This coming Tuesday, the franchise that began as The Closer and for the past six seasons has continued in the form of Major Crimes will come to a close.
The sixth and final season of Major Crimes has been an eventful one. With three heavily serialized arcs unspooling over thirteen episodes, we have seen the return of the Major Crimes Division’s arch nemesis Phillip Stroh and the shocking death of CO Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell).
Both the return of Phillip Stroh and the death of his adoptive mother Sharon Raydor were hammer blows to Rusty Beck. TVWise recently caught up with Graham Patrick Martin, who has played Rusty since the series finale of The Closer, to get his insights on this final season, discuss those emotional scenes, the Gusty relationship drama, what fans can expect from the series finale and much more.
TVWise: Famously, the role of Rusty Beck began as a one-off guest spot on The Closer before you were asked to join Major Crimes as a regular. What has this role meant to you both personally and professionally?
Graham Patrick Martin: Major Crimes was college for me. The knowledge I gained from working with my accomplished cast mates is something I never could have gotten in any acting class or film school. I grew a lot as a person as well. I gained amazing friendships with cast and crew that I will value forever. I will always be grateful for those six years.
TVWise: The finale arc picks up in the wake of the death of Sharon Raydor. As an actor, what was that day on set like – having to shoot the scenes were Sharon collapses and Rusty is dragged away from Buzz; and getting the devastating news in the ER?
Graham Patrick Marin: It was surprisingly easy to shoot. Scenes become difficult when I have to access emotions to relate to an experience that I may have never gone through before. In this instance, I was very saddened that Mary was leaving the show a few episodes early. It meant saying goodbye to a friend and mentor, and it also meant the sure death of the show that I called home for six years. As a result, the tears were easily accessible. The most challenging part was pulling my emotions back.
TVWise: Sharon’s final message for Rusty reminded him not to play detective and bring the team in on his thinking. We’ve already seen him struggle with that a little bit. On some level do you think he wants to confront the Stroh situation himself rather than relying on others? Why?
Graham Patrick Martin: Absolutely. Rusty has always felt a sense of responsibility for the Stroh situation. The idea of Stroh hurting a member of the squad is terrifying to him. But also, Rusty wants the threat to be over. He’s been living with it for years and is ready to lead a normal life. He resents the failures of the justice system and would be ready to take it into his own hands if need be.
TVWise: In the previous episode there was a tender moment between Rusty and Emily, where she tells him to be careful because she doesn’t want to have to come back to LA for his funeral. Having lost Sharon, do you think Rusty still feels secure in his family life?
Graham Patrick Martin: I don’t think he’ll ever feel the same sense of security he had when Sharon was around. He’s gained a solid bond with Andy and the siblings- but nothing can replace the void that Sharon has left. Fortunately, over the course of six years, rusty has gained a few other uncles and aunts in Provenza, Flynn, Buzz, Sykes, Hobbs, Tao, and Sanchez. That’s a pretty solid family to fall back on during this difficult time.
TVWise: In some ways it seems the Rusty and Phillip Stroh has been the alpha and omega of Major Crimes. Do the two confront each other one last time before the end?
Graham Patrick Martin: My lips are sealed. I will say that the entire team is determined to put an end to Stroh’s terror. And the Major Crimes division of the LAPD is equipped to do just that.
TVWise: Gus and Rusty have had a rough ride this season. In the season five finale, when Rusty told Gus to take the job do you think it was on his radar that he might cheat? Or was Rusty himself responsible in some way for the outcome?
Graham Patrick Martin: It was on his radar, definitely. But Rusty realized that it was wrong of him to hold his boyfriend back from advancing his career-no matter what his gut was telling him. It’s a tricky situation-knowing that a loved one’s success could put your relationship in jeopardy.
TVWise: Despite the cheating, Rusty went to bat for Gus in getting him severance pay and a good reference. Clearly, he’s still in love with him, but do you think he could forgive him and get past it?
Graham Patrick Martin: I would like to think that Rusty grant forgiveness and move past it. However, in my experience, when trust is lost in a relationship- it’s a difficult thing to regain.
TVWise: Does the grief Rusty is feeling and the two being forced to share the condo accelerate that process along?
Graham Patrick Martin: I think it definitely accelerates the path to a conclusion. Which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Death puts things in perspective. It helps you to see what you really value in your life. But it could also send your emotions into flux, causing you to make irrational choices.
TVWise: Earlier in the season we saw Rusty learn how to use a gun, if push came to shove do you think he would be prepared to use it?
Graham Patrick Martin: When a person puts you through as much as Stroh has put Rusty through- I don’t know how you could NOT use it.
TVWise: What can fans expect from the series finale?
Graham Patrick Martin: I think the fans will get a fulfilling ending. It was very important to James Duff and the writing team to have a finale worthy of the fans who’ve kept us around all of these years. We owe everything to them. I’m confident that this finale achieves that goal.
TVWise: What’s next for you?
Graham Patrick Martin: Well right when I wrapped it was all about catching up on quality time with the family in Louisiana. I just directed my first short film called “Recondition” starring Paul Guilfoyle from CSI. That should be hitting festivals in the Summer/Fall.
Major Crimes wraps its sixth and final season on Tuesday January 9th at 9/8c.