Phillip P. Keene — that’s hunky surveillance expert Buzz Watson to fans of “The Closer” and “Major Crimes” — plays things close to the chest when it comes to divulging what is ahead for his hugely popular TV homicide investigating team. As the current season continues to unspool on TNT, “I can say we will see dead people,” he notes playfully.
The actor and former Pan Am flight attendant also plays things close to the chest when it comes to chatting about his work life at home and vice-versa. “It works out best that way,” he says — especially since his husband happens to be show creator/executive producer James Duff. They’ve been together for 21 years.
“I have an interesting position here, being one of the cast members and also being so close to one of the executive producers and creators of the show. I’m one of the godfathers to other creators’ children. I’ve got to walk pretty nimbly,” he notes. “I really do try to keep things as separate as I possibly can.”
How does that work? Well, some cast matters never leave the soundstage — not with Keene, anyway — according to him. Duff, meanwhile, “is in the office most of the time, not down on the set,” Keene points out. “When it’s time to be at home together, we give each other space. There are a lot of ways. Sometimes he’ll start conversations on the telephone, and I’ll just walk away. If I don’t see it, I don’t know about it, I can’t talk about it.”
At this point, such I-know-nothing moments are second nature for the affable actor — after seven seasons of “The Closer” and three of “Major Crimes.”
He’s enjoying his gig as much as ever, even after 10 years. “I guess the best part for me is I get to stay and play with the people I like being around,” he says. “We’ve really bonded as a family unit.”