Home > Lifestyle > Entertainment > TV
Wednesday September 4, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday September 4, 2013 MYT 8:48:33 AM
by s. indramalar
New boss on the block: The Major Crimes division has a new boss, Captain Sharon Raydar (Mary McDonnell), and she plays by the book.
Crime procedural 'Major Crimes' picks up right where 'The Closer' left off. But does it live up to its predecessor?
LET me begin by addressing the elephant in the room: Major Crimes, the spin-off from the much-loved crime procedural The Closer, isn’t half bad. In fact, it’s pretty good … so far.
Let’s face it – television spin-offs have not had the best track record when it comes to living up to expectations. Taking a much-loved TV show (or character) and trying to create that same magic isn’t easy. Some shows have succeeded (Angel was an awesome spin-off from Buffy, as was Frasier, the sitcom born from Cheers), while others have failed miserably – anyone remember Joey (Matt LeBlanc’s spin-off from Friends)? No? Well, exactly.
But one of the reasons Major Crimes works is because there is continuity in the hand off.
The Closer came to a close after seven seasons when its star Kyra Sedgewick, who played the lead character Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, decided to pursue other acting projects. She wanted to exit on a high, which she did after winning an Emmy award for the role in 2010.
At the end of The Closer, Chief Johnson accepts a new job offer after an emotionally-draining season which saw her losing her mother and a face-off with arch nemesis, serial rapist Philip Stroh (Billy Burke). The case took a lot out of Johnson and she decides she needs a fresh start.
This is where Major Crimes picks up, immediately. Heading the Major Crimes division is Captain Sharon Raydor, played by Mary McDonnell who joined the series in Season Five as a recurring guest star, much to the chagrin of everyone in the department.
As most of the main characters from The Closer have remained with Major Crimes: Lieutenant Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Lieutenant Flynn (Tony Denison), Lieutenant Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Detective Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Buzz Watson (Phillip P. Keene) and Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett), Raydor has to, firstly, win the support of her team who are still in shock over the departure of their beloved Chief Johnson.
Raydor takes a different approach to closing cases. While she, too, is determined to get the bad guys off the street, she’s a lot more pragmatic about it. She’s not the ace interrogator that Brenda was but she is an ace investigator who is extremely methodical and goes by the book.
Unlike Johnson, Raydor isn’t willing to let the judicial system decide on the fate of the bad guy. If a case goes to court, she knows there might be a possibility the baddie will get off on a technicality. She won’t take that chance and thus believes in cutting deals. This way, the crook may get a lesser sentence but he/she will at least be behind bars for a good while.
Just like its predecessor, Major Crimes manages to maintain a balance between the suspense and the light, comedic elements which won the show fans in the first place.
However, while Sedgwick’s Johnson provided much of the comic relief what with her eccentricities and (not so) secret addiction to chocolate as well as deceptive southern charm which she used to her advantage in The Closer, here in Major Crimes, the comedy is largely thanks to the antics of Provenza and Flynn.
Raydor comes off as serious but the character becomes likeable soon into the series. She’s tough and proper but we learn not to judge a lady by her horn-rimmed glasses. She’s quirky too … just in a different way. And, she’s intensely loyal to her team which is something that warms them (and us viewers) up to her pretty quickly.
The series attempts to show Raydor’s softer side with the introduction of the “mother-son” relationship with Rusty Beck (Graham Patrick Martin), the key witness in the aforementioned Stroh case. As Rusty is a material witness in this case, the District Attorney wants to place him in the witness protection programme; Raydor steps in and decides to foster the 17-year-old runaway.
She develops a maternal fondness for Rusty (we learn later that she has three children of her own and a dysfunctional marriage). However, her decision is called into question when Rusty starts receiving anonymous threatening letters.
The story surrounding Rusty becomes the over-reaching arch for the series.
At the moment, this partciular story seems a little forced. Yes, the writers probably want to show another dimension to Raydor and maybe even introduce her personal life to the viewers but it doesn’t quite work. Well, not yet.
Maybe it’s because the Stroh case is over and Rusty’s character seems redundant here. But it’s too early to make a call and so far, Major Crimes has won enough points to keep me tuning in each week.
Major Crimes airs every Tuesday at 9.50pm on Warner TV (HyppTV Ch 613).
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Entertainment, TV, Major Crimes
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)