Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pilot Review: Major Crimes

Major Crimes (TNT)
Premiered August 13 at 10pm

Airing this pilot right after the series finale of “The Closer” posits it as a direct continuation of that series rather than a standalone show. It’s unlikely that anyone would try to digest it by itself without having any knowledge of or fondness for the long-running procedural, so examining its self-sufficiency isn’t entirely necessary. Instead, it’s better seen as a new direction for a strong ensemble, replacing one eccentric female lead with another. It’s great to see Mary McDonnell in a central role, and without a dependable supporter like Fritz, she’s going to be able to invest herself fully in all of the cases without risking alienating her loved ones. That said, Provenza hates her even more than he hated Brenda at first, and the new drive for plea bargains rather than trials isn’t going to make adjusting to it any easier. Flynn is airing his concerns equally loudly, and it’s going to take a while for both of them to get accustomed to the new structure of power. Taylor being in Pope’s position doesn’t change much, though he does have a better relationship with the detectives than Pope did. I’m excited about the addition of Kearran Giovanni as Detective Sykes since she’ll bring a positive energy to a show filled with otherwise disgruntled detectives. I’m less certain about the notion of Rusty becoming a regular player after his introduction in the series finale of “The Closer,” though I suppose it will do Raydor some good to have some companionship and a CI if ever she needs one.

How will it work as a series? As someone who would have been happy to keep watching “The Closer” for the foreseeable future, I think this show demonstrates extraordinary potential since it’s working to reframe an already successful model that was positively transformed several seasons back with the formation of the squad that serves as this show’s title. Raydor is a great central character, too, so I’m pleased about that.
How long will it last? Given how long its forerunner lasted, I’d expect a long life. Starting it out immediately following the series finale was a smart idea, and its ratings made it the most-watched cable series debut of 2012, a fantastic feat that’s likely to earn this show a renewal on top of its initial ten-episode order soon.

Pilot grade: B+

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