Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Major Crimes

Welcome back to Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday!

Today I’m jumping in with a TNT series that returned to TV this week—Major Crimes.

Following the conclusion of Brenda Leigh Johnson’s story in The Closer, Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) took the lead in Major Crimes.  Over the last few seasons of The Closer, we tolerated Captain Raydor while she terrorized Brenda Leigh, leading all of the officer-involved investigations (kind of like Internal Affairs).  But we also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who stood by Brenda Leigh and did everything in her power to protect the Deputy Chief.  So how does Captain Raydor do leading Brenda Leigh’s team?

That’s right—almost the entire cast of The Closer returned for the new series.  I said almost… this is the first major difference between the two shows.  Besides losing Brenda Leigh, obviously, the team also lost David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) and we haven’t seen the recently promoted Chief of Police (Chief Pope, played by J.K. Simmons).

Once a TV series loses a character, it usually makes sense to replace that role.  Enter Kearran Giovanni as Detective Amy Sykes, the newest member of the Major Crimes unit.  As expected, Detective Sykes ruffled the feathers of a few of the veterans on her way to her new position… especially Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey).  But that could be because Detective Provenza was already bothered by Raydor’s promotion, since he had been leading the team in the interim.  It could also be Detective Sykes’ eagerness and her constant over-reaching and jumping in where she doesn’t belong.  Either way, her abrupt nature didn’t fit in right away with the others, but she’s growing on them and it’s just a matter of time before they accept her fully.

Captain Sharon Raydor

Monday nights will never be the same again without The Closer; but for what it’s worth, TNT is softening the blow with Major Crimes.  Raydor may not close cases like Brenda Leigh, no one ever will for that matter; but what Brenda mastered in closing a case and prying a confession out of her suspect, Raydor will match in her ability to settle the case—saving Los Angeles a ton of money (the second major difference between the two TV shows).

How will our favorite group of detectives handle their new leader’s style?  Once again, Provenza doesn’t like it in the least.  None of them really do, but he’s the most likely to speak out against Raydor.  But there is nothing he can do; the Major Crimes unit is to work with the District Attorney’s office every step of the way in trying to skip the courtroom and walk the criminals directly to their prison cells—Chief’s orders.

In addition to the drama, The Closer episodes promised humor, and I found myself smiling at each episode’s end regardless of how gruesome their case.  Most of the fun centered around the interactions of the team: Gabriel, Provenza, Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Buzz (Phillip P. Keene), and Commander Taylor (now Assistant Chief, played by Robert Gossett).  At first, I thought this to be the third major difference between The Closer and Major Crimes.  However, as the series has progressed, I’ve changed my tune.  I love the comments and the interactions between the characters.  Just like I did with The Closer.

Oh, the sarcastic Raydor smile…

The new series has focused on developing the Raydor character and the show really has done a great job (of course, they had no choice; she had some really tough shoes to fill).  Initially, The Closer fans didn’t like her; but the writers and creators slowly began to appeal to the viewers with a softer Raydor—a Raydor that even Brenda Leigh started to like.  I mean, let’s be real; if Brenda Leigh likes her, so will Brenda Leigh’s fans… right?

Which leads me to the next major difference between the two shows… the addition of Rusty Beck (played by Graham Patrick Martin), a homeless teen who was left with no other choice than turning to prostitution in order to survive.  Brenda Leigh initially discovered Rusty working her final case for the LAPD; but in her departure, Raydor has now stepped in and promised to continue Brenda Leigh’s work searching for Rusty’s mother (which she has done successfully) and protecting him while he awaits a trail in which he is scheduled to testify against a serial killer.  Rusty now lives with Raydor and the viewers slowly see the maternal side of Raydor kicking in.  She’s not just a ball-buster, she’s a mother.

It’s no Closer, but Major Crimes still has the characters I’ve grown to love over the years.  Raydor may not be Brenda Leigh, and she has a long way to go to establish herself on the same level in my opinion, but I’m not giving up.  Major Crimes is definitely worthy of a watch… therefore, I’m awarding it with the MacTV rating.  I’m happy to see it back on the TV schedule and I can’t wait to watch the Rusty storyline unfold.

Rusty… the teenage boy who has been adopted by LA’s finest.

What do you think?  Have you checked out Major Crimes?  How do you feel it fares compared to The Closer?  I’d love to hear from you!

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

2 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Major Crimes”

  1. Hi Tiffany, I watch Major Crimes. I have a crush on Captain Raydor and by proxy Mary McDonnell. I ad the same feelings for Brenda Leigh, but we must move on. Where Brenda ws a sledge hammer enclosed in a feather pillow, luring the miscreant into believing that any lies they told would hold water while she knew the truth. Capt. Raydor relies on the skills of the team and her, how can I say this, nut busting abilities she honed doing internal investigations. Anyone else at the helm the team would operate like cats being herded. She has the spine to keep Provenza mollified and exercise her authority.

  2. I absolutely adore Major Crimes. I was a loyal viewer of The Closer but became disillusioned with Brenda Leigh’s narcissistic behavior and her disregard for the law! I just couldn’t watch her any more. So I stopped!!
    But when I heard that Mary McDonnell was joining the cast I started watching again. Mary is a phenomenal actress and brought a whole new dimension to the show. When the spin off was announced I couldn’t have been happier.
    Under Sharon’s leadership the team has become a cohesive crime solving unit with each member being allowed to show their skills, something we rarely saw when Brenda was in charge.
    I will be a loyal viewer till the end!!

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