Major Crimes Series Premiere: “Reloaded”

When one show closes, sometimes a spin-off opens . . . but Major Crimes has big shoes (or at least a big purse) to fill.

We open with a screen split into four segments showing security footage of a robbery. Sirens sound and the suspects are shot by police when exiting the building. Bullet holes abound in almost every car in the lot, obviously shot from semi-automatic weapons.

Provenza, in his ridiculous white hat, takes charge of the crime scene. We already know he is one of the good guys even before he puts that hat on. He walks up to Sykes, a female detective wearing a badge, and asks if this is the worst undercover job ever. She looks pregnant to me.

Sharon Raydor
Thanks, but no thank yew.
Detective Miller, also at the scene, has been involved in investigating the burglaries. When asked why Sykes and Miller didn’t go after the suspects with the big, bad automatic weapons, Sykes responds that according to LAPD policy and Raydor’s division, they had to wait at the scene to be interviewed because they had killed suspects.

Then Sykes bad-mouths Raydor, talking about her crazy ideas and how nuts it is that they couldn’t follow the suspect.

Flynn and Provenza don’t bother to hide their disdain.

Taylor is now assistant chief, and he’s at the scene supporting the enforcement of FCID rules and Raydor’s policies. He then starts talking about making real changes in the way they do things. Provenza doesn’t like it.

Sanchez is looking at the cars with all of the bullet holes. Provenza is taking charge of the case. He asks Flynn to interview the surviving suspect who is sitting in the police car.

Sykes approaches Provenza about the opening in Major Crimes. Provenza nixes it saying, “Usually, Sykes, people hold off from asking for a promotion after they’ve done something right.”

Back in the police car we watch Flynn interview the suspect and we are reminded why Brenda did all of the interviews. Flynn wants one of the other cops to pretend he is the DA, but while he’s trying to convince Miller to do it, the suspect is shot in the head by a sniper on the roof.

Fritz has now arrived at the scene and Tao reviews the bullet trajectory. Sanchez theorizes that the suspects were all military. As Provenza supervises the crime scene, Taylor is showing Raydor around and then the captain asks Provenza to update her. Provenza blows her off at first, and then informs her that he doesn’t owe her a briefing.

Taylor selects this moment tell Provenza that that Raydor’s been transferred to Major Crimes and she is now the ranking officer. Why do I think Taylor enjoyed telling him this?

Lieutenant Provenza
Not having a good day.
Provenza approaches Raydor and says “Ok, I’ll give you a briefing—you’re late, and you may be the ranking officer but I am the incident commander and I’m not halting a search for suspects with automatic weapons so you or anybody else can catch up.”

“Major Crimes has a history of ignoring LAPD policy and leaving others to deal with the consequences,” says Raydor.

So now Provenza is penalized for trying to do things the Brenda way.  

Rusty, the 16 year old from The Closer is back. His foster family didn’t work out and he was sent back to Major Crimes. He wants to speak with Brenda. He’s ticked because he helped catch a serial killer and then he got dumped into another terrible foster family. Sharon takes Rusty into her new office to talk. She is clearly excited that it’s her office as she talks to Rusty. My favorite part was when Raydor opened one of the desk drawers and found a bunch of candy.

Rusty was the voice of reason in the last episode of The Closer and he is here again, “I don’t know you really, but I don’t like you. So I’d rather just deal with Brenda.”

Raydor answers him. “Well, I’m afraid you are standing in the back of a very long line.”

Buzz comes in to warn Raydor that Taylor is on the way.  

Fritz provides background on all of the suspects and their military history. The squad is holding back. They don’t start cooperating until Provenza tells Assistant Chief Taylor they need to have a conversation later and they will cooperate because it’s their jobs.

None of them served in the same place or in the same branch. There is no connection. Sykes pipes up that she is a veteran and that they could have met at a gun range. Or playing online since all of the suspects had the same computer game.

Then Tao finds another dead suspect on the roof where the shots were fired on the police car.

