If you hadn’t heard, Major Crimes‘ Buzz is training as a reserve officer — a new skill set he gets to put to great use this Monday (TNT, 9/8c), when he goes on a Fourth of July weekend ride-along with veteran detectives Flynn and Provenza.
On the eve of the trio’s first such team-up, TVLine invited Tony Denison to preview the Season 4 outing, reflect on his 11-year The Closer/Major Crimes run and weigh in on Andy’s budding workplace romance with one Captain Sharon Raydor.
TVLINE | This week we have Buzz (played by Phillip P. Keene) on a ride-along with Flynn and Provenza (G.W Bailey); [series creator] James Duff told me it’s highly entertaining.
Yes, it is. Phillip does a great job, he hangs in there with G.W. and me…. [Chuckles] He gives it as good as he gets it.
TVLINE | What sort of conflicts of personality or work ethics will we see?
Buzz aims to please — he’s brand-new, he wants to do everything by the book. Which is not to say that Provenza and Flynn don’t want to do things by the book, but they realize after all these years on the job that there are things you sometimes have to “maneuver around” to get the same results a lot quicker. It’s not like they’re into breaking the law; they just fudge some stuff.
TVLINE | Are they reluctant to have Reserve Officer Buzz tag along?
No, not at all. In fact, they volunteer. And you’ll see why.
TVLINE | And there’s a holiday weekend element to it as well? The clock is ticking?
Oh yes, yes. I think anybody who watches the show is really going to enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun and I had a lot of fun doing it. It’s been a while since we had a Flynn/Provenza episode like that, so it’s been grand.
TVLINE | How do you think Andy is different now versus the Andy we met on The Closer?
I don’t think he’s different at all. I’ve always tried to play him as a loyal guy, a no-nonsense guy…. Some people think everything is black-and-white, but he understands there’s a gray area. He just wants to get from one end of it to the other end as fast as he can. Andy Flynn doesn’t suffer fools quietly. But loyalty is the key, and ever since Flynn joined the Major Crimes squad, as we saw on the episode where he and Kyra [Sedgwick]’s character joined forces, if you do something to protect his back, he’ll have your back forever.
TVLINE | What was your reaction when you learned the show would start hinting at a romantic something between Andy and Sharon?
I liked it, for a lot of reasons. First of all, I love working with Mary McDonnell — I’ve been a fan of hers since forever — so the chance to work with her on the show alone is fantastic. And because of that, sometimes Andy’s glee is based on the fact that Tony gets to work with Mary! Now that they’re developing a relationship, it’s kind of like, “Oh, and I get that too?” It’s wonderful. The short answer is: It’s wonderful.
TVLINE | When will we get the next hint at whatever’s going on between them?
It’s funny — people ask me that a lot, and I do not know. And the reason why I do not know is because I do not ask. And the reason why I do not ask is because I like to be surprised. So when the episode comes down the pike and there’s something in there, I go, “Oh wow, that’s cool,” because I don’t know it’s coming. As an actor, I like to work that way. I like to be surprised, just like the audience.
TVLINE | What other favorite episodes do you have coming up?
All actors seem to say, “Every episode is my favorite,” but it’s true. Granted, if there’s an episode where I seem to have more things that I’m doing, you would think that by the virtue of that fact I like that episode better; that’s not necessarily true. There’s an episode coming up where what I have to do in the episode is not even connected to the crime — I have a separate agenda going — and that was as much fun to play as an episode where I’m down there in the trenches.
TVLINE | Like last season with the jumper.
Yeah. I’m in my 11th season playing the character, so I must find ways to make myself be surprised, so I can play something in a scene as if it’s for the first time. Because one, I love doing that, and two, I’m a fan of the business. I love watching the show, and if what I have to do in the show is not involved with a lot of the activity, I get to watch it the same way you do. And I enjoy that. But fortunately, they do give me a lot to do, and I’m happy to be doing it.
Any chance I have to work with Mary, and certainly G.W., I’m in favor of. I like working with Ray Cruz (who plays Sanchez), Kearran Giovanni (Sykes) is just fantastic, Michael Paul Chan (Tao), Phillip Keane…. G.W. as a person I just love; he’s such a wonderful guy and I learn a lot from him as an actor. And there’s all the work great he does with the kids with cancer, with the Sunshine Kids…. He’s a good man. And Mary is really a good person. They’re all kind of my peers in a sense, but Mary, G.W. and I kind of come from the same generation, so when we talk about certain actors, the rest of the cast — Raymond Cruz and Kearran and Graham [Patrick Martin, Rusty] and Phillip — they’ll go, “Who?” We’ll be like, “You mean didn’t see…?” And they go, “Um, I’ve heard about it!” [Laughs]