James Duff


Major Crimes Creator James Duff Previews "Two Options"

Raymond Cruz, Mary McDonnell

We wake in the morning, pour hot and cold running water for coffee and showers, fry eggs or fill our cereal bowls with milk from the fridge, find our cars in their garages, or our trains at their stations, or our buses at their designated stops. We drop off children at schools, and stop by ATMs and maneuver our way to work through a series of signals managing the flow of traffic and railway cars, and we do most of this while taking for granted our comfort, ease and, most especially, our safety. The tragedies of Newtown and Aurora and Santa Barbara may jolt us, or cause us to doubt, but nothing totally shakes our faith that civilization has — for the most part - triumphed.

But, like the justice system in which Major Crimes operates, our civilization has been designed to work in the aggregate, not for individuals, and our assumptions that we live in an ordered world can be rudely dismissed by criminals bent on chaos... read more

Major Crimes Creator James Duff Blogs 'Jane Doe #38'

Mary McDonnell

We are born with an expectation of family; there is no other way for a baby to survive. Humans are so frail and weak during infancy that, without adult protectors and providers, they would be dead within a day. But relatives are not only present to feed and defend, they are also shapers of character, first teachers in the subjects of life, last words on rights and wrongs: they are the personification of fate; they are a form of destiny that we must either embrace or escape (and sometimes both).

But what about those for whom family is not a given? Children left behind, as it were, or set aside, or forced by circumstances from their original cribs? For example, I was adopted... read more

Major Crimes Creator James Duff Previews "Do Not Disturb"

Graham Patrick Martin

Mystery stories trade in puzzles and surprise. How did the body get into the library? How was it all the windows and doors were locked from the inside? Why is the victim wearing someone else's cologne? These are the riddles over which Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot expend their energies as private detectives and likable busybodies in British detective fiction. But, in Major Crimes, as elsewhere in the procedural world, sometimes the most difficult conundrum facing our division is the law itself... read more

Major Crimes Creator James Duff Blogs "Letting It Go"

Mary McDonnell, Jon Tenney

You cannot see the justice system from space; you cannot hug it; you cannot shake its hand or climb its walls; it is an abstract construct deriving its power from our collective resolve to settle society's conflicts through the administration of law. 

Though a primary pillar of civilization, the justice system was not designed to succeed for individuals, but in the aggregate. Indeed, one could conceivably argue that it is our commitment to support the justice system even when it functions improperly — even when it does less well than it should - that endows it with more secular force than any other institution in our daily life.

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Major Crimes Creator James Duff Previews "Personal Day"

Raymond Cruz and Mary McDonnell

The ability to communicate with others is something we mostly take for granted.  An expectation of understanding serves as the unconscious foundation of nearly every social, personal and professional transaction we undertake. True, the atonality of e-mail, or the micro nature of Twitter feeds and Facebook posts, can lead to some fairly interesting apologies.  And let's not forget how irritating autocorrect can be. But technological gremlins are not the only obstacles standing between us and perfect clarity. If our words sometimes fail to carry their proper meanings, maybe it's because we have said them too many times before, or changed them entirely from one day to the next. Our character, our reputations and our known opinions may provide our statements with unintentional context, so that we are not misunderstood at all but, rather, understood better than we realize.

Det. Julio Sanchez has always been in favor of short declarative sentences; his reactions usually tell us more about him than his verbal responses... read more

Major Crimes Creator James Duff Previews the Season 2 Finale

Mary McDonnell, Jon Tenney

Finally, we have come to the end of our second season. Major Crimes will not only finish up business it started last week, but also answer some questions it asked last November, last summer and last year. The manner in which identity and character combine to form human nature - our nineteen episode theme — will, of course, remain a mystery, but we have framed our inquiry as well as we could.

Part of that frame involves dramatizing how two boys from similar circumstances could have turned out so differently.  I won't give away our ending — I've never wanted to use this opportunity to present spoilers — but it won't take long to spot the numerous similarities between Rusty and his would-be murderer: both abandoned, both abused as teenagers, both affected by the addiction and drug problems of their respective mothers, and the comparisons do not end there.  They see themselves in each other, yet every resemblance is superficial.... read more

Major Crimes Creator James Duff Previews "Return to Sender"

Tony Denison

We have arrived at the last two episodes of Major Crimes first winter season, during which we will answer several questions that have accumulated during the previous seven months, and unravel the mystery behind the threatening letters written to Captain Sharon Raydor and her material witness, Rusty Beck.

And we will face two of the final tests of character as this curious case unwinds in unusual fashion... read more

Major Crimes Creator James Duff Preview "Year-End Blowout"

Major Crimes

Used car dealerships have been justly famous for their fast talk and unsophisticated advertising, but their greatest salesmen were once genuine marvels of our culture. Part carnival barker, part magician, part traffic accident: the sincerest practitioners of this art inspired wonder and dark admiration as they daily transformed intelligent people into gullible customers, plopping them (almost without protest) behind the wheels of "one hundred percent guaranteed pre-owned vehicles," and going on to run up the price with a succession of worthless guarantees. Sadly, this marketplace, in which used-car salesmen once bartered with ferocity and cunning, daily diminishes under the pressures of the internet, where customers can go and find the exact car they want, in the exact color, and from the exact year, with an exact price. These dealerships, one successful owner mourns, are becoming less like bazars and more like parking lots, way stations for inventory absent any human connection. The next generation of used car salesmen will have a different character from their predecessors.

And that takes us to the theme we explore in our next episode... read more

Major Crimes Creator James Duff Previews "Risk Assessment"

I read once — somewhere in the long ago — that character must be tested like a blacksmith tempers metal. Our personalities are forged in the furnace of our circumstances, pounded into shape between the hammer of our ambitions and the anvil of daily life. I have taken a bit of poetic license here, mainly because this particular metaphor seems slightly overwrought, but let's stay with the fiery image because, when confronted with flames, heroic characters often run toward them instead of seeking safety... read more

Major Crimes Creator James Duff Previews "Curve Ball"

Tony Denison, G.W. Bailey

I was supposed to post some afterthoughts about "All In,"  last Tuesday or Wednesday and, instead, I am late with my entry about this week's new episode, (which was directed by Jon Tenney, better known to our fan base as Special Agent Fritz Howard). It just goes to show you that our best intentions can suddenly be overwhelmed by the unforeseen. In my case, the surprise was sinusitis and a prescription for some fierce, energy-sapping antibiotics that have forced me to adjust my professional plans. While physically irritating, it has made me even more sympathetic to the detectives in Major Crimes, all of whom find themselves dealing with the unexpected when their holiday vacation gets derailed by a shopping trip to Venice Beach.

We begin with Flynn and Provenza ambling through one of the kookiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles... read more

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