Taylor announces there will be changes in focus of Major Crimes to making deals. Provenza doesn’t like it and he wants a transfer. Taylor says Provenza has two options: Major Crimes or retirement. Provenza goes back to his desk and stares at his badge. He sees Sykes and asks what she is doing there. Of course Raydor transferred her in.

No one is happy with Raydor, and Flynn takes his turn to complain. Flynn points out that anywhere else in the world that suspect would not be at the scene when he got shot. And every problem they’re having in this investigation is because of Raydor.

Flynn and Provenza on the case

This sparks Raydor to realize that the suspects must know LAPD rules. Together Raydor and Flynn connect the dots–the targets of the robberies, the approach–all required knowledge of the cases and LAPD procedure. They remember that Miller’s son was in the military, had a meth problem, and lives at home. He has access to all the information the burglars have. They get a search warrant. Sanchez and Miller go to Miller’s home. His son is there. They send him into the garage and the squad arrests him. They search the place.

Rusty comes back and wants answers about his mom. Raydor threatens him with a detention center.

There’s another DA in the mix and he wants to cut a deal with Miller’s son. It sounds to Provenza like they are letting the guy get away with murder to save money on trials. I liked this part about as much as Provenza did.

Later, Provenza notices Sykes unpacking boxes. Raydor approved her transfer to Major Crimes. He calls Sykes the biggest two-faced ass kisser he’s ever met. Then Provenza gets mad at Raydor for making the deal to save money. Raydor retorts that the murderer has been put away, and they can’t appeal. Provenza then complains about Sykes’s new position on the team.

Raydor says she brought Sykes on board because she needed one person who actually likes her on the team. But of course Provenza has to tell her that Sykes doesn’t like her, she’s just sucking up. As if Raydor isn’t having enough of a bad day, Fritz shows up to retrieve Brenda’s candy from her desk drawer and to check on how Rusty is doing. Raydor decides to take Rusty home with her.

Rusty asks what they should call one another. Raydor says he can call her Captain Raydor. Then Rusty says he can call him Mr. Beck because if she is going to be the police captain in their relationship, he will be the witness. She tells him, that he can call her Sharon. But he asks if she is joking. Sharon is his mother’s name and Raydor obviously didn’t know. She hasn’t been looking for his mother at all. Raydor promises to find his mother and she sinks into the couch and hugs a pillow. This ends the first episode of Major Crimes.

After seeing both episodes, I wish we’d had a week to digest the end of The Closer before we started Major Crimes. The culmination of seven Closer seasons was beautiful and fitting. The start of Major Crimes wasn’t so smooth. I feel like Provenza did the entire episode: there was too much change, Sykes was annoying, Taylor had regressed to his old tricks, and I missed Brenda. Watching deals being made may not be as satisfying as watching criminals confess, even if it is more realistic.

But I will watch Major Crimes next week in hopes that the new show will be great because I hope it can be.

What did you think of the first episode of Major Crimes? Do you like deal-making as much as the confessions? Are you as annoyed as Provenza? Will you watch again next Monday?

Deborah Lacy likes speakeasies, yellow heirloom tomatoes, and crime fiction. She blogs over at Mystery Playground. She’s on Twitter @quippy.

Read all posts by Deborah Lacy for Criminal Element.


  1. Carmen Pinzon

    I sure hope Taylor doesn’t regress too much. He’d come such a long way from the beginning of The Closer. I actually liked the ‘bumpiness’ of the show. Taking over a close-knit group in such circumstances cannot be easy. I’ll give Raydor a chance. As for Sykes, a good antagonist may be fun.

  2. Saundra Peck

    I found the debut of Major Crimes much as I expected it… Brenda’s squad was already in turmoil, still upset about the handling of the leak and not sure how they resolve trust issues. They became very protective of her, so not wanting to change their style was to be expected. But I think in order for Sharon to make her way, she will have to earn her respect just as Brenda had to suffer as an outsider from Atlanta. I will keep watching, as I know how awesome the last 7 years have been with this fabulous group.

  3. Leigh

    I think you may be right about needing a week to digest Brenda Leigh’s exit. I have to say watching them make deals infuriates me. They ALWAYS give more than they get. I do like the cast and agree that Sharon will have to earn their respect. I guess we’ll see . . .

