Jon Tenney Cheers King & Maxwell Chemistry and Costars, Hints at Fritz's Major Crimes Encore

King and Maxwell Preview Jon TenneyFans of Jon Tenney’s work on The Closer (and his roles that came before that) let out a collective huzzah when the actor landed the male lead in TNT’s King & Maxwell, NCIS vet Shane Brennan’s adaptation of the David Baldacci novels (airing Mondays at 10/9c). And make no mistake, Tenney is jazzed, too. Here, he opens up about fronting a series, sings leading lady Rebecca Romijn’s praises, teases big reveals about Sean’s complicated past and, yes, hints at Fritz Howard’s return to Major Crimes.

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TVLINE | When I spoke to Shane a couple months ago, he was so very excited to have given you a leading role on a series. How has that been going?
It’s been going great. I mean, I’ve done a couple shows where I was 1 on the call sheet, but usually those shows have been more of an ensemble. And while I certainly was watching Kyra [Sedgwick] do the hours she did on The Closer, I don’t think you can actually know what it’s like until you’re in it. We’ve been working like dogs, but I like to work hard, so I can’t complain.

TVLINE | What most excited you about this particular project?
I guess the fact that in this role I get to play all sorts of different styles. I mean some of it is a romantic comedy, some of it is action. Some of it is drama. Some is lighter….

TVLINE | Yeah. You can be a wise-ass, but you also throw punches when needed.
Right. It certainly has the potential to really stretch me in a lot of different ways. Obviously it didn’t hurt to have people like Shane Brennan associated with it, and when Rebecca signed on, that was just fantastic.

TVLINE | Because you were cast first and since it’s a two-hander, do you get a bit anxious about who was going to be your leading lady?
I certainly kept asking, “So, do you have a Maxwell?” They set up a series of what they call “chemistry reads” with a handful of actors, all of whom are terrific in their own right, but obviously on a show like this you want to have a certain dynamic together. So I was just waiting for that, and when Rebecca and I met each other, it seemed to click. We got along well and our rhythms were different but complimentary. We’re still sort of finding our way as we go along, but it’s been fun to paint this canvas with two very different colors.

TVLINE | What’s something you’d like people to know about your leading lady?
What I love about her is that she is completely game to fearlessly try anything. She has a strong sense of self without any sort of ego, vanity, pretense. Because of her career path — she started in modeling, and then she had some very sexy roles in Femme Fatale and the X-Men series — you tend to see a supermodel up there assume they’re unapproachable, that they’re kind of up on a pedestal.

TVLINE | Or a little frosty, yeah.
Yeah, and you can’t connect. But she’s extremely accessible. And when you spend so much time together in a show like this, it’s very good if you get along.

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TVLINE | King & Maxwell isn’t doing the heavy-handed “Will they/Won’t they?” thing. Is that a relief, to play something a little more subtle?
I’m a big fan of subtlety. Subtlety is more interesting, and questions are always more interesting than answers. I loved Moonlighting, but [Bruce Willis’ character] was on the make from the get go, and that’s not what is going on here. Obviously, [Sean and Michelle] like each other. Obviously, they’re attracted to each other. But I think both of them have some issues with intimacy, and that can be a fun dynamic to explore — how they drive each other crazy and how they also work well together. KingMaxwell_Hurst

TVLINE | As a big Sons of Anarchy fan, I must wonder what’s it like watching Ryan Hurst disappear into his role as [autistic savant] Edgar.
Ryan is extraordinary, a really, really special actor. I admire his commitment to the whole process of creating this role. Take the glasses he wears in the show, for example. Once he found out that we were going to get picked up, he spent three months trying to find the exact, right pair. That attention to detail is lovely. I know what he did as Opie is so different than what he’s doing here, like night and day. And Mike O’Keefe [as FBI agent Rigby] is a terrific actor, too.

TVLINE | In this week’s episode, we have a congressman who has a connection to Sean’s past. What’s going on there?
One of the conceits they made for the series [versus the novels] was you’re finding out in piecemeal what it was that caused me to be dismissed after the whole Ritter assassination. And so we meet the son of the presidential candidate assassinated on my watch, who is now a congressman running for Senate. He hires King and Maxwell to help with some stuff that’s being written about him by an anonymous blogger who’s been going after him.

TVLINE | And Sean probably wants to do right by him.
Exactly. He feels like he owes him so much and feels so much shame about what happened in the past. And during the course of that investigation, Sean ends up finding out a lot of things that he didn’t necessarily know about what actually happened. It’s a great sort of arc for my character as I start going down a certain pathway that Michelle Maxwell doesn’t think is particularly healthy, so it causes tension between us.

TVLINE | And who is Rebecca’s husband, Jerry O’Connell, playing in the episode?King & Maxwell
Jerry is playing another private investigator we used to get some information from, and he is a bit of a character. The guy he plays is not the brightest bulb in the box [Laughs], so he has some really funny stuff to do. Jerry’s a really good comedian.

TVLINE | And next week, Leverage’s Christian Kane shows up as Michelle’s brother?
Michelle Maxwell, as created by David Baldacci, is the only daughter in the family, but there are several sons, all of whom are policemen, as well as the father. Christian plays one of her brothers who is a little crazy, a little wild, and who’s now decided to work as a private investigator. It’s nice because Sean King finds out some stuff about her past that he didn’t realize.

