Raydor’s hardest job, however, will be gaining the full trust and confidence of her detectives, who aren’t quick to forget her long history of internal investigations targeting them and their previous boss. Especially troublesome is Provenza, who has a difficult time taking orders from someone he doesn’t think knows as much as he does.Viewers bereft at the demise of The Closer will find plenty to like about Major Crimes, another top-notch cop drama from TNT. The connection is no coincidence; with The Closer shutting down following the departure of Emmy winner and star Kyra Sedgwick after seven seasons, the producers were charged with creating what one of them calls “a similar franchise with a new heart,” and this is it.
A significant number of the cast members from the earlier show are back, but there are notable changes as well, most notably the replacement of Sedgwick’s Brenda Johnson by Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell). Hers is not an easy transition. Coming from the Los Angeles Police Department’s dreaded “Force Investigation Division,” Raydor, who also appeared in various Closer episodes, is distrusted and outright disliked by most of her new colleagues, especially old-school lieutenant Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey).
This internecine conflict is a distraction, to say the least, as Raydor is obliged to spend much of the season trying to win the others over, all while working some nasty murder cases (involving kidnapping, gunrunning, human trafficking, military veterans-turned-robbers, a serial rapist, and other unsavory business). And that’s not all. Raydor, long estranged from her husband and the mother of grown children, takes a cynical, parentless teen boy (Graham Patrick Martin) who witnessed a killing under her wing, a story arc that continues across the season’s 10 episodes.
What’s more, there’s the bigger issue of the justice system itself: with the city of Los Angeles having major money problems, the police are not-so-gently encouraged to cut deals with criminals so as to preclude expensive trials, a mandate that does not sit well with the rank and file. The show has its light moments (when a fitness trainer named Chad is found suspended upside down from an apparatus, Provenza immediately dubs him “hanging Chad”) but there’s enough grit to keep police procedural lovers satisfied.
Character to watch: G.W. Bailey as Lt. Louie Provenza.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the series.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?