  4. RY

    Is it me or was Sykes pregnant at the beginning of the episode and NOT by the time she takes her desk at the end of the episode. Kind of a miss in continuity!

  5. Deborah Lacy

    @bungluna – I agree – I liked the evolved Taylor at The Closer end so much more than the return to this Taylor. I guess I did expect bumpiness and I knew Brenda would leave a hole, but after that finale the transition was rougher than I had hoped.

    @sk1336 – You are so right about the last seven years and although Major Crimes needs a little seasoning, it’s was still better than many of the shows out there.

    @Leigh – I think it might help once we see how it helps execute justice more efficiently. I hope we get to see that.

    @RY – I had the same trouble with the pregnancy/non-pregnancy and Sikes. I re-watched her first scene twice to check. I thought maybe she was just in a bad outfit, but maybe it was a storyline decision change. They should have fixed it anyway. A pregnant Sikes would have made an interesting twist.

  6. Mysterygirl

    It’s quick and easy to miss, but there is a scene in which Sikes pulls out the fake, plastic “pregnancy” before they all leave the parking lot.
    I think most of the characters are worth watching, but doubt that Raydor is a strong enough lead. She’s very bland, and was perfect as a support character, but not a lead.

  7. Doris Wahl

    Sykes was undercover when we first see her….I suspect she was wearing a “fake baby bump” to blend into the surroundings and not be made as a cop. But this wasn’t addressed during the show, and the only hint was when she slid down the side of the car and grabbed her gun when the cops thought they were being shot at.

  8. Deborah Lacy

    @Mysterygirl and dmw100 – thanks for the heads up on this one.

    @Mysterygirl – I’m hoping Raydor can. It is hard to transition from a rule enforcer to leader. It didn’t seem like she had staff in her former job, but surely she must have.

  9. Carmen Pinzon

    I think I saw Sykes take a fake baby bump out when the cops were being shot and throw it by the side of a car.

    As for Raydor, I remember the episode where she shot a suspect with a beanbag gun (?). I thought that whole scene set her up to be a different kind of lead. I wouldn’t want a ‘Brenda wanna be’ lead myself.

  10. Deborah Lacy

    @bungluna – I loved the episode where Randor shot the bean bag gun. She also had trouble duing the car chase – like she hadn’t done it in awhile and it seemed to be energizing her. In general, I think Brenda energized Raydor. Opened up more possibilities and I hope we can see her growth.

  11. CCRyder

    I will watch one or 2 more times. If it doesn’t improve I’m out of here.
    Brenda was a sympathetic character; the only sympathetic character now is Provenza.
    He would be a better lead than Raydor.

  12. Deborah Lacy

    @CCRyder – Provenza would make a good lead character. So would Sanchez, I think.

  13. Olivia B.

    Hope Brenda Leigh and Gabriel will be happy in their new jobs together. 🙂 As for Major Crimes, I can’t see Raydor in the lead role. I agree with the poster who said she is bland. Bland and predictable and I don’t like her and don’t expect to ever start to like her. There. Between Raydor and the pushy D.A. I may be forced to forego this show because they make my BP shoot up. Bossy people. Leave Provenza alone.

  14. Deborah Lacy

    @OliviaB. – I understand where you are coming from. I’m hoping DDA Baldwin is gone or at least de-emphasizied. Of all the people we’ve seen in the district attorney’s office, I prefer Hobbs.

  15. Terrie Farley Moran

    Great comments here. I intend to watch the entire first season to see what gets sorted out and what doesn’t. I just don’t “buy” Rador taking Rusty in as a foster child until they find his mother. Obviously they wanted to show us Raydor’s personal side and perhaps finding the mother will turn into a good story line, but with all the chaos the squad is facing, I thought it an unnecessary addition.

  16. Deborah Lacy

    @Terrie – excellent points. I am going to keep watching too. I am far from ready to give up. I’m also going to recap MC for Criminal Element next week, so come back and tell us what you thought.

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