TVLINE | Is the finale (airing Aug. 12) going to drop any kind of bombshell about the Ritter mythology?
A lot comes out. Absolutely. And it’s a little different than in the spirit of the books, so I think it’ll be surprising, in a good way.

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TVLINE | If only because of the adjacency of time slots, did this role preclude you from swinging by Major Crimes this season?
Well, I have a feeling Fritz is going to pop up again. We actually just wrapped photography on King & Maxwell [in Vancouver], and I’m in Los Angeles now, and Major Crimes is in production into October. So the back nine episodes will allow Fritz to reappear, I’ve been told. I have not read a script yet, but I’ve been told that they would love to have Fritz come by — and I would certainly enjoy doing that..

TVLINE | OK, because I wondering if they were holding off until Kyra puts in an encore, so that when Brenda needs to show up, Fritz can be with her.
Well, that would be lovely. I think that would be a great idea. But [series creator] James [Duff] is the one to talk to on that one. I know that everyone is still in touch with each other and we all love each other, and it would certainly be fun!

Want more scoop on King & Maxwell, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. ilona @ilonarcari says:

    I love Jon he is so funny! Great news he will pop up on #MajorCrimes!

  2. Maya says:

    I love Jon from The Closer, he’s doing just as amazing job on King & Maxwell. The best thing about it. Thanks for asking him about him and Kyra guest starring together. I sure hope James Duff makes it happen. Would be great to see Brenda and Fritz together again. They are the best TV couple, a well-written genuine relationship from the start, realistic with the hottest chemistry. I miss them this summer. Nothing/no one compares.

  3. drhenning says:

    I am wondering based on what I see in ratings whether K&M will be a one season only job??? It has grown on me quite a bit but I think it gets hurt in the ratings by being up against Longmire.. TNT just can’t seem to find a good 10pm show on Mondays… nothing’s worked…

  4. ZigZagZoey says:

    I’m liking this show. Ryan Hurst’s character makes it that much better. It is hard to believe he was Opie!

  5. Ana says:

    I was really looking forward to this show as soon as I heard about it but I don’t think is working as well as intended. I don’t buy the whole ‘chemistry’ thing because it really isn’t obvious. It feels forced to me. Like they are trying too hard to be funny and endearing. I like Jon but I don’t think he was right for this. And why does there have to be a romantic undertone? Jon looks so much older than Rebecca. But male execs love to play this. And honestly, the savant character freaks me out. I liked him on the first episode but now with the horrible glasses, the dirty hair and that outdated vest he’s coming across as some poor random homeless man that never takes a shower. And what’s up with that weird white streak? I am excited about seeing Jerry and Christian in future episodes. I still miss Leverage.

  6. cha says:

    I like the show but admit it’s taken time to grow on me in spite of loving Jon T. Edgar’s character is super! But I too am not sold on the “chemistry” with Rebecca: I’m not feeling or seeing it. But I enjoy the show especially considering the drivel on TV in the summer: cable is saving my sanity :-)

  7. Andy says:

    I’m hoping for a second season because the books are great and I’d like to see more of King & Maxwell on TV in addition to reading about them.

  8. MoshePipik says:

    One day, we will all be able to talk about Major Crimes without having to bring up Kyra in some way, shape, or form. I long for that day.

  9. JC says:

    I’m enjoying the show. It’s not perfect by a long shot but it’s a fun summer fluff show. I think Tenney and Romijn have great chemistry, although it’s not necessarily maybe the hot sizzling and/or romantic chemistry that some may be looking for. It’s just fun and playful and it works for me. (Although I do have to agree with one of the posters above that I wish Hollywood would stop it with the older man/younger woman thing.) I think Edgar is great too. I’m worried about the ratings though. Judging from what I’m reading over at TVbytheNumbers, the show doesn’t seem to be doing all that well.

  10. Ali Kien says:

    I cannot wait until next week episode with Christian Kane from the preview it looks like a lot of fun!!!

  11. Cant wait for the next episode with CHRISTIAN KANE my personal favorite actor.!!! he is awesome.. !! he would make a great additon to the show!

  12. kim says:

    Can’t wait to see next weeks episode guest starring Christian Kane. It’s been way too long since he’s graced our screens. Great actor with awesome comedic timing and can do drama like nobody’s business. The King and Maxwell camp should make this character at least recurring if not a regular.

  13. kandie says:

    I can’t wait til next week. So excited to see #Christankane!!!

  14. Beth Potkonicky Kredel says:

    I can’t wait to see Christian Kane back on TV. He’s so under-rated as an actor and he needs more air time to show his amazing versatility! Everyone should look up the movies/series he’s been involved in and watch them; then you’ll know why I’m a Kaniac!

  15. Liz says:

    Where has Jon Tenney been all of my life? ; )

    Loved him as Fritz as the impossibly patient boyfriend/fiancee/husband of high-strung Brenda and I love seeing his more frisky side as Sean King. Now I have to dig out his Filmography on IMDb and see what else he’s been in.

    For what it’s worth, I also love that they aren’t going the romance route like they did with Bones, The Closer, Leverage, Burn Notice, and other cop dramas. It’s much more entertaining to see them alternate being bickering siblings and supportive colleagues than prolonged sexual tension (that is SO predictable). They did this with Mary & Marshall on USA’s In Plain Sight and it just worked great there, too.

  16. Valerie Tower says:

    I really like King and Maxwell. I hope TNT renews it. I’ve always loved Jon, but I never knew Rebecca was so wonderful. Love her on the show!

  17. Cant find the return date for k&m