Major Crimes' Raymond Cruz: Two Shows and 11 Seasons Pay Off With a 'Moment That Will Shock You'

Major Crimes Season 4

As Season 3 of TNT’s Major Crimes drew to a close, Detective Julio Sanchez successively was ordered to take anger management classes and then apparently suspended, for whaling on the “Burning Man” killer in the finale.

When Season 4 opened, Julio was returning to duty, meeting some mixed reactions. And in tonight’s episode (airing at 9/8c), show boss James Duff has said that series vet Raymond Cruz delivers an “amazing” performance, as we finally get to the root of Sanchez’s issues.

TVLine spoke with Cruz about peeling this final layer away from the man he has played across two shows, for 11 years.

TVLINE | What was Julio’s mindset, first setting foot in the MCD after his suspension?
It’s all about finding the courage to reappear after you’ve made a huge mistake, trying to get back on track and make yourself viable again, to help support the unit.

TVLINE | Is he humbled?
A little humbled, yes, and contrite. You have to realize that you’ve made a mistake and you have to own up to it. You have to come back and face the people who rely on you and you’ve kind of let down. It’s “walking the gauntlet.”

TVLINE | What does he make of attitudes like Flynn’s à la “I don’t want have to worry guy next to me exploding”?
It angers Julio. [Laughs] I also have to understand his point of view, but it kind of angers him because I’ve been his backup, I’ve covered his ass lots of times, and for him to just, like, turn and basically not trust me…. [Being an LAPD detective] is a very difficult job, having to deal with the lowest of elements on Earth, these terrible criminals, on a daily basis, dealing with their bulls–t when you know that they’re wrong. Julio facing that again…. Do you really want to go back to what caused the problem in the first place?

TVLINE | Will we get insight into how Julio addressed his violent tendencies during the suspension?
You’ll get insight into what motivates him and why, which is tremendous, because this has been brewing since the premiere of The Closer. That’s how long we’ve been with this character, so it’s a huge payoff. It’s like peeling layers off an onion, which we’ve been doing over an 11-year period, and now you get to the center…. It’s great for the audience because after being a “voyeur” into these characters’ lives for so long, you reach a point where you’re like, “Oh, I understand now.” All of a sudden it pays off in a huge way. You get this amazing moment that will just shock you.

TVLINE | James Duff was raving to me about your performance. Was this the most challenging material the show has given you?
Yes, definitely. Definitely. I’ve had some really challenging things to do on this show, but this… this was probably the hardest to pull off — and it was the most gratifying. A lot of work went into it.

TVLINE | On a much, much lighter note: We saw at end of the season premiere a hint of something going on now between Andy and Sharon. Is that something the team will become privy to, or will they keep it on the down low for a bit?
I think they’re trying to keep it on the down low, but we’re noticing odd things — the way they talk to each, Better Call Saul Tucohow they address each other…. We’re like, “Whaaaaaat?” [Laughs]

TVLINE | Lastly, how fun was it for you to revisit Breaking Bad‘s Tuco Salamanca on Better Call Saul?
I don’t think it was anything “fun” about it. [Laughs] It was amazing to go back and to do this prequel [spinoff], to process the character at a different time in his life. It takes such high energy to pull off Tuco.

TVLINE | Talk about anger issues!
I don’t really see Tuco as “angry” [Laughs] — he’s just a live wire. It’s like he has no filters. It’s all immediate response, response, response. That’s what I love about that character, is you don’t have to guess what he’s thinking!

Want more scoop on Major Crimes, 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. Whatevah says:

    I love Julio so all I have to say is…I hope he stays.

  2. aph1976 says:

    I’m glad that the character of Julio is apparently taking a bigger role on Major Crimes and we get more insight into him too.

  3. He’s long been one my favorite characters on television. I’d love to see them develop the more personal side of his story. They did such a lovely job of touching on it with his brother’s murder. I’d love to see more of the ‘behind the scenes’ Julio.

    • Chloe says:

      That was an outstanding episode. They’ve never really talked about it since, or the kid that he was fostering. It seemed like Julio had started dating the kid’s mom, though it seemed like it was more so he could stay in touch with the kid. Then there’s the fact that Julio’s a widower, who for years had not removed his wedding ring. So much of the groundwork for this character has been laid out in little, disparate pieces over the years. I hope they finally tie a lot of it together.

      • I would love for them to give Julio a family that we got to see on a regular basis. There are so many ways they could make it an interesting point of conflict on the show too. He could become involved with someone from the DA’s office, or a defense attorney, or a member of the press, or a victim/victim’s mother. Last night’s episode was amazing and I’d love to see them give him more room to move around in the show.

  4. Anon says:

    Hi. English is not my first language so i may be mistaken but i think that the wording in your third question may be off, i think you are missing words. ;)

  5. Kim R says:

    This is one of our favorite shows. Such a successful moving on from one popular show, The Closer, with a major character leaving and morphing into Major Crimes. It has not missed a beat and as fans of both, I think it is really amazing how they did this. A lot is due to these amazing characters and how richly they are written.

  6. Lexi says:

    What an ensemble!! This is what good TV is about. Love Julio… when he lets his anger loose there is this sadness that comes thru.. wow…

  7. Ethel says:

    Didn’t he move in with his grandmother last season?

    • He is currently living with his mother, after her back surgery, but that seems to be a temporary arrangement. This is from the episode where her caregiver allowed someone to enter her home and rob her.

  8. HAP says:

    Cruz is just about the only member of the squad who in real life is not yet old enough to collect Social Security!

  9. Missy Kelly says:

    Raymond Cruz is a an amazing actor – happy that he is finally getting a chance to shine!

  10. n says:

    “Whaling” = “wailing” ;-)

  11. ljd213 says:

    I hope the show addresses that when there’s a really bad guy, people like Provenza expect Julio to “handle it” yet they’re upset he crosses a line. Looking forward to see how this is all explained, so good to have the show back and stronger than ever.

  12. So many Latino cops in California–we would get a better sense of their mindset and culture if Julio’s character is developed more fully. Raymond Cruz has an impressive body of work, and he deserves more camera time.

  13. carolyn parrish says:

    this shows is major great and the characters are very real. I wanted to hug Julio when he told about his wife’s death, heartbreaking!!! And go Andy and Sharon ! The show keeps getting better, oh and I love Rusty!!!!

  14. katedfw says:

    I think this is one of those rare “spin-off” shows that actually works. They were able to keep so many of the cast members and bring in some new talent to great results! Love them all but Flynn and Provenza are my favs! I hope this show runs for a long time!

  15. George Hood says:

    I surely hope that it’s just rumors that Major Crimes will be taken off the air. I enjoy watching the show very much.

  16. George Hood says:

    I will be so disappointed if the rumors are true about taking Major Crimes off the air. I especially enjoy the guy that plays Provençal. I’ve been watching him, on TV, since I was a child. I first remember him from the show “F Troop”.