Francis "Buzz" Watson is a Civilian Surveillance Coordinator in the LAPD's Major Crimes Division on The Closer and Major Crimes.

Buzz is responsible for memorializing crime scenes, and managing technology in the field and in the squad's office.

In Major Crimes, Season 4, Buzz qualified to be a LAPD Reserve Police Officer and for Season 6, a Reserve Police Detective, allowing him to act as a detective when the division needs additional investigative personnel. In the series finale, Lieutenant Provenza arranges for Buzz to attend the police academy so that he will be a probationary detective when he returns.

Character Information Edit

Buzz assists the Major Crimes squad with electronic surveillance and analysis of video and audio footage. Buzz became interested in police work when his father and uncle were murdered in a robbery in 1986 and the case went unsolved. He wanted to become a police officer to track down their killer but his mother was afraid of losing him too so he went to film school instead and became the LAPD's Civilian Surveillance Coordinator instead of a Police Officer.

In “Dumb Luck”, Brenda has Buzz take Tao's place during WMD training so that Tao can secretly help her. During a struggle between the hitman and the wife who hired him, Buzz subdues the killer by spraying him with a fire extinguisher after Commander Taylor kicks the man to the ground. When Buzz is forced to take off his helmet at the end of the exercise, the detectives quickly claim that he's adopted to cover up Buzz masquerading as Tao.

In “To Serve With Love”, Buzz gets caught up in one of Flynn and Provenza's misadventures, resulting in his car getting smashed up and a valuable piece of equipment broken. At the end, Fritz and Chief Pope reveal that there is a ten thousand dollar reward for their actions that Flynn and Provenza can't legally claim. Buzz is able to use his role in the situation and the fact that he is not a police officer to collect the ten thousand dollar reward for himself. Having learned that they lied to him about how much they were getting paid for the job Buzz was dragged into, Buzz promises them each two hundred dollars, the exact same thing they had promised him.

In “Fresh Pursuit”, Buzz happens to notice that a suspect has smuggled a gun into the interrogation room on his monitors. Buzz's quick actions saves Brenda's life when he pulls her back from an ambush and warns her of the gun. The man subsequently commits suicide rather than surrendering.

In “The Shame Game”​​, when Det. Sanchez was conducting an interview in Spanish, Buzz gave live translations to the rest of the squad while observing in the electronics room.


Reserve Police Officer Buzz Watson.

During season 3 and season 4 of Major Crimes, he was taking courses to become a Reserve Police Officer with the LAPD and referenced parts of his training during cases. In the episode “Turn Down”​​, he was on his first drive-along as a Reserve Officer with Lt. Flynn and Lt. Provenza. He later states he is now taking courses to become a Reserve Detective. Despite being a Reserve Officer now, Buzz is shown to continue his work as a Civilian Surveillance Coordinator. After inspiring Rusty to investigate Alice Herrera, Buzz occasionally serves as his cameraman on his blog Identity.

During Season 5 of Major Crimes, he requested the murder file of his father and uncle from Lt. Provenza, and has started investigating the crime with Rusty Beck as a part of his blog Identity: The Long Shadow. Buzz' and Rusty's partnership on the case is on a rocky base as Buzz needs to follow LAPD policies and guidelines to achieve his goal of convicting his fathers and uncles killers whereas Rusty just wants a story.

Buzz started combing through hundreds of partial fingerprints found at the sites of other ATM robberies to locate the person who left his partial on his fathers credit card. He conducts this search as a search for a possible witness, as he doesn't have enough of points of comparison needed to locate a suspect, per LAPD policy, but they are enough to locate a witness.

His search eventually pays off as he identifies one man who could have been one of the killers, Gene Hecht. Hecht is currently serving a life sentence at Kern Valley State Prison for truancy, shoplifting, burglary, car theft, armed robbery, and attempted murder. After this, Buzz compiles his evidence and presents them to Captain Raydor who, per Lt. Provenza's request, hands them over to him to follow up on. Captain Raydor also congratulates him on a job well done.

