Assistant Chief Russell Taylor is the LAPD's Director of Operations during Major Crimes until “White Lies, Part 1” of Season 5. The Director of Operations is responsible for managing and coordinating all matters related to field law enforcement and detective operations throughout the city.
At the end of The Closer, Season 1, Taylor received a promotion to Commander and was assigned as the commanding officer of the Robbery-Homicide Division. In Season 4, he transferred to the Office of Operations to be the department's Operations Coordinator, responsible for coordinating between bureaus and divisions to ensure that all commands throughout the city are notified of any major events and that major investigations are shared across geographic boundaries if it is needed for investigative purposes.
Character Information Edit
The Closer Edit
Taylor worked his way to become Captain after 21 years in the LAPD and was assigned to the prestigious Robbery-Homicide Division. Before Brenda Johnson's transfer, Taylor had been supervising the Priority Murder Squad (later renamed to the Priority Homicide Division). He was 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.
Even though he was replaced as the head of the Priority Murder Squad, Taylor remained at Robbery-Homicide, most likely as the Assistant Commanding Officer. At the end of Season 1, he 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 ("Slippin'").
At the end of Season 2, Taylor is given temporary control of Priority Homicide, following an incident where a FBI witness had used Lt. Provenza's gun to kill a FBI 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 becomes noticeably more helpful as he coordinates interaction between the Major Crimes Division and other units as well as the press.
During Season 7, he and Captain Sharon Raydor run interference for Brenda with Chief Pope following the Turrell Baylor case, something that Brenda herself notes. In "Drug Fiend", when Brenda is forced to reopen a cancer clinic, a crime scene, Taylor informs her that he purposefully didn't tell the doctor that part to give Brenda some leverage.
In "Last Rites", Chief Pope reveals that an unsigned complaint he filed against Brenda was an attempted wakeup call because when he becomes Chief permanently, he suspects Taylor will take over as Assistant Chief and won't tolerate Brenda's antics as much as Pope did.
Major Crimes Edit
In “Reloaded”, Taylor informed Lt. Provenza that Raydor was transferred from FID to Major Crimes, therefore making her Provenza's boss. This angered Provenza greatly, especially after Taylor tried to encourage the division to work with Raydor so they could catch the heavily armed robbers, after which Provenza noted that Taylor most likely waited for exactly this moment to replace him, just so he could give a his speech on "pulling together for the good of the city". Afterwards, Provenza noted that they were going to "pull together", not because of Taylor or Raydor, but because it is their duty. He also told Chief Taylor that they need to have a "talk" later.
Later that evening when Taylor returned to his office, Provenza was there waiting for him. Provenza promised to keep it short and opted not to discuss the "insulting" way he was replaced in the middle of an investigation, to which Taylor commented that Provenza wasn't replaced, he just returned to the same position he always had as the second-in-command of MCD. Provenza disagreed with Taylor, as he had been in command of MCD for a week and stated that he wanted to transfer out of MCD and that Raydor would not be able to hold Major Crimes together if he was gone. Taylor told Provenza that they were changing the way Major Crimes works, moving away from confessions to get plea bargains, so the city could save millions of dollars in trial expenses. Taylor also told Provenza that he would not get a transfer and that he needs to stay in Major Crimes or else he would be forced to retire, an order which came directly from Chief Pope.
In “Before and After”, Taylor met with Capt. Raydor in his office and she told him about Det. Sykes' ill timed announcement regarding a sexual assault allegation to the victim's wife but also of Lt. Provenza's anger toward Sykes because she reported directly to Raydor. Taylor noted that they would just have to wait out Provenza until he realizes that he would have never gotten command of MCD permanently. Raydor noted that one issue that might be confusing Provenza is their rank, as Captain is only one step higher than Lieutenant, and Taylor and Chief Pope had promised her a promotion to Commander when she transferred to Major Crimes. Taylor told Raydor that there is a freeze on all promotions for budget reasons and that she should be happy with the transfer but Sharon points out that the promotion freeze doesn't seem to affect Assistant Chiefs (referring to Taylor's recent promotion). Taylor also noted that the transfer was the promotion because of Raydor's background in internal affairs and because she has already qualified for retirement.
Later, Lt. Provenza came to get Taylor to show him what Raydor was up to, referring to Raydor and DDA Hobbs making a deal of involuntary manslaughter with only probation and no jail time to a killer, after which Taylor told him that he had already approved it. Taylor told Provenza that he would much rather do things this way and if Provenza would like to spend 2 million dollars on a trial for a case which they might not even win, what would Provenza prove with it? When DDA Hobbs and the killer's defense finally agreed on a deal, the charge was manslaughter with an 11-year sentence. When Provenza asked Taylor if this is how it would be in the future, Taylor noted that MCD just closed a case in 48-hours after finding the body and with no physical evidence. Taylor also commented that he doesn't know if it's always going to be like this but he seriously hopes so, because he just saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in trial expenses which he can use for overtime and DNA tests.
In “Out of Bounds”, during the investigation into a possible gang-murder, Taylor and Capt. Raydor were less than pleased with each other because of drastically different ideas as to the way the case should be handled. After hearing about the murder, Taylor personally had ordered MCD to investigate it but still ordered a hold on all notifications to family members, stating that the neighborhood is a hotbed of gang activity.
