TNT Looks Beyond ‘The Closer’ with Spinoff ‘Major Crimes’

Major Crimes (TNT)

Major Crimes,” the new TNT series that is a spinoff of “The Closer,” premieres Monday night with Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) being promoted to head of the Major Crimes squad. The transition is a difficult one as Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) had gained the respect of her team in the years they worked together, so it is no easy task when Raydor takes over the helm.

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The matter is more complicated than most job switches because the team has an axe to grind with her. Even though Raydor makes it clear that she wants to take more of a team approach in her position as leader, the fact remains that it was she who led the internal affairs investigation into the law suit agains Chief Johnson — and it was Raydor who uncovered the leak in the squad.

“‘Major Crimes’ will feel very comfortable to fans of ‘The Closer,'” says executive producer and creator James Duff. “We are not only keeping many of the same cast members but also shooting and editing the show in much the same way. And there will still be a lot of great banter between characters, especially between Raydor and Lieutenant Provenza (G.W. Bailey).”

What we know: The new series will not just focus on getting confessions, which was Chief Johnson’s specialty, but rather also demonstrate how the police and the prosecutors can work together to build a solid case that will result in a suspect signing a plea agreement, or being found guilty in a court of law.

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“The big difference is that we are looking at the justice system differently,” Duff says. “It’s more of a group view, and there’s less agreement about what it means. We’re also trying very hard to get not just to a confession, but to a deal, which means that we will have a district attorney involved. Because the justice system is over-taxed, ‘Major Crimes’ is going to ask a question — I don’t know if it’s being asked overtly — but it is being certainly asked of our government and of our country: How much justice can we afford?

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“Then, a lot of it is also going to be about the rules. Not only do you have someone who believes in the rules running Major Crimes now, but you’re going to have someone who wrote a lot of the rules, running Major Crimes. These guys, who are used to working sort of fast and loose with policy, now have someone who’s saying policy can be our friend.”

The returning characters are — in addition to Raydor and Provenza — Lieutenant Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Lieutenant Mike Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Detective Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) and Buzz Watson (Phillip P. Keene). In addition, Commander Taylor (Robert Gossett), FBI Special Agent — and Brenda’s husband — Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney) and Medical Examiner Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco) will guest-star in several episodes.

Missing are: Assistant Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons, who has moved on to the new ABC comedy “The Family Tools”) and Sgt. David Gabriel (Corey Reynolds, who has a deal with NBC to possibly star in a new series).

Here’s What’s New:

Captain Raydor is nicer than she used to be:
“One of the really beautiful things that James and the writers have done is allowed an organic reveal of other aspects of Captain Raydor, via her relationship, which grew with Brenda,” says McDonnell. “So, there wasn’t a self-consciousness about creating a different woman, or suddenly making her more likeable. They did a great job. And yes, I noticed it. And yes, I loved being able to expose little tiny bits and pieces of humanity in the last season [of ‘The Closer’].”

“Major Crimes” adds two new characters:

Kearran Giovanni will star in Major Crimes as Detective Amy Sykes, an ambitious undercover police detective and military veteran who served in Afghanistan. “Amy is fun, tough, smart, complex,” Giovanni says. “She and I fit. Playing her doesn’t seem like work.[It’s] a role that I have dreamed of playing.”

The series will also add Graham Patrick Martin as a homeless teenager whose character Rusty will be introduced in the final episode of “The Closer.” “I’m excited to work on a drama,” Martin says. “For the past five years, I’ve pretty much worked on sitcoms and nothing else. I love sitcoms. They are so much fun, but I’m really looking forward to doing something different. Also, I’m thrilled to be working with this group of actors. I’ve been watching a lot of ‘The Closer’ lately. They blow me away every episode.”

Guest Star News:
NCIS” star Michael Weatherly, who plays Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo on the hit CBS series, will play Arthur “Thorn” Woodson, a life coach to the wives of a group of Israeli mobsters.

Will Kyra Sedgwick guest star on “Major Crimes”?

“That is definitely a possibility,” Sedgwick said as she wrapped up the final season on “The Closer.”

TNT’s “Major Crimes” premieres Monday, August 13, at 10/9c immediately following the series finale of “The Closer.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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