With Provenza at his side, Buzz eventually interrogates Hecht personally. After Buzz threatens to have him transferred to another prison with a bad reputation, Hecht finally gives him an alibi. During the middle of solving the conspiracy surrounding the shooting committed by Dwight Darnell, Buzz interviews Hecht's alibi witness who not only breaks the alibi, but admits she suspected him of having a role in the murders due to Hecht wearing a rare at the time watch that had been stolen from Buzz's uncle after the murder. Buzz then interrogates Hecht again who gives him a name, Billy Jones, but shows reluctance to give further details. Buzz is able to identify a likely suspect, a man with a juvenile record who went to school with Hecht at the time of the murders, but is worried about the implications of Hecht's reluctance to help.

In “White Lies, Part 3”​​, after some amateur detective work by Rusty, he identifies the correct Bill Jones, and Buzz arrests him for the murders of his father and uncle. However, Buzz is left unsettled by the revelation that Bill has two kids of his own with his son being the age Buzz was at the time of the murder. Though he solved the case, Buzz is left upset by the idea that in solving the murders, he left another family fatherless. On the conclusion of The Long Shadow, Buzz states that Gene Hecht and Bill Jones confessed in open court to their roles in his father and uncle's murders and Gene received another life sentence at the prison he was already incarcerated at, while Bill got life without parole at a prison close to his family. Buzz continues to be troubled by the idea that instead of getting rid of the long shadow over his life, he merely shifted it to Bill Jones' children instead.

In “Heart Failure”​​, Buzz receives a letter from Gabe Jones, Bill's son that leaves him greatly upset. Buzz shows the letter to Rusty in which Gabe tells Buzz how his family's life has fallen apart since Bill's arrest and asks for Buzz to forgive Bill so Bill, who greatly regrets his actions, can return home. While Rusty tries to comfort him, Buzz is left visibly conflicted. In later episodes, Buzz is shown to remain in contact with Bill Jones' family and had plans to take the kids to Disney in “Shockwave, Part 1”​​ before a murder investigation interrupted the plans. The rest of the squad appears to be worried about this relationship and do not think its a good idea.

In “Sanctuary City, Part 1”​​, it was revealed that Buzz has now qualified to be a Reserve Detective instead of just a Reserve Officer. Due to Julio being on bereavement leave following the death of his mother, Sharon asks Buzz to take an active role in the investigation as she needs an extra hand. He is shown to be both excited and nervous to be given this chance. During the investigation, Buzz conducts an interrogation on his own, joins Provenza in a more official capacity in visiting a reluctant and hostile neighbor and leads search teams through the house of one of the victims. In the latter role, Buzz's understanding of Spanish proves key as his ability to understand the victim's parents leads to a million dollars that they have hidden. Buzz also continues his usual role throughout the episode when not filling in for Julio, monitoring interrogations and bringing along his camera in case a possible witness will speak to them.

In “Sanctuary City, Part 3”​​, Julio returns from bereavement leave and therefore Buzz returns to his usual role, removing his suit jacket and tie along with changing his badge from the Police Officer's badge to his civilian one. Buzz continues to aid the investigation, finding a reason for the LAPD and FBI to raid the house of suspect Marvin Garret after going through his hours of vlogs.

At the same time, after learning of Phillip Stroh's likely return, Rusty enlists Buzz's help when he can't get Andrea Hobbs to give him access to the files on Stroh's potential new victims. Buzz agrees to get Rusty the death reports on all of the new victims.

In “Conspiracy Theory, Part 4”​​, Sharon borrows Buzz's camera and then leaves two videos and instructions with Buzz shortly before her death. After Stroh is confirmed to have returned in “By Any Means, Part 1”​​, Buzz gives Sharon's family the videos early despite Sharon's instructions to wait for a week after her funeral. In particular, Buzz urges Rusty to watch Sharon's private message to him right away. Unknown to Buzz, Stroh's accomplice Dylan Baxter is able to hack the squad's cell phones and through Buzz's phone, the SmartBoard.

