|Rank|| Captain (The Closer, Season 1) |
Commander (The Closer, Seasons 2-7)
Assistant Chief (Major Crimes)
|Affiliation||Los Angeles Police Department|
|Division|| Robbery-Homicide |
Office of Operations
|Family||Unnamed teenage son|
|Played by||Robert Gossett|
|First appearance||The Closer (Pilot)|
|Final appearance||White Lies, Part 1|
Russell Taylor is the Assistant Chief of Operations for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) during Major Crimes until "White Lies, Part 1". He was previously the Captain of the Priority Homicide Division, Commander of Robbery-Homicide Division, and later the Major Crimes Division's press liaison on The Closer.
Taylor worked his way to become Captain after 21 years in the LAPD. Before Brenda Johnson's transfer, Taylor had been heading the Priority Homicide Division (later renamed to the Major Crimes Division). He was subsequently replaced by Brenda after a botched case resulted in the suspect being acquitted and a 20-year veteran of the LAPD being convicted of perjury.
At the end of Season 1, Taylor is promoted to the rank of Commander by Chief Pope and becomes head of the Robbery-Homicide Division, after dropping a complaint against Johnson.
For much of the series, Taylor is extremely resentful of Johnson's promotion and outsider status, often antagonizing her as well as trying to undermine her under the pretense of trying to assist in her cases. After his promotion, his attitude somewhat shifts and seems to be more willing to work with Johnson and occasionally asks for help in a few cases but still remains an adversary. Johnson eventually earns his respect after solving the murder of his family friend's son ("The Big Picture").
At the end of Season 2, Taylor is given temporary control of Priority Homicide, following an incident where a F.B.I. witness had used Lt. Provenza's gun to kill a F.B.I. agent, resulting in Johnson being put on administrative leave, along with Provenza ("Serving the King (Part 1)").
Taylor and Johnson form a stronger bond during Season 4, in which Taylor's role changes from "rival and in-house adversary" to that of "unambiguously loyal subordinate". Because of this, Taylor now reports directly to Deputy Chief Johnson and becomes noticeably helpful as he coordinates interaction between the Major Crimes Division and other units as well as the press.
In Major Crimes, Taylor has been promoted to Assistant Chief and he is the new Director of Operations and Captain Sharon Raydor's direct superior. While he and Pope promised her a promotion to Commander if she took over the Major Crimes Division, Taylor reveals that this was a lie due to a budget freeze and that the job was the promotion and she should be happy with it.
Despite frustrating the squad at times with his policies and actions, he proves helpful on occasion, using a connection he has to get a missing person's file when he refuses to send anyone to Boston to retrieve it themselves, and helping solve the Wade Weller case with an unexpected insight coming from watching the trial of Phillip Stroh.
While he isn't thrilled at first about Sharon taking in Rusty Beck, he is seen to support them at times: he glares at Daniel Dunn along with the rest of the squad when he visits after hitting Rusty, he attends Rusty's testimony in the Phillip Stroh trial when the rest of the squad can't attend, which earns him Sharon's gratitude and he can be seen witnessing and supporting Rusty's adoption by Sharon and congratulating them afterwards.
He also introduces a new policy that Lt. Provenza disagrees with of making deals with criminals to save money rather than letting the cases go to trial. Sharon supports this new system as she wants to send the criminals to prison as quickly as possible and make sure they stay there with no chance for appeal. Despite this, they have a few cases that go to trial, notably the Alice Herrera murder and at one point Taylor is shown to be disappointed that they didn't make a deal, even though it was because the suspect was shot dead while aiming his weapon at the squad.
In "White Lies, Part 1", Taylor is shot and killed in the line of duty by serial killer Dwight Darnell when he opens fire in the Los Angeles County Courthouse, in front Raydor and other Major Crimes detectives. Despite Doctor Morales' best efforts, Taylor died of his wounds.
In "White Lies, Part 3", Deputy Chief Howard tells Sharon that a new park is being built on the location of the Zyklon Brotherhood buildings and its being dedicated in honor of Taylor. Its also stated that the reason Dwight shot Taylor was because Taylor drew his gun to stop Dwight rather than being a deliberate target like everyone else in the courtroom shooting. It is not known if this park is still being built after the developer, Martin Borja, was proved to be the mastermind behind the Zyklon Brotherhood and Dwight Darnell's courtroom shooting.
Taylor is presented as an extremely ambitious and tough character who earns the loyalty of his detectives by helping them gain advanced education and promotions. He is especially protective of Sgt. Gabriel and often treats him like a son or protege, something that is seen in the episode "Red Tape". He also poses the solution to Johnson, after the announcement of budget cuts, in sharing Gabriel between both their divisions.
Initially, Taylor is extremely resentful and bitter towards Johnson's joining in the LAPD. Because of this, he is seen to be insecure and eager to unite her squad against her and successfully captures Lt. Flynn as his anti-Brenda ally. He attempts to undermined her authority and status under the pretense of helping with her cases, when in fact, he tries to achieve the opposite.
His behavior soon begins to turn many of his previous friends and detectives against him. Flynn realizes Taylor's true motives after Johnson defends him in a cold case that would have cost him his career and pension, whilst Taylor was happy to "throw him to the wolves".
