COMMENTARY | I had high hopes for the Mary McDonnell lead Major Crimes, a spin-off of one of TNT’s most successful dramas, The Closer helmed by Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
Featuring almost the entire original cast including Jon Tenney as FBI Special Agent (and Johnson’s husband) Fritz Howard, the show launched with incredible hype and an already established audience. McDonnell’s Captain Sharon Raydor was a newcomer to the established team but was not an unfamiliar face after having been a cast member on The Closer for several seasons as Brenda’s one-time nemesis turned staunchest supporter.
TNT’s Major Crimes started off by showing Raydor acclimate herself to the role of leader and the team’s natural feelings of discomfort with having to call the woman who once investigated them for misconduct “Boss,” McDonnell’s character was given a humanizing angle by showcasing her developing relationship with Rusty, a teen-runaway turned key witness who made his first appearance in The Closer’s finale. Played with a perfect mix of hardened “pro” and teen angst by Graham Patrick Martin, Rusty is a polarizing character for fans of the show who can’t decide if they are annoyed by his antics or appreciative of the family dynamic void he fills in Raydor’s life.
After last night’s somewhat lackluster Season 1 finale which had the team chasing after an elusive hitman and coming together to help Rusty handle a sensitive family situation, I’m on the fence as to whether this show can live up to the quality of The Closer. Much like its predecessor, Major Crimes’ cast is stellar, but the plots already suffer from an air of predictability. The difference being that The Closer began as something new and fresh, with plotlines and dialogue that popped before it inevitably ran out of steam and Sedgewick made her graceful exit.
TNT has already renewed Major Crimes for a 15-episode second season. Kicking off next summer, only time will tell if this new spin-off can find its footing and become The Closer replacement fans want it to be.
What did you think of TNT’s The Closer spin-off Major Crimes? Sound off in the comments below!