In “By Any Means, Part 2”​​, Buzz sits in on Camila and Doctor Joe's interview with Gwendolyn Stroh so as to record it. In the interview, Gwendolyn reveals Stroh's murder of Mary Wellington as a teenager and the girl's location. After receiving the footage from the security camera in Gwendolyn's room, Buzz attempts to get a shot of Dylan's face and notes that he looks familiar. However, as Dylan controls the SmartBoard, he is able to corrupt the video before Buzz can get a shot of his face.

In “By Any Means, Part 3”​​, Buzz comes to the realization that Major Crimes has been hacked. Buzz quickly disconnects the SmartBoard with an excuse and writes a note instructing everyone to not talk, leave their phones behind and follow him to Electronics. Buzz explains his revelation to the rest of the squad, noting that the new SmartBoard is not connected to the LAPD Intranet and thus a hacking of it would not have been detected. After a brief discussion, its realized that "neighbor Carl" texted a photo to Wes who sent it to everyone else. After pulling up Buzz's video of the crime scene of Emma's murder, the detectives are able to identify "neighbor Carl" as the culprit in the hacking and the person from Gwendolyn Stroh's home.

Buzz takes part in the meeting that follows with Fritz and Mason and speaks up, acknowledging that "mostly I just turn things on and off" but adding his opinion that the hacker likely accessed the SmartBoard through Buzz's cell phone which is a paired device. To everyone's surprise, Mason asks for Buzz's opinion on why the hacker stopped there over Tao's. Buzz gives the opinion that their hacker is "brazen, not sophisticated" and points out that what he did could've been accomplished by Buzz, Tao and likely Mason himself. Mason acknowledges the truth of Buzz's words and hears out Provenza's plan to trap Stroh during which Provenza states he trusts Buzz's technical expertise because "Buzz set up my printer," earning a disgruntled look from Buzz.

In “By Any Means, Part 4”​​ after its realized that Stroh may be going after his stepsister Tammy and with everyone else gone, Provenza reinstates Buzz as a Reserve Detective. Along with Provenza, Rusty and Gus, Buzz travels to Tammy's house in hopes of finding Stroh. On Provenza's orders, Buzz breaks down the door, but does the worst job at it that Provenza has ever seen. Armed with a gun, Buzz aids Provenza in clearing the house and finds Tammy's body. On Provenza's orders, Buzz does not call it in and instead remains behind as Provenza goes alone to check out the marina.

Following Stroh's death and Julio's promotion, Provenza reveals to Buzz that he has arranged it so that Buzz will be going to the police academy for the next eighteen weeks. When Buzz returns, he will be a probationary detective on the Major Crimes squad instead of just a Reserve Detective, fulfilling the dream that Buzz had when he was young but gave up on for his mother's sake. Provenza jokes to an excited Buzz that he did it just so that he won't have to listen to Buzz quote his Reserve Detective training classes anymore.

Buzz and Rusty Edit

Buzz was originally greatly annoyed by Rusty Beck, mostly as he had to watch him most of the time when Captain Raydor was busy. At one point, he gladly donated money to bring back Sharon Beck just so he could get rid of Rusty, saying he's happy to help as it gets rid of him as he didn't want to babysit him anymore.

The two however grew closer over time and Buzz was angry with Daniel Dunn for his treatment of Rusty. Notably, despite his differences with Rusty, Buzz was one of the most vocally angry with Dunn's actions, suggesting that the man's mugshot would make a great addition to his wedding album. Following the final confrontation with Dunn, the two develop more of a brotherly relationship, with Buzz advising Rusty on asking the other members of the squad why they became cops to show the squad that he's not as self-centered as they might have thought. Buzz also dedicates some of his free time to tutoring Rusty when he's forced out of school by Wade Weller's threatening letters.

