A highly articulate TV writer-producer, Duff started out as a playwright. Ironically, his 1984 Broadway debut, the family drama Home Front, was dismissed by the New York Times as too "television." Although the play closed quickly, with some retooling and a new title, The War at Home, it went on to have a successful worldwide run and was turned into a 1996 movie. Duff earned an Emmy nod for his very first teleplay, another dysfunctional-family saga called Doing Time on Maple Drive. And while he made a brief foray into comedy as the supervising writer on the cult series Popular, he remained dramatic at heart, penning a number of TV-movies and failed pilots. His ability to craft fascinating but flawed characters finally paid off in 2005 when he created The Closer, a highly successful crime series about a mess of a master interrogator.
- His father, James H. Duff, was a Sears, Roebuck executive.
- Attended five elementary schools, three junior highs and three high schools.
- While in high school, he participated in an acting workshop taught by G.W. Bailey, who, 34 years later, landed a starring role in Duff's series The Closer.
- The 1984 breakout play Home Front---which was made into a 1996 film called The War at Home---was inspired by letters written home by his uncle, Col. David Duff, during the Vietnam War.
- 1992, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Miniseries or a Special: Nominee
- James H. Duff — Father
- Attended Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States; attended Tarrant County Junior College, Hurst, Texas, United States