A spinoff of the popular police procedural The Closer, Major Crimes kicked off with most of the same cast–a notable exception being the departure of Kyra Sedgwick as Chiefs Brenda Lee Johnson–leading to a department restructuring. Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) is now in charge of the Major Crimes Division. In the intervening years, Major Crimes has separated itself from its sister show, having worked hard to carve out its own identity.
Aside from Captain Raydor, the unit is comprised of slightly grumpy elder statesman Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey, “M.A.S.H.”) Lt. Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Lt. Mike Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Det. Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), tech expert and reserve police officer Buzz Watson (Phillip P. Keene), Detective Amy Sykes (Kearran Giovanni, “One Life to Live”), Rusty Beck (Graham Patrick Martin), Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco), Assistant Chief Russell Taylor (Robert Gossett), and Deputy Chief Fritz Howard (recurring guest star Jon Tenney).
As always, each member of the team has to work at balancing their professional and personal lives. Provenza is still partnered with Lt. Flynn, but a recent heart issue has him on light duty. On the bright side though, Andy and Sharon finally decide to take their personal relationship further, and discuss moving in together. This leads to one of the more humorous moments of the season, when Flynn, Provenza, and Buzz go to look at a potential home to buy, they find a murdered real estate agent in the pool! Not one to let an opportunity go by, Provenza thinks Flynn could use the murder to get a great deal on the house…The three-part episode “White Lies” results in the devastating death of one of the series’ longtime characters, and results in a lot of soul searching among the squad, particularly Provenza who considers retiring, in large part because of his recent marriage to Patrice (Dawnn Lewis), which actually seems like it might work out!
Meanwhile, Julio becomes a foster father to six-year-old Mark Jarvis, after his mother is killed by a white supremacist. While the relationship between Julio and the boy is initially rocky, it’s nice to watch them slowly bond. It’s also been nice to see Julio calm down…He’s a lot less of a hot head this year. Sykes, who’s decided to focus on her career rather than motherhood for now, finds herself in a difficult situation when her evidence handling methods are questioned in court.
In previous seasons, Buzz Watson has stayed largely in the background, shooting video at crime scenes, speaking when spoken to, and occasionally babysitting Rusty. However, this season he finally had his own storyline! With some encouragement from Rusty, Buzz begins to investigate the unsolved murder of his father and uncle at an ATM thirty years earlier. Rusty helps Buzz out when he can, but for a college kid that’s 19-20, he seems to have a lot of free time. Does this kid ever go to class? I’m a big fan of Major Crimes, and The Closer before that, but Rusty is starting to get on my last nerve. He’s such a flawless know-it-all. I was so happy when his boyfriend Gus (Rene Rosado) finally stood up to him. Even Dr. Morales, who usually gets minimal screen time, comes to the forefront in “Dead Drop,” when his father comes to Los Angeles for a visit. It seems the good doctor told his father he was in charge of Major Crimes. The unit agrees to go along with Morales fib, so he can impress his dad.
Mike Tao wins an award for his work as a consultant on a TV cop show. Otherwise, Mike is Mike. Along the way, the squad gets a new detective, former undercover cop Wes Nolan (Daniel di Tomasso). While he fits in, he’s had some trouble adjusting to the job after mostly working alone. It will be interesting to see what the writers do with his character next season, because it seemed like he just disappeared for long stretches at a time.
One of the most interesting (and annoying) characters this season was Camryn Manheim’s Assistant Chief Winnie Davis. Not there to make friends, she causes many issues for an already stressed out department. As a fan of Major Crimes from the start, it feels like the show has finally hit its stride. Finally, having left The Closer in the rear view mirror for good, this year’s finale has left open some interesting possibilities for the upcoming sixth season.
All 21 episodes have been spread across five discs. Like previous seasons of Major Crimes, it’s presented in widescreen. A newly filmed series, the images looks as good as it can on standard DVD with a clear image, and vibrant colors.
The English 5.1 Surround Sound track serves the material well, providing clear dialogue and ambient sounds.
English, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
Movie title: Major Crimes - The Complete Fifth Season
Director(s): Steve Robin , David McWhirter Michael M. Robin , Rick Wallace , Sheelin Choksey , Paul McCrane
Actor(s): Mary McDonnell, G.W. Bailey , Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan Raymond Cruz , Kearran Giovanni
Genre: Mystery, Drama, Crime