When Rusty comes out as gay, Buzz is obviously unsurprised and badly hides it. Along with the rest of the squad, Buzz obviously knew already and even earlier teased Rusty that he had been passed over for an arraigned marriage while helping him study. Buzz also appeared to be the first person Rusty considered telling after Sharon, but was too nervous to go through with it and instead tried to get Sharon to tell everyone for him when he chickened out of telling Buzz.

When Provenza has Buzz get the video of Rusty's visit with his mother, Buzz is shown to be disgusted with Rusty's mother's behavior and actions toward her son. When Rusty was upset that he missed a story he wanted, Buzz told him that there is a story in the murder room for him if he just looks closely enough. Rusty realizes Buzz means the Alice Herrera case and begins his investigation into her real name. Buzz also helps Rusty during his investigations, along with Tao, giving him advice on how to crack a voicemail password on a phone, setting him up with Slider's interrogation tape and acting as his cameraman during his vlog Identity, including when he is filming at the station for interviews with a missing person's detective and Dr. Fernando Morales. Rusty thanks Buzz both times for his help at the end of the vlog, making sure he gets credit for helping him. In one instance, Rusty has Buzz come on camera so that his audience knows who is helping him.

Rusty later aids Buzz in his search for justice for his father and uncle, making it the subject of his third vlog story The Long Shadow. However, their differing takes on how to handle the investigation lead to occasional tension between the two. Rusty's dedication to helping Buzz leads in part to the arrest of the killer when Rusty secretly goes undercover to get his fingerprints for Buzz. After the two close the investigation, Rusty thanks Buzz for helping him come to the revelation that he is an advocate and not a journalist, changing his path in life.

After Phillip Stroh is suspected to have returned, Rusty enlists Buzz's help in starting his own investigation into Stroh's new victims. Buzz helps Rusty get started by obtaining the death reports for Rusty after Rusty can't get Andrea Hobbs to give him the files. When presenting his findings to Major Crimes later on, Rusty states that Buzz helped him put it all together.

Trivia Edit

  • In a blog following “Homewrecker”, James Duff reveals that Buzz' official title is Civilian Surveillance Coordinator. In the real LAPD, that job classification was later replaced by Police Surveillance Specialist.

Buzz Watson wearing his SID jacket.

  • Buzz is officially part of the LAPD's Scientific Investigation Division (SID) but he is exclusively assigned to the Major Crimes Division. He can be seen wearing the SID's jacket when out with the detectives as well as having a different badge from the regular police officers that identifies him as a civilian.
  • Buzz used to drive a Prius. In “Dead Man's Hand” and “To Serve With Love” it is shown to have a license plate of El Buzzo. The Prius later appears in the background of the first segment of The Long Shadow, partially roped off by crime scene tape as part of Buzz and Rusty recreating a crime scene. Buzz eventually sells the car and starts taking a bike as he gets closer to the family of Bill Jones, presumably to help financially support them.

Badges worn by Buzz.

