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James Duff

Entries by James Duff

Here's Why We're Actually Still Watching Crime Shows

(7) Comments | Posted June 15, 2014 | 1:00 AM

Since I write television, allow me to begin by stating the obvious: America has become more polarized than at any time since the 1960s. People on opposite sides of the partisan divide have not only ceased listening to each other, they are also looking to buy homes and rent apartments...

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'Long Shot'

(4) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 5:14 PM

Unbelievably, we have reached the finale of our first season of Major Crimes. And the title of our last episode reflects what many of us thought about our chances of success when we first began this adventure. Amazingly, our audience stuck with us, and so we will be back next...

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'Cheaters Never Prosper'

(2) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 11:41 AM

In the next-to-last episode of Major Crimes, our division encounters various criminals gaming the system, and though nearly everyone gets exposed in the end, it's unclear whether cheaters utterly fail to prosper. Alcoholics who drink in secret, for example, may preserve the appearance of temperance while utterly failing to achieve...

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'Dismissed with Prejudice'

(2) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 11:20 PM

Every now and then we put together a show that stands out from the rest of our work and achieves one-of-a-kind status. That would describe this week's offering, "Dismissed with Prejudice," which features my gifted and amazingly talented friend, Michael Paul Chan. MPC's portrayal of Lt. Tao has only deepened...

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'The Shame Game'

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 12:29 PM

It is hard to begin these blogs with an apology, but I have missed two of the ten I intended to write, and (though I hate excuses) perhaps I should offer some explanation. Regular readers will know that I mostly steer clear from discussion of my personal life, but the...

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'Citizen's Arrest'

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 2:40 PM

The attempt to impose fairness, no matter how well intentioned, usually fails. That is part of why the justice system endlessly fascinates, regardless of how flawed the law might be; it's still society's best answer to the whole concept of even-handedness. The scales of justice do not always weigh perfectly,...

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The Ecstasy and the Agony

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2012 | 10:49 AM

First, my apologies for failing to appear in this space last week, as promised. For those still concerned, the theme of our third episode, Medical Causes, revolved around the innate lack of fairness in what we call unrequited love. Written by Michael Alaimo and directed by E.R. veteran, Paul McCrane,...

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(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2012 | 1:47 PM

No sooner are we gone than we are back. Major Crimes kicks off its series premiere immediately after the finale of The Closer.

As Deputy Chief Johnson and her favorite co-worker depart, the rest of her division is left to contemplate what fairness looks like in the new world...

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'The Last Word'

(2) Comments | Posted August 10, 2012 | 1:39 PM

It feels like it all went by very fast. One moment, Michael Robin, Greer Shephard and I were sitting at a long conference table at TNT in Burbank, "pitching" an idea to Michael Wright and Lillah McCarthy for a new series; the next, I am writing a few stray thoughts...

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'Armed Response'

(1) Comments | Posted August 2, 2012 | 5:39 PM

I must begin with a disclaimer. Despite some superficial similarities, the next-to-last episode of The Closer has absolutely nothing to do with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. We outlined this story in the writer's room in October of 2011 and filmed it last December, before this controversial tragedy became...

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'Last Rites'

(2) Comments | Posted July 30, 2012 | 10:53 AM

Now we are near the end, and the payment for daring to love grows higher.

In tonight's episode, which may well be¬ one of our most ambitious, Deputy Chief Johnson takes on the full power of the Catholic Church as she tries to solve a disturbing murder threatening to open...

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'Drug Fiend'

(1) Comments | Posted July 20, 2012 | 12:54 PM

To begin, apologies for missing the deadline for last week's blog about "Fool's Gold," an episode that served as a comic glance backward at love's illusions. I had a bout with pneumonia (almost well, thank you!), so I missed reminiscing with you about the incorrigible Flynn and Provenza before their...

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'Hostile Witness'

(5) Comments | Posted July 6, 2012 | 10:12 AM

At its core, The Closer has always been about the battle between idealism and pragmatism represented in our daily lives by the tug between career and family, between our expectations and our realities. The justice system almost perfectly dramatizes and amplifies this conflict, because it represents civilization's own struggle with...

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