Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.
The Show: Major Crimes, TNT, Mondays at 9/8c
Note: I went into this almost blind: I watched the first few episodes of The Closer to prepare for this, so I’d have some idea of context, but I have no idea how that show ended.
The Pedigree: Let’s just say “from the people who brought you The Closer.”
The Cast & How You Know Them: Actors from The Closer who have made the jump include Mary McDonnell, Phillip P. Keene, Tony Denison, G.W. Bailey, Raymond Cruz, Michael Paul Chan, Robert Gossett, and Jon Tenney. New recurring characters are played by Graham Patrick Martin (Two and a Half Men), Kearann Giovanni (One Life to Live), and Anthony Ruivivar (Burn Notice, The Whole Truth).
The Premise: Major Crimes is a spin-off from The Closer: Captain Raydor has now taken over, and there are various changes afoot in the department, but they’re still solving . . . major crimes. Obviously.
What Works: First of all, I have to say that Mary McDonnell is a phenomenal actress and I love seeing her in a leading role here. She did a great job of making me immediately invested in her character. (The supporting cast all seemed fine as well, but none of them particularly stood out for me in the pilot.) It’s always a little hard to tell from a pilot, but so far, it seems like the show will do a good job of balancing interesting mysteries of the week with ongoing character arcs.
What Doesn’t: This pilot was definitely not as newbie-friendly as I’d hoped. While I respect that they just jumped in like this, I also found it a little frustrating, because there were clearly a lot of interpersonal conflicts and departmental politics going on and I felt like I only understood about half of it. (Even a half-hour special summarizing things for new viewers would have helped.) Overall, though, it was engaging enough to make me want to keep watching, and I hope that I’ll pick up any necessary information over the next few episodes (or by consulting Wikipedia).
Our Favorite Line: “Having raised two teenagers of my own, I have a tremendous capacity for ingratitude.”
Other Items of Note: I’d be curious to hear what dedicated fans of The Closer think of this so far. If you have an opinion, please hit the comments!
You Might Like This if you liked The Closer, one assumes, or other procedurals with strong character-based elements. The way the police team worked reminded me somewhat of The Mentalist.
If You’re Interested: If you missed the premiere, you can watch it this coming Monday at 8/7c, right before the new episode airs at 9/8c.
(Photo courtesy of TNT.)