|Rank|| Captain (The Closer Seasons 1) |
Commander (The Closer Seasons 2-7)
Assistant Chief (Major Crimes)
|Affiliation||Los Angeles Police Department|
|Division|| Robbery-Homicide |
|Family||Unnamed teenage son|
|Played by||Robert Gossett|
Russell Taylor is the Assistant Chief of Operations for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He is promoted to Commander by Chief Pope at the end of Season 1 after his predecessor, Commander Scott retires and has been promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief when Major Crimes begins.
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 pretence 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 an 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 is now Assistant Chief 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 and helping solve the Wade Weller case with an unexpected insight come 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 which earns him Sharon's gratitude and he can be seen witnessing and supporting Rusty's adoption by Sharon and congratulating him afterwards. He also introduces a new policy that Provenza disagrees with of making deals with criminals to save money rather than going 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.
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 pretence of helping with her cases, when in fact, he tries to achieve the opposite.
His behaviour soon begins to turn many of his previous friends and detectives against him. Flynn realises 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".
Brenda Leigh JohnsonEdit
Taylor initially is very much anti-Brenda and resentful of her promotion of 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 case.
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 her promotion to Commander if she took the job and 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 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. 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 not reveal the option of using Rusty as bait to draw out Weller. He has been shown to support Sharon and Rusty at times despite the frustration it brings him: when Sharon talks to Daniel Dunn after he hits Rusty, Taylor is shown to be glaring along with everyone else in the murder room at the man and while disappointed that they won't be making a deal at the end of the case, is satisfied by Fritz Howard's assertion that there's still a deal to be made with Dunn which would remove him from Rusty's life. 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 keeps the victims and their families from lengthy trials which is what she likes.
- Taylor's father was also an officer for the LAPD.
- It is not known whether Taylor is married or not.
- Taylor has at least one child, a son in high school.
- 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.
|The Closer Characters|
|Brenda Leigh Johnson • Sharon Raydor • Fritz Howard • Will Pope • Russell Taylor • David Gabriel • Louie Provenza • Andy Flynn • Michael Tao • Julio Sanchez • Irene Daniels • Buzz Watson • Dr. Morales|
|Major Crimes Characters|
|Sharon Raydor • Louie Provenza • Andy Flynn • Michael Tao • Julio Sanchez • Amy Sykes • Rusty Beck • Fritz Howard • Russell Taylor • Dr. Morales|