For the past decade fans have had the privilege to truly get to know Lieutenant Detective Louie Provenza, first on The Closer and now on Major Crimes. He’s the chauvinistic and politically incorrect cop who always wears a bucket hat to a crime scene. He makes the fans laugh with his side comments and often acts as the person members of the Major Crimes squad can go to for advice. Despite his attitude, he is caring and compassionate and he empathizes with the members of his squad when one of them is having difficulty dealing with a case.
Provenza also takes his time warming up to people, as shown when Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson took over Priority Homicide and then again when Commander Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) took over Major Crimes. If fans will remember he hated Raydor in the beginning, as did everyone on team. However, he eventually grew to become friends with her and her adoptive son, Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin).
G.W Bailey has played Lieutenant Provenza with amazing talent, which has been reflected over the past ten years by the character’s journey. He started out as the five-time divorcee who swore he’d never get married again to the man who is now married to someone who fans believe will be his last.
So moving into the upcoming season what can the show do with Lieutenant Provenza?
His friendship with Sharon – As we mentioned above, his friendship with Sharon didn’t start out on great terms. He loathed her and her rule-loving attitude. However, her relationship with Rusty made him see the human part of her. Provenza finally saw something more than her work persona. In addition, Rusty’s presence also allowed Provenza to grow close to him which resulted in Provenza and Sharon having something in common. Their love for this kid allowed Provenza to develop a strong friendship with Sharon.
Some of the best moments of the show are when the audience is allowed to see their friendship. For example, when Andy Flynn (Tony Dension) was injured during a case and wanted to keep his condition a secret, it was Sharon and Provenza who held onto this secret. It bonded them. Then when Sharon’s ex-husband revealed Andy’s condition, the duo shared a silent look that asked each other whether or not they should tell the squad the truth. Another instance of this was during Rusty’s situation with his biological father. After Rusty’s father beat him, it was Provenza who stepped up and got behind Sharon in order to protect Rusty.
These are the moments that fans think of first because they are memorable. They are the moments that allow the audience to connect with the character and be able to relate to them. His friendship with Sharon also lets the audience know what is going through Sharon’s head. Provenza is often the one who Sharon bounces theories off of which gives the fans a look inside her mind. It’s a great dynamic and one we’d like to see more of during Season 6.
Provenza and Flynn’s antics – Longtime fans will know that when Provenza and Flynn get together, things are about to get interesting. In the past, these episodes have resulted in Provenza and Flynn running around looking silly while the rest of the squad cleans up the mess they’ve made.
Now, we understand that this is going to be harder to do given the new format of the episodes where the show is less procedural. However, the solution could be that the writers add their antics in the episode in a smaller capacity. Season 6 is going to feature some intense episodes and by having their old antics as a way of lightening the mood, it brings back some old memories that fans loved while showcasing it in a new way.
The series has made a few new changes, beside the format, over the last few seasons with character additions and character deaths. It is part of the reason the series continues to do well. By making changes that don’t upset the fans, but instead add some excitement, the writers are able to keep fans coming back week after week. Now the hard part is keeping this up.
Overall, Lieutenant Provenza is the character that helps to bridge all the other characters together. He helps to show what other characters are thinking and feeling and allows fans to connect to him and everyone else.The writers have written him perfectly and G.W Bailey continues to play him with amazing talent. Is it Halloween yet?
Major Crimes returns October 31 on TNT. For more news related to Major Crimes, be sure to visit this link. (Photo: TNT.)
This story was written by Samantha D’Amico. If you want to follow her on Twitter, you can do so at @SAM_iamXO.