AUSXIP had the opportunity to interview Mary McDonnell, G.W. Bailey and Tony Denison at the TNT Armchair Detective
Junket about their
TNT show, Major Crimes, returning for a second season June 10 at 9pm.
Q: How will the Captain’s need for control of her environment and the people around her degrade or change as she continues to work with the detectives and the outside influences of her personal life start to come in more and more? What should we expect to see as far as her need for control?
Mary McDonnell: I’m not sure exactly which direction it will go in, but I would say that the balance between growing by letting go and holding on too strong, that sort of tightrope is part of what’s at the core of her. But what’s been already obvious to me in the season we’re playing now is that [the detectives’] influence on her has already been positive in that, to be really working directly with the detectives on a crime rather than working with other detectives on detecting whether or not they did well on a crime, is really gratifying for her. It’s opening her up emotionally in a different way than being in Internal Affairs allowed her to. … If you’re friends with [the detectives], you’re not doing your job. So, so far, it feels to me like it’s having a positive effect, but there will be some trouble, I’m sure.
G.W. Bailey: In paradise.
Mary McDonnell: Because it’s a drama.
G.W. Bailey: And it’s TNT.
Everyone: And we know drama! (laughter)
Q: Will the fact the entire department is more-or-less raising Rusty eventually cause strife, or will it continue to be a unifying factor for them?
Tony Denison: I don’t know. Right now, it’s starting…
Mary McDonnell: Both.
Tony Denison: Yeah, both. It’s kind of both right now. You know, who knows which way James is going to go with this? But I’m sure, just as it’s going really great now, no matter what direction it takes or if it decides to split the baby the whole way down, it’ll be great either way, and the kid, Graham who plays Rusty, is wonderful. He’s wonderful, a nice kid, and really good actor to work with.
Q: We’ve noticed that your character, Tony, has started to become the Captain’s number 2 as the series has progressed. He’s sort of the go-to guy for that as opposed to Provenza, who has seniority on that. Why is that? Why are you the go-to guy as opposed to your partner?
Tony Denison: Because he’s super grumpy. (chuckles)
Q: Besides that! Is this something we’re going to see it expanded more where your character winds up being more and more at the number 2 spot while G.W.’s character evens it out?
Tony Denison: That won’t ever happen. The balance of the show is… I mean, it may happen in a way where it becomes annoying to him [G.W. Bailey] so that there’s more friction…
G.W. Bailey: It’s interesting what perceptions [are out there] because we [he and Tony Denison] won’t talk about this, but he and I have very strong opinions about…
Tony Denison: Yes.
G.W. Bailey: About this very issue and who is emerging as what we call the…
Tony Denison: The go-to.
G.W. Bailey: Corey Reynolds…
Tony Denison: David Gabriel.
G.W. Bailey: Gabriel. Gabriel had nothing to do with seniority. He was the youngest of all of us and wasn’t even made a detective. He made detective grade on the show. [He] was [Raydor’s] kind-of partner. He was her right hand, so it really has nothing to do with seniority at all. But there’s somebody on the show that we think is taking that position, but it’s neither one of us [Flynn or Provenza].
Mary McDonnell: And you know what? I just want to say that, from my point of view, both as the actress and Raydor, that’s not now I’m experiencing it at all, that there’s any one person. There’s been an interdependence to each one of them at different points that I felt very strongly. I don’t have that consciousness. Do you know what I mean? I’m not quite seeing what you’re [G.W. and Tony] seeing, perhaps, but maybe I don’t want to? (Laughs)
Tony Denison: No, no, no… It’s just something. It’s something, and, you know, in a sense, it’s like, “whatever.” Whatever we’re perceiving… (shrugs) Sometimes we’re really perceiving it as, really, the characters, you know, which is great because then we get to have a hidden secret, as they say in the business.
Mary McDonnell: You know what else? This show does a great deal of its forming in the editing room, and we’re long gone.
G.W. Bailey: Oh yeah.
Mary McDonnell: So a lot of it is surprising to us when we see it played back, more than anything I’ve ever worked on, and I find that fascinating.
G.W. Bailey: We also shoot long. Our shows are shot long, so there’s a lot of editing that goes on.
Tony Denison: Everyone talks about, “The show is great. The producers are great.” But we do. We have a real quality group of people.
Q: It’s very much an ensemble cast.
Mary McDonnell: It is.
Tony Denison: And an ensemble group because they’ve [the cast and crew] been with us with since [The Closer].
Mary McDonnell: And you know, we just reassured the last two people that, in fact, this is an ensemble that isn’t going to get killed off. (chuckles about the table) We’re going to be around for so long that he and I are going to be…
G.W. Bailey: You’ll be visiting me at the home. (more laughter)