Russell Taylor (The Closer)
|Commander Russell Taylor|
|First appearance||Pilot episode|
|Created by||James Duff|
|Portrayed by||Robert Gossett|
|Occupation||Commanding Officer Later Assistant Chief, LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division|
Commander Russell Taylor is a fictional character featured in TNT's The Closer, portrayed by Robert Gossett. Commander Taylor is the Commanding Officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Robbery-Homicide Division. He is also one of two characters on the show who have real-life equivalents on the LAPD, although his rank is one step higher. A hard worker who has risen through the ranks, he is extremely resentful of Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson's status and the respect she receives from the officers working with her. He does what he can to undermine her at every turn, under the guise of trying to assist in the case.In The Closer spinoff Major Crimes Taylor becomes the Assistant Chief of Operations for the LAPD
He worked his way up to Captain after 21 years with the LAPD. Before Brenda Johnson transferred to Los Angeles, Taylor headed up the Priority Homicide Division. He was removed from that position when too many celebrity cases were handed to the DA with "less than compelling" evidence.
At the end of season 1, Taylor was promoted to the rank of Commander by Chief Pope in return for dropping a "conduct unbecoming an officer" complaint against Deputy Chief Johnson. Since his promotion, Taylor appears to be more willing to work with Johnson and even has asked for her help in a few cases, however he is still a vocal opponent of her condescending attitude.
Tough and extremely ambitious, Taylor earned the loyalty of his detectives by helping them gain advanced education and promotions. Taylor has demonstrated resentment and insecurity ever since he was taken off the Priority Homicide Squad and was passed up for a promotion. He is extremely unhappy about Brenda Johnson's joining the LAPD as Deputy Chief, and he will do practically anything to undermine her authority or get rid of her altogether.
Manipulative and power hungry, Taylor isn't above tampering with an investigation or lying to undercut Johnson. The only thing more important to Taylor than demoralizing Johnson is being promoted. Because of his malicious behavior, Taylor is beginning to lose the respect of many detectives who formerly admired him. It was most evident in Lt. Flynn, once as anti-Brenda as Taylor, soon came around after she defended him in a cold case where his mistakes could have cost him his job and pension while his erstwhile friend Taylor was more than willing to "throw him to the wolves".
Taylor was temporarily given control of the detectives in the Priority Homicide Division while Dep. Chief Johnson was on administrative leave at the end of season 2, following a shooting incident in the murder room, during which Lt. Provenza's gun was used by a federal protective witness to kill a federal officer.
Taylor, however, grew to respect Chief Johnson's abilities when she helped solve the murder of his family friend's son. As time has passed the two have worked better together and the animosity between their divisions has decreased considerably.