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Pilot Review: MAJOR CRIMES

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The pilot hit list of the TV season 2012/2013. Which one is the best TV pilot of that season, and which one is the worst?

01. Puberty Blues (Drama, Channel 10) – with a rating of 7.5
02. Go On (Comedy, NBC) – 5.5
03. Animal Practice (Comedy, NBC) – 3.5

Season 1, Episode 1
Date of airing: Aug 13, 2012 (TNT)
Nielsen ratings information: 7.184 million viewers, 1.5 million viewers and 1.2 rating with A18-49, 2.0 million viewers with A25-54

The second part of the two-parter “Not really a pilot”, this time even more than the previous Aussie effort PUBERTY BLUES. I actually didn’t want to watch MAJOR CRIMES at all, since I only know one season of THE CLOSER (which I liked, but I never cared to continue watching the show), and since I’ve heard and read that the spin-off will pretty much take almost all the cast from THE CLOSER, the same setting, maybe even the same stories, and will just tell those with a new face at the front. The thing is (and the reason why I watched it): I like the new face in the front. And I also wanted to know if a TV pilot can be a pilot for new audiences, when it jumps out of another TV series, and when it’s even more of a “new season” of THE CLOSER (just without the closer). The result: Yes, it can be, but it still hurts a bit, when I’m left out of a storyline previously arranged in the series finale of THE CLOSER, and getting its continuation here. Even though the episode found a nice way around it at the end.

It was an entertaining premiere, and this mostly for a reason I haven’t seen quite often in television: What comes after the crime? I know the whole LAW & ORDER franchise went through this, but I never really watched the show (only a few first season episodes of the original), and I think to have the conviction of the crime as a major part of the show could be a good idea. Especially for TNT and their (most of the times usual) approach to crime television. The suspect was known to the audience after half the episode went by, and the rest was all about finding a plea bargain for the suspect. Something you might see in a crime drama every few episodes, but not as a major plot point of the show itself. That might make MAJOR CRIMES repetitive after a short while, but I liked how many people were involved in the plea bargain, and that there is an opposition to the “new order” of the LAPD. It is obvious how Provenza (G.W. Bailey) thinks about the new approach, and it seems obvious that our new hero, Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell), doesn’t care about opposite opinions at all. As long as she gets the cases closed, she is happy. As long as she saves the city money while doing it, she could start eating chocolate. The opposition between Provenza and Raydor was definitely the most interesting part of the episode, but how long is that plot point going to live in the first season? How long will it take for Provenza to accept his new boss, and to be part of a group of chosen (LAPD’s finest) investigating crime and putting the bad guys behind bars?

That’s what I meant with the chance of MAJOR CRIMES being repetitive very soon. The most interesting part of the premiere is basically blown already, because you can’t bring it in every episode. But other than that, the part of the conviction can bring in some thrill into the episodes. It’s not like in almost any other crime drama out there, where the detectives (or the consultants, who aren’t even official federal or governmental employees) try to find the suspect/murderer and get him every time with five minutes to spare, before the episode is over. In MAJOR CRIMES, there is tension in the interrogation room, especially with a detective, a district attorney and a lawyer in the room, arguing what is good or bad for the suspect. The juridical side of a crime is shown, which is more interesting than Patrick Jane’s new theory of getting to the nerves of a killer, or the scenes in the CSIs, where the scientists are analyzing evidence and finding a big-ass hair on a pair of glasses, which no one was able to find before.

Only Rusty’s (Graham Patrick Martin) story… Well, I know it was introduced in the series finale of THE CLOSER, but wouldn’t it have been better to start this storyline in MAJOR CRIMES? What does it bring exactly, when you start a storyline in a different show, just to continue it in the pilot of a “new show”? I know, MAJOR CRIMES is a different case here, but it was something that bugged me. On the other hand: Rusty and Raydor have quite the chemistry, and him moving into her place was a nice way of getting into a new storyline. Not Rusty being the witness, not Raydor trying to find his mom. But both accepting the new path of life, and realizing that you can’t have anything, but can still be happy about what life is giving you (oh god, that was just cliché from me).

All in all, surprisingly entertaining for a new viewer of the CLOSER franchise. It doesn’t bring me to watch THE CLOSER though – I don’t have time to go through seven seasons of a crime show, which could mostly be boring anyway. 7/10

Reality of a crime

Reenactment of a crime

Written by Christian Wischofsky

August 15, 2012 at 2:20 PM

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