Following months of speculation, TNT formally announced on Wednesday morning its plan to follow The Closer‘s upcoming seventh and final season with a spin-off series titled Major Crimes. Touted by the cabler as “television’s next great crime drama,” Major Crimes will star Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica), reprising her recurring Closer role of Captain Raydor.
The Closer‘s final cycle will consist of 21 total episodes — 15 airing this year plus six for summer 2012 — and feed directly into the 10-episode freshman season of Major Crimes, which like its predecessor will be set in the Los Angeles Police Department. The Closer creator James Duff will exec-produce the new series, along with Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin.
TNT’s upfronts week announcement also hailed The TNT Tuesday Night Mystery, a series of six contemporary crime drama movies adapted from true-crime stories and fictional novels. Set to premiere in November, the line-up will include Innocent, based on the book by best-selling author Scott Turow, plus adaptations of Richard North Patterson’s Silent Witness, Sandra Brown’s Ricochet, Lisa Gardner’s Hide, April Smith’s Good Morning, Killer, and Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark’s Deck the Halls.
New scripted series in development at TNT, in addition to the previously announced Dallas continuation that just wrapped filming of its pilot:
* From John Wells (ER), a drama set against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest and following family of cops who uncover the mystical and often crime-ridden world of a small town where things aren’t as they appear.
* Scent of the Missing, about a search-and-rescue officer and her best friend and partner, a Labrador retriever.
* Gateway, about three brothers in the post-Civil War Old West
* Based on the character from the Laura Lippman book series, a drama centered on Tess Monaghan, a former newspaper reporter who has become a private eye
* A Southern-fried family drama from executive producers Kimberly Williams-Paisley (According to Jim), Brad Paisley and Shaun Cassidy (Invasion)
* An untitled Mitch Albom prohject revolving around the manager of a Detroit radio station
* Enigma, a modern-day mystery-of-the-week in the vein of Sherlock Holmes
In addition to its current roster of The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Men of a Certain Age, Leverage, HawthoRNe, Memphis Beat and Southland, TNT has two new series premiering this summer: the alien invasion drama Falling Skies, exec-produced by Steven Spielberg, starring Noah Wyle (ER) and debuting June 19, and Franklin & Bash, a legal dramedy starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Raising the Bar) and Breckin Meyer (Road Trip) and launching June 1.