  • Buzz's badge number on his SID issued badge is 77. His badge number as a Reserve Police Officer/Detective is 62941. As seen when Buzz gets a background report on Sharon Beck in “Hindsight, Part 1”​​, his serial number is Watson R37802.
  • Because his stepfather is Mexican, Buzz speaks fluent Spanish. As a result, on occasion he's been called in to translate, notably in “Return to Sender”​​ when a suspect pretends not to speak English and Sharon calls Buzz in. It leaves Buzz with a rather smug look on his face when the suspect is caught in an act because of his translation. Buzz later converses with Eduardo Morales in Spanish in “Dead Drop”​​ and translates a maid's rather humorous comments in “Turn Down”​​. During “Sanctuary City, Part 1”​​, the owners of the house Buzz is leading a search on don't know he speaks Spanish and thus mention a hiding spot they don't want the police to find. Buzz's ability to understand them leads his search teams to a hidden million dollars.
  • He has a sister named Casey, who appeared in "You Have the Right to Remain Jolly".
  • According to Buzz in Identity, the cameras he uses on a daily basis belong to him, not the LAPD.
  • Like the rest of the squad, Buzz is shown to be unsurprised that Rusty Beck is gay. He states in an unconvincing way "we did not know that" after Tao expresses obviously fake surprise that Rusty is gay.
  • Buzz's skill at interrogating Gene Hecht both surprises and impresses the squad along with Rusty. Buzz credits the Major Crimes squad for teaching him the skill.
  • Rusty states that Buzz only gets paid $1 a year before taxes for his role as a Reserve Officer, which is correct even in the real LAPD. He is still generally referred to as "Buzz" though he's called Reserve Officer Watson on Rusty's vlog and occasionally by the squad such as when discussing his investigation or when Flynn had him do some dumpster diving as Reserve Officer Watson after he filmed a crime scene as Buzz.
  • On his first night on the job as a Reserve Officer, Buzz caught a murder case disguised as a suicide which drew the ire of Provenza as it prevented the team from getting to an important Dodgers' game. Regardless, Provenza promised him a good score on his evaluation.
  • When locating Gene Hecht's alibi witness, Buzz identifies himself as Detective Buzz Watson despite not being a detective. Upon hearing this, Provenza is left stunned.
  • In “White Lies, Part 3”​​, when going to arrest Bill Jones for the murders of his father and uncle, Buzz carries a weapon for the first time out-of-uniform. He also wears his Police Officers badge rather than his SID badge during the arrest, meaning he was acting as a sworn police officer rather than a civilian investigator he usually is during normal investigations. He also makes his first official arrest when he arrests Bill Jones for the murders.
  • Buzz wears a suit and tie instead of his everyday clothes when he is acting as a Reserve Officer/Detective. He wears this outfit when he interrogates Gene Hecht, arrests Bill Jones and takes an active role in the disappearance of the St. Joseph's Three in “Sanctuary City, Part 1”​​. Humorously, when Buzz is sent to perform the interrogation, he can be heard stating he needs a tie. In “By Any Means, Part 4”​​, after being reinstated as a Reserve Detective to help take down Phillip Stroh, Buzz is once again wearing his suit jacket and tie. The wearing of the suit jacket as a Reserve Detective can also be explained by the fact that it is an easy way to conceal his firearm, rather than open carrying it in the public.
  • In “Sanctuary City, Part 1”​​, when a member of Buzz's search team addresses Buzz as "sir", Buzz can visibly be seen looking around as if he's anticipating that the officer is talking to one of the other Major Crimes detectives. It takes Buzz a moment to realize that the officer is in fact talking to Buzz himself rather than someone else.
  • A recurring gag in the later seasons of Major Crimes is that Buzz often quotes his Reserve Officer and Reserve Detective training courses during an investigation while providing an idea, often annoying Provenza. After arranging for Buzz to become an actual detective, Provenza jokes that he did it simply to stop Buzz from quoting his courses anymore.
  • In “By Any Means, Part 4”​​, its shown that Buzz keeps a gun in his desk. Though it is unclear how long he has had a weapon of his own, it's probable that is was issued to him only after he became a Reserve Detective. Buzz is seen carrying the gun while acting in an official capacity as a Reserve Officer/Detective, particularly in “White Lies, Part 3”​​ and “Sanctuary City, Part 1”​​. However, he never draws it until “By Any Means, Part 4”​​ when Buzz acts as Provenza's backup in searching a house for Phillip Stroh.

Gallery Edit

The Closer Characters
Brenda Leigh JohnsonSharon RaydorFritz HowardWill PopeRussell TaylorLouie ProvenzaAndy FlynnMichael TaoDavid GabrielJulio SanchezIrene DanielsBuzz WatsonDr. Fernando Morales
Major Crimes Characters
Sharon RaydorLouie ProvenzaAndy FlynnMichael TaoJulio SanchezAmy SykesWes NolanCamila PaigeBuzz WatsonRusty BeckRussell TaylorLeo MasonFritz HowardDr. Fernando MoralesAndrea HobbsKendall

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