James Duff


The Closer Creator James Duff: "Strike Three"

Mary McDonnell, The Closer

The inability to change creates huge stumbling blocks in every aspect of our lives and, in "Strike Three," The Closer runs into this particular roadblock at full tilt, resulting in one of the very best episodes in our five year run. Obstacles created by resistance to change not only provide the hateful ideology that binds a vicious criminal gang together, but also the motive for a truly terrible triple murder. And when Major Crimes arrives at the scene to find two officers and a civilian dead on the street, they have only begun to encounter the inflexible barriers erected between them and their dangerous suspects.

Enter Captain Sharon Raydor, played by the always brilliant Mary McDonnell, who performs her role as ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: "Tapped Out"

Most of us play many parts in life. I am a writer, a godfather, a producer, a spouse, a son, a brother, a boss and a friend, to list just a few (of the more repeatable) things I am called during the course of an ordinary week. The concept of identity is a little like the illusion of motion and matter, for even the most solid object constantly moves. That's why assuming someone's persona is poured in concrete is a recipe for disaster.

So is standing beside Lts. Flynn and Provenza, both of whom often demonstrate a casual disregard for being sucked into career-threatening sinkholes. Fortunately, as active detectives, they are used to finding themselves on the wrong side of ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: "Half-Load"

The Closer

The desire to change our lives for the better, to give more meaning to our daily existence, is one of humanity's nobler urges. When we struggle to better ourselves, we can also improve our families, our neighborhoods, our cities and even our country. The impulse to help out at a community center, for example, or to reclaim teenagers lost to gangs, or the ambition to graduate from college, or to drive a nicer car or own a bigger home, or the desire to get married and have children, or to build churches and governments: all are activities that, in one way or another (spiritual or material), exemplify our confidence in civilization over chaos.

So if we are constantly driven to do better, why is it that ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: "Walking Back the Cat"

Within the intelligence community, the phrase "walking back the cat," loosely translated, means trying to figure out how an agent or an operation went south. Analyzing a professional disaster can be every bit as complicated as... well, convincing a cat to go in reverse. So when Special Agent Fritz Howard decides to ask his wife to help him locate a missing person, he leaves out details that might make his seemingly simple request sound overly complex or irritating. Yes, Fritz actually manipulates Brenda by purposely underplaying what he needs her to do. Can you believe it?

Well, turnabout is fair play.

And for those anxious to discover how marriage has changed our happy couple, here comes Fritz Howard, unabashedly pursuing his own agenda, demanding that Brenda follow him on trust alone. Can she do it?

Lt. Provenza also has something to report: the answer to his new wardrobe and curious mood swings.

And, finally, what are we to do with Kitty's ashes?

I know many of you were upset that Brenda lost her cat ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: "Red Tape"

"Who will watch the watchers?"

This is an old question that keeps popping up whenever we talk about law enforcement agencies or any organization where the abuse of power under the color of authority continues to be a serious problem. Internal Affairs Departments are notoriously unpopular with the police they monitor. And the Force Investigation Division of the LAPD is no exception.

In this week's episode, "Red Tape," Sgt. Gabriel fires his weapon at a fleeing murderer, in self-defense. A boy is shot. But no gun is found. Enter Mary McDonnell as ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: "Blood Money"

Thanks so much for the great start you — the audience — gave our new season. It's enormously cheering to all of us at The Closer that we continue to be the top-rated scripted show on cable. By coincidence, last week's premiere coincided with Kyra Sedgwick being honored with her own star on Hollywood Boulevard's fabled Walk of Fame. That small, square of sidewalk forever etched with her name has been situated right next to that of Kevin Bacon's, which makes them the only married couple to be cemented together within one of L.A.'s most famous landmarks. Art imitates life.

But not in "Blood Money."

People will be tempted to draw parallels from Kyra's own life and our next story ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: "Change"

Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Welcome back to Season 5 of TNT's The Closer, starring my friend, my collaborator and my partner-in-crime, the always amazing Kyra Sedgwick. Also back...

Ah, well, that would give away some mysteries prematurely. Regular viewers might recall that Irene Daniels and David Gabriel both applied for the same promotion to the Criminal Intelligence Division of the LAPD. One of them succeeded; one of them stayed in Major Crimes. Who did what will become immediately obvious, but we will not remark on this during our premiere. Fallout will ensue in succeeding episodes.

Meanwhile, there is a mystery to solve. A family of four is shot to death during breakfast while the father, rather conveniently ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: Relationships

The Closer

Monday, February 23, at 9 o'clock, we air the finale to our fourth season of TNT's The Closer (and bring down the curtain on our 15-episode exploration of the concept of power) by examining what I personally consider the most important part of our daily lives: the human relationships we count on to survive.

Yes, I said survive. For while a solitary life is possible, the better part of humanity needs another voice, another hand, another heart to thrive. Whether it's a friend, a romantic partner, a parent or a partner, few of us have ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: "Fate Line"

I don't want to rain on anyone's favorite shows, and I've watched several episodes of Medium and Ghost Whisperer and enjoyed them very much. But if you ask our resident law enforcement experts on The Closer, former Det. Mike Berchem from the LAPD's famous Robbery/Homicide Division, and our consulting producer, former District Attorney Gil Garcetti, they will both tell you that psychics have been useful in exactly zero cases. As much as we want to believe in ESP, there is more of the magician than of magic in your local fortune-teller.

But not everything that affects our lives can be immediately seen, nor is every clue to a murder visible. In fact, the deductive process is often used to reveal that which might otherwise remain concealed. Intuitive leaps and good hunches are sometimes all a good investigator has to go on. And so, in the penultimate episode of our Fourth Season ... read more

The Closer Creator James Duff: "Power of Attorney"

Kyra Sedgwick and JK Simmons, The Closer

Of all those forces through which we must navigate during the ebb and flow of our daily lives, none is more persistently prevalent than the power of manipulation. Storytelling, for example, depends on it. Advertisers bombard us with it. Journalists and politicians, actors and ministers, magicians and salespeople: all are manipulators by profession, each conspiring to change our behavior or redirect our attention.

And then there are the lawyers.

Here I will make a confession ... read more

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