|First appearance||Pilot episode|
|Created by||James Duff|
|Portrayed by||Jon Tenney|
|Occupation||Former FBI Special Agent
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Deputy Chief of Special Operation Bureau
|Family||Brenda Leigh Johnson (wife)
Claire Howard (sister)
Formerly an FBI Special Agent, Fritz Howard, who is now Deputy Chief of the LAPD Special Operations Bureau, is a fictional character featured in the TNT programs The Closer and Major Crimes, and is portrayed by Jon Tenney. Fritz received his initial training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia and has been working for the FBI in Los Angeles for the three years prior to Brenda Johnson's arrival in Los Angeles. Fritz is an old friend of Brenda's and has known her since at least her time in Washington, D.C. Fritz and Brenda were married in the last episode of Season Four. Fritz not only provides her with access to FBI resources and inside information when local resources are unavailable but also emotional grounding for the passionate LAPD Deputy Chief Johnson who can get overly caught up in her investigations. He later continues to aid the Major Crimes division as their FBI liaison after Johnson leaves MCD and, during season 3 of Major Crimes, he retires from the FBI to accept the Deputy Chief position with the LAPD.
Extremely smart and well-liked, Howard has many law enforcement connections and knows how to track down information for criminal cases. He is a true gentleman and would do practically anything for Brenda. He is also very patient and tolerates her work addiction; for example, he is willing to wait hours or even days for her to wrap up a case so that he can see her. When Brenda's mother came to town as the two were moving in together, Fritz suffered a charade for Brenda's sake, and kept all his possessions in a U-Haul trailer so her mother wouldn't find out. He is extremely kind, almost to a fault, when it comes to Brenda, and he is so supportive and loving to her that he might even overstep professional bounds and risk his career to help her with cases. He endures ribbing from his fellow agents as a result of the assistance he gives to the Major Crimes Division, formerly the Priority Homicide Division, the LAPD division headed by Brenda. In the third season Brenda learns that Fritz had two DUIs some years earlier, and is a recovering alcoholic. In Major Crimes, when asked if Howard was a bureaucrat or "one of the good guys", the squad stated he was one of the good guys and not so bad for an FBI agent.
In the Major Crimes episode "Two Options", Howard is offered the job of Deputy Chief of the Special Operations Bureau of the LAPD. Assistant Chief Russell Taylor tells Commander Ann McGinnis that Howard had been an FBI agent long enough that he could easily retire with his full pension and start a second career. Its later mentioned that Howard had been an FBI agent for at least 27 years at that point. After helping resolve a hostage situation, Howard ultimately takes the job and spends his last days as an FBI agent helping solve a case in "Sweet Revenge" before officially taking up the job at the beginning of "Zoo Story." However, Howard has a heart attack at the end of "Sweet Revenge" that he keeps secret from all but Tao, including his wife Brenda. This heart attack requires him to wear an external pacemaker.
In "White Lies, Part 1", Deputy Chief Howard is appointed acting Assistant Chief of Operations after the murder of Assistant Chief Taylor. In the second half of season 5, Howard acts as the Acting Assistant Chief until a new one can be selected and continues to work alongside Major Crimes in this new position. In "Shockwave, Part 2", Commander Leo Mason is promoted to Assistant Chief of Operations and allows Howard to resume his former rank as Deputy Chief of the Special Operations Bureau, something Howard is pleased with due to not desiring Taylor's job in the first place. He is also aware of Sharon's impending promotion to Commander and congratulates her as the last person to call Sharon "Captain".
- 4:15 "Double Blind"
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