As someone who has met quite a few people standing in the limelight, I feel eligible to say that, while most of them usually try to be friendly, very few of them are willing to encounter their fans with true and honest respect. I am not talking about when you run into your favorite actor/singer in a restaurant or chase them at the airport to ask for a selfie (please don’t ever do that!). I’m talking about meeting them at official events such as movie premieres, film festivals or comic cons. For instance, at the Entertainment and Pop Culture Festival, Comicpalooza, in Houston which took place on the weekend from May 12 to 14. The convention hosted by Startling Events LLC is the biggest in all of Texas and had quite a long, impressive guest list including actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and TV shows such as The Flashand Supernatural. The biggest draw, probably, was the attendance of martial artist and actor Chuck Norris. Nevertheless, not everyone was delighted by his presence as many believe he does not particularly stand for the values that are most celebrated in comic cons: equality, open-mindedness, and respect.
One person who does exactly promote those merits is two-time Oscar nominee Mary McDonnell. You may know her from Dances With Wolves where she overshadowed everything and everyone around her with her outstanding portrayal of Stands With A Fist. Or you might have seen her rule the universe in Battlestar Galactica making us laugh, scream and cry. Recently she excels as LAPD boss-lady, Commander Sharon Raydor, on Major Crimes while guest starring as the fierce widow Ruby Goldfarb on FX’s Fargo. She is the reason why I jumped onto a plane in Europe and crossed the Atlantic to attend a convention on the other side of the world. I have met Ms. McDonnell several times and the day has not dawned when she has not welcomed me with a big smile, kind words, and, most importantly, respect. It wasn’t any different at Comicpalooza. She made sure to take time for every single person who came to see her. She listened to them and told them she was happy they were there. She let them shower her with gifts, not because she likes receiving an insane number of presents but because she knows it makes fans happy. It was their way of expressing their gratitude and admiration. She listened to people telling their life stories and she let them share their difficulties and almost miraculously made their struggles seem easier to endure by offering kind, meaningful words in return.
Major Crimes is one of TNT’s most popular scripted TV shows. The series has seamlessly taken over the success from its predecessor The Closer and keeps capturing the viewers with its distinguished writing and its exceptionally skilled cast who forms a perfect symbiosis and keeps the audience at the edge of their seats week after week.
I had the pleasure to talk to the brilliant mind behind the popular show: Major Crimes creator, writer and executive producer James Duff.
The season 5 finale of Major Crimes is going to be a two-parter. What can you already give away?
James Duff: We often do two part finales. As a matter of fact I think we have done a two-part finale every year except for the first season. In the finale of season 5 you sort of know who the killer is, by sight, from the very beginning. Major Crimes is trying to figure out what he is up to and it looks a lot like it might be terrorism. In this two-parter Andy Flynn ends up having to test his physical strength, his heart, his stamina.
For a long time you didn’t know whether you had to write a season finale or a series finale due to TNT taking unexpectedly long to renew the show for another season. Did you end up writing two different endings? One that ties up the season and one that ties up the show?
JD: Yes. [LAUGHS] Because TNT took so long to pick up the show I felt obligated to create a big finish and then, when we got to the end and they had picked us up, I changed the outcome and altered the story. It was very frustrating for fans and very frustrating for the cast and also for the crew since it was not sure if they were going to have jobs next season. But it wasn’t really frustrating for me because I’m just so grateful all the time for the opportunity I have been given. And even if it’s just an opportunity to end something, it’s still a great opportunity and that’s how I try to look at it.
After several very long, very torturous months that we had to endure without Major Crimes, the show finally returns next Wednesday with a brand new episode. The summer season ended with a thrilling three-parter, now Major Crimes is returning to its episodic format.
The opening of the winter premiere is very fast-paced and rather unexpected. It will have the audience at the edge of their seats from the very first second. The case of the week has the team investigate the murder of a young woman whose body was found in the L.A. River. While trying to do their job, Deputy Chief Winnie Davis (Camryn Manheim) makes the squad’s life extra-hard, in particular Captain Raydor’s. People who enjoyed the interaction and dynamics between Sharon Raydor and Brenda Lee Johnson in The Closer will probably have quite a blast watching the scenes with Mary McDonnell and Camryn Manheim. Though the relationship of their characters seems even more strained than the one of Captain Raydor and Chief Johnson ever was. Something that probably has a lot to do with the fact that both women are eyed as possible replacements for the recently deceased Assistant Chief Taylor and Davis sees Sharon as rather strong competition. However, Sharon has a clear advantage over Davis: The entire Major Crimes squad has her back.
Rusty starts an internship but he is rather distracted by some problems of a more private nature. As has already been seen in the promo, at some point during the episode, the young man will come to the very late but very true realization that his mother is a force of nature.
Unsurprisingly, also in this episode,” Lieutenant Grumpy” aka Provenza will draw quite a few laughs from the audience. He throws around several of his memorable one-liners and brings back one of his most iconic quotes (in slightly modified forms).
In the meantime, long-term and patient Andy Flynn has a new device that keeps him busy and there will be a situation in the episode which will very much try his patience. It will probably also make the audience go “Whoa! Holy S***!”
All the shippers out there have a little something to look forward to. Especially if you pay attention to the way one of the couples looks at each other during a certain conversation.