As it turns out, the victim's brother is high up in the Twilight Crips who, according to Det. Sanchez, have been fighting for turf with the Trece Locos. According to Taylor the fights are not just in the streets, either. There has apparently been three black-on-brown fights James Madison High School in just the last month, resulting in the kids' parents getting mad at the LAPD, saying they are not doing their jobs. This apparently nearly "boiled over" at a recent PTA meeting. Taylor states that he knows this not because of the incident reports but because he was there, as his youngest son goes to that school.
After this, Raydor re-iterates that this could be an isolated incident of road rage, but while Taylor says that while it can be just that, there still are "boys" in that neighborhood with guns who do not see it that way. Taylor orders MCD to bring in the victim's brother to the PAB so they can notify him of his brother's death in a controlled environment and that MCD should hold off on contacting the victim's football coach until morning. Raydor states that these restrictions could put MCD very far behind in their investigation but Taylor doesn't budge. Taylor states that it is still the best way to ensure nobody else gets murdered and that James Madison High School doesn't turn into a "shooting gallery." Nearing the end of the investigation, Raydor released the victim's brother against Taylor's wishes, which made Taylor less than pleased. He stated that it is an hour before school ends for the day and they are tossing a lit match at the powder keg, fearing a shoot-out between gang members at the high school.
In “The Shame Game”, Taylor caused annoyance in Capt. Raydor when he allowed the Chief of Staff of a State Senator to monitor the Major Crimes Division's murder investigation, as the victim was a politically connected activist who was working on a bill with the State Senator which would give millions of extra dollars to California law-enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, Taylor's hospitality comes back to bite him as the Chief of Staff is eventually discovered to be the killer but as Taylor had allowed him to observe the investigation, he knows they have no physical evidence tying him to the crime. Fortunately, Capt. Raydor and Lt. Provenza devised a plan that allowed the squad to trick the suspect into panicking and attempting to flee (unsuccessfully). DDA Hobbs offered the suspect a deal: murder two with a minumum of thirty years but with the possibility of parole, which he accepted, in lieu of a public trial and the possibility of the death penalty.
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, he attends Rusty's graduation party which is for Rusty's friends only and is visibly proud of the young man's accomplishment 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”, during the courtroom shooting, Taylor draws his gun and attempts to shoot Dwight Darnell. Due to a shove from a panicked person fleeing the courtroom, Taylor's shot goes into the air but it draws Dwight's attention away from Judge Craig Richwood. Taylor is shot twice in the chest by Dwight before Sharon is able to take him down. Despite Doctor Morales' best efforts, Taylor died of his wounds, leaving everyone deeply grief-stricken.
In “White Lies, Part 3”, Acting Assistant 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.
Through the second half of season 5, there is a competition between Captain Sharon Raydor, Deputy Chief Winnie Davis and Commander Leo Mason to replace Taylor as Assistant Chief. Ultimately, in “Shockwave, Part 2”, Mason is promoted to replace Taylor and grants Sharon the promotion to Commander that Taylor and Chief Pope had denied her when she took over Major Crimes.
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". During Season 7, Taylor acts as an ally to Johnson alongside Captain Sharon Raydor, running interference with Sharon between Johnson and Chief Pope, something that Johnson herself notes. However, despite their better relationship, Chief Pope shows his doubts that Taylor will allow her antics when he becomes Assistant Chief.
In Major Crimes, in his new role as Assistant Chief, Taylor doesn't hesitate to push the new policy of making deals rather than going to trial and occasionally cutting corners due to the budget freeze. After the Major Crimes printer breaks, Taylor refuses to replace it, but is also less than happy with his own printer being used in lieu of the broken one. After Provenza gets a new better printer with his own money, Taylor uses it himself without paying Provenza's fee for it, citing his superior rank. Also due to the budget cuts, Taylor refuses to pay to send someone across the country to investigate a suspect who was previously presumed dead for years. However, he compromises by using his connections to get the Missing Persons' file for the suspect faxed over so the squad at least has something to work with.
Despite his tumultuous history with Major Crimes, by the time of his death, he has earned their respect and affection to the point that everyone is deeply grieved by his loss. Fritz Howard would posthumously call Taylor a hero that they will honor. Indeed, in his final moments Taylor showed his bravery and heroism by standing up to Dwight Darnell, saving Judge Richwood's life at the cost of his own.
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. In the episode “Backfire” of Major Crimes, Chief Taylor even goes so far as to compare Captain Raydor to Chief Johnson, when the division states the difficulty of convincing a murder suspect to confess for a second time under less than desirable circumstances, stating that "Chief Johnson could do it".
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 that he and Chief Pope had lied about her 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. In “Reloaded” its stated that he comes from a military family.
- 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.
- 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.
- Taylor's attempt to take down Dwight Darnell, losing his life in the process saved the life of Judge Craig Richwood. Dwight went to shoot Richwood before Taylor's attempt to stop him caused him to change targets. Taylor likely would've succeeded in stopping Dwight, but a panicked court patron ran into him, inadvertently causing Taylor to shoot into the celling, drawing Dwight's attention to him before Taylor could fix his aim.
Career Information Edit
- 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. (“White Lies, Part 1”)
- Medals and service awards worn by Chief Taylor (“Long Shot”):
|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 • Camila Paige • Buzz Watson • Rusty Beck • Russell Taylor • Leo Mason • Fritz Howard • Dr. Fernando Morales • Andrea Hobbs • Kendall|