tao
Lt. Tao is the go-to guy for anything technology related. He thrives on using his expertise to crack cases; the more complex, the better. But he also tends to go overboard on details when explaining things.

Raymond Cruz as Det. Julio Sanchez
Det. Sanchez is knowledgeable about the complexities of gang warfare in Los Angeles and can be a bit intimidating to a suspect. Even when his emotions run high, Sanchez knows how far he can push without crossing the line.

Phillip P. Keene as Buzz Watson
Buzz is the electronics room technician. In addition, he is the videographer of all crime-scene documentation for the Major Crimes Division. The outdated equipment provided by the LAPD causes Buzz constant frustration, but his instruments often prove useful in cracking a case. And his job tutoring Rusty gives Buzz the younger teenage brother he never wanted.

Kearran Giovanni as Det. Amy Sykes
Det. Amy Sykes is an ambitious undercover police detective and military veteran who served in Afghanistan. A relatively new member of Major Crimes, Sykes continues to struggle to prove herself and be taken seriously, however it's not easy with Provenza constantly chastising her.

Graham Patrick Martin as Rusty Beck
Rusty is a homeless juvenile who ends up living with Raydor after becoming a witness in an important homicide case. His troubled past and often unruly behavior constantly lands him in trouble.

Jonathan Del Arco as Medical Examiner Dr. Morales
Medical examiner Dr. Morales often finds key clues in homicide cases during the autopsy. Always displaying a wry sense of humor, Dr. Morales brings a lightness to autopsies and pathology reports.

Nadine Velazquez as Deputy D.A. Emma Rios
Newly assigned to the Phillip Stroh case, Emma interviews Rusty about his involvement as a key witness in the murder case. She immediately causes a stir within the department, coming into conflict with Captain Raydor when she questions Raydor’s intentions as Rusty's guardian and challenges her authority.

Robert Gossett as Assistant Chef Russell Taylor
Commander Taylor helps the Major Crimes Division on many cases. He frequently acts as a press liaison and has proven to be a strong ally for closing cases.

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 Australia. 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 wrote 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 M. Robin is an award-winning producer and director who has worked on such high-profile series as NYPD Blue, Nip/Tuck and TNT's The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Major Crimes and Dallas. He has earned Producing Emmys® for NYPD Blue and L.A. Law as well as three Golden Globes® for NYPD Blue, L.A. Law and Nip/Tuck.

Robin formed The Shephard/Robin Company with Greer Shephard in 1998. Their producing success includes Nip/Tuck, The Closer, Longmire, Major Crimes, Trust Me, State of Mind, The D.A., Popular and Brutally Normal.

In his more than two decades in the television industry, Robin has directed 11 drama pilots, including the pilots for TNT's The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Major Crimes and Dallas. He has directed a total of 19 episodes of The Closer and three episodes of Rizzoli & Isles.

Robin began his career 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 while also evolving 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 drama series C-16, as well as launch The Shephard/Robin Company with Greer Shephard.

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.

Wallace came to The Closer as executive producer in its fifth season, 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, LA Law, NYPD Blue, Murder One, Law & Order: S.V.U., 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
Co-Executive Producer

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 and producing TNT's The Closer, both with executive producer James Duff.

In 2004, Sacks won an Oscar for producing the short film Two Soldiers. The following year, he, 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 and Major Crimes cast member G.W. Bailey is Executive Director, serves children with cancer from all over the United States and Canada.

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