This season, Major Crimes introduced webisodes – bite-sized segments of story released on YouTube and the TNT website to augment the story that aired on TV. Released each Monday night right after the TV episode of Major Crimes finishes, these webisodes star the show’s youngest character, former runaway, Rusty Beck (Graham Patrick Martin).
Webisodes are online-exclusive mini-episodes that can reveal more background to a story or character or show what happened in-between episodes. Many shows have employed this tactic to draw in more viewers and to provide a deeper perspective on characters and situations that they don’t have time for in the usual TV format. You may have seen webisodes from shows like The Walking Dead, Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Dr. Who, or Battlestar Gallactica.
Most webisodes are available on YouTube. With recent numbers released by Google showing that YouTube has more viewers in the 18-49 year old demographic than any single cable network, we may see more and more shows exploring the webisode.
The Major Crimes webisodes, called Identity: What’s in a Name, show Rusty Beck’s attempts to learn the true identity of a 15-year old murder victim known by the pseudonym of Alice Herrera. Rusty tells us that he identifies with Alice because they were both runaways, and he could have easily wound up dead like her. He started the project for school, and it also gives us a chance to see just how and what journalists can cover in a police department, although Rusty is given incredible access because of his relationship with Captain Sharon Raydor.
You don’t need to watch Identity to keep up with Major Crimes. The Major Crimes storyline is completely independent, although the characters on the main show do make references to it, and those references may make you curious.
Here are the webisodes themselves and a brief introduction to each without any spoilers.
The first video log, where he explains why it’s so important to him to find out the true identity of teenage murder victim, Alice Herrera:
In this episode, Rusty interviews the character of Detective Robert Oderno (played by Brandon Barash) from LAPD Missing Persons. In this post, he responds to criticisms to his first video log. The fun thing about this video is many of the questions he answered came from real fans of the show who posted these questions on Facebook or other social media channels.
Rusty takes video from his phone from inside jail where he interviews Greg Slider Rasenick, the young man suspected of murdering Alice Herrera.
Rusty interviews the character of Dr. Morales, the fan-favorite pathologist played by Jonathan Del Arco, in this segment. After nine years of seeing this character on TV, this is the first time we learn Dr. Morales’ first name. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ll have to watch it for yourself.
From Major Crimes' electronics room, Rusty talks about what Alice’s cellphone revealed about her. He also takes a proactive step that was pretty gutsy. In addition to Rusty the character of Buzz Watson, played by Phillip Keene, makes a cameo appearance.
From the Murder Room at the Major Crimes Department of LAPD, Rusty shows the murder board for Alice Herrera and talks about what could be a be a big break in the story.
Rusty takes us to see where both he and Alice used to live in this segment. He also gives us the latest details of the investigation.
Rusty tells us Alice Herrera's real name, but the mystery and the story aren't over.
There are two episodes left in the Major Crimes summer season, which means two more webisodes of Identity. Each edition is posted right after the show finishes on Monday nights (that’s tonight!) on the TNT website, the Major Crimes Facebook page and on YouTube.
James Duff, Executive Producer and Co-Creator of Major Crimes, has said that once Alice Herrera’s Identity is discovered, Rusty’s video log will continue with another story that maps to episodes of Major Crimes that will air this winter.
Have you watched Rusty’s online video log? What do you think so far?
Deborah Lacy is hard at work on a novel and runs Mystery Playground, where they match novel reviews with the perfect drink every Friday.
Read all of Deborah Lacy's posts for Criminal Element!