Whoa. The Aug. 5 episode of Major Crimes was breathtakingly rough to watch. The crew was forced to deal with the harsh reality of losing one of their own when Robert Gossett’s Assistant Chief of Special Operations Russell Taylor was gunned down in an insane courtroom shootout.
While the event left most fans reeling and wondering about the future of the series, the show’s creator, James Duff, just gave some inside scoop that will help everyone feel better about what’s to come.
For one, Gossett — who has played Taylor since before Major Crimes even existed, starting with 2005’s The Closer — wasn’t blindsided by the death of his beloved character. In fact, according to Duff, his release from Major Crimes might have been a bit of a relief.
“That was a difficult conversation, but not as hard as you might think,” Duff recently told TV Line of telling Gossett about his departure. “Robert has been playing this part for 12 years. Robert is also quite an accomplished stage actor, and someone who was chafing a bit, saying, ‘Gosh, this part is getting smaller. I don’t have as much to do as I used to’ — and I couldn’t disagree with him. He had suggested a couple of times that it felt like it might be that his story had played out, and I couldn’t disagree with him on that either.”
So, though it may be hard to bid adieu to Taylor, leaving him behind before his story line jumped the shark was what was best for the show — and for Gossett’s creative process.
Not that it wasn’t hard for the cast and crew to see Gossett go.
“It’s hard only because we’re all family here, and letting go of a family member, even under the best of circumstances, is hard to do,” Duff said. “I don’t know how they manage it on The Walking Dead! I would be a nervous wreck. But I needed it for storytelling purposes; it wasn’t just, ‘Oh, let’s kill off a character,’ or that the show was too expensive. It was all about dramatizing this theme as thoroughly as we could and stay relevant in a world where police officers are at more risk than ever, and also looking at racism in all of its different variants. We looked at racism last year in our five-parter, and I see no reason to let go of it. It’s a big issue.”
Taylor’s death will also lead to some cast shakeups that will breathe new life into the show. Duff shared that celebrated actress Camryn Manheim has already been cast as a Deputy Chief of Operations in the LAPD and will be a candidate for Taylor’s position.
What do you think of Taylor’s departure from Major Crimes? Do you think it will be good or bad for the show?
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