Taylor initially is very much anti-Brenda and resentful of her appointment to lead the Priority Homicide Division. However, their relationship soon becomes amicable and respectful to each other after Johnson solves the murder of his family friend's son (The Big Picture). Due to this, he is also eager to deal with the press on Johnson's behalf so that she can get on solving her cases.
Despite being the one to promote Sharon Raydor to head Major Crimes after Brenda leaves, he quickly grows to frustrate and clash with Sharon. Their first clash is when he reveals he lied about a promotion to Commander if she took the job, and he tells her that she should be happy with what she's got, insinuating that she's lucky to even have that job with her age, having spent most of her career in internal affairs, and being a woman.
They clash at times over the way Sharon handles cases and Taylor's desire to go to the news sometimes, but he usually defers to her choices with the stipulation of a deadline. He has also aided Sharon's efforts indirectly at times with his connections and at one point, an insight that helps break a case that affects Sharon personally.
While he's not thrilled about Sharon taking in Rusty Beck, he supports her at first until Rusty is threatened by Wade Weller. While he advocates putting Rusty into witness protection immediately, Sharon is able to clearly manipulate him against that by telling him the LAPD would have to pay for it, which he's not willing to do because of budget constraints. When the massive amount of threatening letters are revealed, he doesn't force Rusty into witness protection, to Sharon's relief, and goes with her request that he will not tell Rusty that he could be used as bait to capture Weller. He has been shown to support Sharon and Rusty at times, despite the frustration it brings him: Taylor is, along with the members of the Major Crimes team, in the murder room glaring when Rusty's father visits Sharon the day after he hits his son. When the case ends without a deal to be made with the killer of the week (who was killed), he says that he is disappointed that they won't be making a deal, but smiles when Fritz Howard's notes that there's still a deal to be made (as they watch Dunn walk into the room where the entire Major Crimes team is waiting to give him the choice between being arrested for child abuse or sign away his parental rights).
He also attends the Phillip Stroh trial when Sharon can't and keeps her updated on Rusty's progress which she appreciates. When Sharon adopts Rusty, Taylor is there to witness the adoption and support them. Sharon also supports Taylor's new policy of making deals rather than going to trial. While Taylor wants deals to save money, Sharon explains she wants them because it sends the suspect straight to prison with no chance for appeal, and no chance for a "not guilty" verdict, and that it spares the victim's families the stress of lengthy trails.
While Taylor tends to remain professional when dealing Rusty, unlike the Major Crimes squad members, he's shown to be fond of the young man in his own way. Notably, Taylor has been shown to be there for Rusty's sake during major events such as his graduation party in "Cutting Loose" and his adoption in "Down the Drain". During Rusty's graduation party, which Sharon stated she was only intending on inviting Rusty's friends to, Taylor can be seen smiling proudly at the young man's accomplishment as John Worth congratulates him on it and even makes a joke about how surprising it was that Rusty survived high school as all of them had considered killing him at times. When Sykes takes a picture of Rusty with his friends on the squad, Taylor joins the picture. When Sharon was unable to go to the Phillip Stroh hearing, Taylor went in her place and kept her updated on Rusty's progress to ease her mind. During "Long Shot", while Taylor didn't take part in the meeting with Daniel Dunn (not being apart of the team's "family"), he was shown glaring at Dunn along with the rest of the squad when Dunn visits the precinct after he punched Rusty and was pleased that they were getting rid of him for good when talking with Fritz Howard.
- Taylor's father was also a LAPD officer.
- Taylor has a son in High School, whom he tries to call to alert of a possible threat to the school he goes to. He leaves him a message saying "If you don't pick up, I'll take your phone away". Taylor is also apparently on the PTA at the school as he commented on how crazy the meetings are. Given the squad's surprise at the news his son went to that school, they may not have known he had children.
- When in uniform, Taylor wears five service stripes on his uniform. Each stripe represents five years of service in the LAPD meaning he has served for 25-29 years.
- Despite their problems with him over the years, the Major Crimes squad is shown to be deeply affected by Taylor's death. When Provenza suggests that anyone who needs to can take a break before getting to work on gathering information on the case, it is apparent that they stay, not because they are not upset by his death but because they are motivated to catch those who assisted his murderer.
- According to Provenza, he has known Taylor since his first day on the job.
- In the organizational chart presented to Deputy Chief Johnson by Assistant Chief Pope during the final season of The Closer, then yet to be promoted Taylor was identified as Director of the Office of Special Operations. This organizational change never came to be when he was promoted to Assistant Chief for the start of Major Crimes as he was assigned as the Director of Operations.
|The Closer Characters|
|Brenda Leigh Johnson • Sharon Raydor • Fritz Howard • Will Pope • Russell Taylor • Louie Provenza • Andy Flynn • Michael Tao • David Gabriel • Julio Sanchez • Irene Daniels • Buzz Watson • Dr. Fernando Morales|
|Major Crimes Characters|
|Sharon Raydor • Louie Provenza • Andy Flynn • Michael Tao • Julio Sanchez • Amy Sykes • Wes Nolan • Buzz Watson • Rusty Beck • Russell Taylor • Fritz Howard • Dr. Fernando Morales • Andrea Hobbs • Kendall|