June 9, 2014

THE SKED Season Premiere Review: “Major Crimes”



MAJOR CRIMES returned for its third season tonight with a grim but unremarkable hour.  The episode, written by Co-Executive Producer Michael Alaimo and directed by David McWhirter, tipped off its hand very early for anyone raised on cop procedurals:  when the wife and mother of a missing family showed up at the police station not just with her mother and sister but with a cousin who didn’t seem to need to be there, clearly he was going to be at the center of the mystery.  The fact that the solution turned out to involve incest on top of multiple murders was a little garish, but hardly new territory for a contemporary cop show.

No one at TNT has any interest in altering Major Crimes in a substantial way, so it remains what it was when it launched in 2012:  the remaining bones of The Closer, which needed a rehaul when Kyra Sedgwick decided not to go on with that show, shaped around Mary McDonnell’s steelier, less charming or funny Captain Sharon Raydor.  The squad remains in place, most of them still around from Closer days–G. W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, Kearrann Giovanni, Philip P. Keane, Robert Gossett–each of them getting an occasional chance to hold the spotlight (tonight Cruz, as Detective Sanchez, furiously overturned the suspect’s chair and table when it became clear that the two missing children had indeed been murdered).

As usual, the only serialized storyline involving a character’s private life featured Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin), Raydor’s ex-street hustler adopted son who’ll eventually be the key witness in a murder case.  In tonight’s premiere, he had a scene at the episode’s very end to introduce the fact that his (hopeless, drug-addicted) birth mother has come back into his life, which will presumably be a source of continuing drama this season.  (The show is still treating Rusty’s seemingly clear homosexuality as a weirdly traumatic revelation–tonight he yet again failed to say it out loud to Bailey’s Lt. Provenza, who’s become the boy’s surrogate grandpa, even though Provenza was practically begging him to get it over with.)

Major Crimes skews very old for TNT, with 18-49 ratings of 0.7-0.8 that represent just 20-25% of its mostly 50+ audience.  There’s strength in numbers, though, and Major Crimes is very steady fare, both creatively and in its ratings among elder viewers, and it will probably continue to hold its position on the network for some time to come.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."