Major Crimes Vs. The Closer: What's the Same? What's Different? And Is There Still Candy?

Kyra Sedgwick Mary McDonnellWhat’s old is (somewhat) new again as the series finale of TNT’s The Closer on Monday night feeds right into the 10 o’clock premiere of the acclaimed procedural’s spin-off, Major Crimes.

Kyra Sedgwick, of course, turned in her metaphorical badge, dictating The Closer‘s end and paving the way for Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica) to step up and front the offshoot. But how else does Major Crimes compare to its predecessor? Let’s take a look at the evidence presented by the new drama’s first two episodes. (Major Crimes settles into its regular Mondays-at-9 time slot on Aug. 20.)

RELATED | Kyra Sedgwick Eyes The Closer‘s Last Battlefield – Plus, How Will Fritz Go on Without Brenda?

WHAT’S THE SAME | Provenza, Flynn, Sanchez, Tao and Buzz still populate the Major Crimes unit, Taylor is the officious blow-hard they love to push back against, Morales continues to be a colorful M.E. and Kendall remains your friendly neighborhood coroner.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT | Well, for one, Brenda Leigh is no longer running Major Crimes, as per the events of The Closer‘s series finale. Instead, McDonnell’s Captain Sharon Raydor soon enough finds herself leading the division. Also, One Life to Live alum Kearran Giovanni (see photo, bottom left) takes a desk alongside the boys, as freshly transferred undercover officer Amy Sykes.
WHAT’S THE SAME | Just as Atlanta transplant Brenda herself was met with a chilly reception upon taking the reins of what was then the Priority Homicide Division, Raydor gets nothing remotely resembling a warm welcome (especially from the MCD vet who had been left in charge in The Closer‘s finale).
WHAT’S DIFFERENT | Brenda’s headstrong demeanor had the advantage of coming with a proverbial side of cornbread. Raydor, though, is pricklier by half — and as such has a tougher row to hoe.

RELATED | Kyra Sedgwick’s Case for Leaving The Closer: ‘I Want To Go Out While We’re On Top’

WHAT’S THE SAME | Tricky, twisty cases commanding a certain level of priority are investigated and cracked.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT | Whereas “The Closer” (aka Brenda) would sew things up by craftily coaxing a confession, Raydor’s directive is to amass enough evidence to leverage the suspect into signing off on a plea deal, thus saving the justice system time, a lotta money and the risk of appeal. (That the guilty skate on lighter charges, however, irks a few Major Crimes detectives.) With this new structure comes a slightly increased presence of rotating ADAs.

WHAT’S THE SAME | Rusty (played by Two and a Half Men‘s Graham Patrick Martin; photo, far left) — an orphaned teen introduced in a pivotal way in The Closer‘s series finale –remains in the mix.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT | Rusty is still holding something over LAPD’s collective head. But without Brenda on hand to follow through, it falls upon Raydor to make good on that deal — and in a surprising way.

RELATED | The Closer Recap: Were You Surprised By the Identity of the Leak?

WHAT’S THE SAME | That which was Brenda’s top left desk drawer is still filled to the rim with candy, Ring Dings and such. Drool.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT | Raydor’s reaction to discovering the tasty trove is not one of sugar-lusting delight. Fritz’s sheepish expression as he retrieves it, however, is quite amusing.

WHAT’S THE SAME | Yep, G-man Fritz is still around, consulting/getting involved on select cases.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT | Jon Tenney — like Robert Gossett Jr. (who plays Taylor) and Jonathan Del Arco (Morales) — will only guest-star as needed. Corey Reynolds and JK Simmons (now a lead in ABC’s Family Tools sitcom), meanwhile, are not scheduled to reprise their roles as Gabriel and Pope in any capacity.

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51 Comments
  1. Balaji K says:

    My question is can a person who hasn’t watched “The Closer” start watching “Major Crimes” without missing anything?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Absolutely — they’ve been very mindful to deftly fill in any blanks.

    • Elizabeth Fitzmaurice says:

      I watched one episode of Major Crimes and will give it another try. I really wanted to like it because I am such a big fan of The Closer. Sorry, no go. It just goes to show you how much the Brenda Leigh character held that show together.

      I love all the characters, including Cpt. Raydor. I thought she was great in The Closer. But now, with Brenda gone, it seems to have lost the “charm”. It’s just not the same. Something really big is missing ~ Brenda Leigh.

    • Milena Matyas says:

      I loves The Closer but I equally like Major Crimes-although I never thought I would. I also like Rusty -he is giving a very human and believe it or not CARING side to Lt. Ryder.

  2. Lyndsey says:

    They had me at Flynn & Provenza!!!!!

  3. Sam says:

    Any chance this will be more serialized? The lack of overarching narrative is what stopped me from getting into The Closer.

  4. Svenja says:

    Yes I will give it a try. I am even more motivated because Michael Weatherly guest stars. It was a smart move of them to cast him to play a part because it causes a lot of NCIS fans to watch the premiere of the show.

    • Linda Frazzo says:

      I LOVE Michael Weatherly/DiNozzo! I don’t expect to see much of him on Major Crimes, though, because I imagine he is too busy starring in NCIS (my favorite show of all time!) and I would hate for his role on NCIS to be any less than what it is now!

  5. ingmarhappy says:

    I am looking forward to this show, althought I am very curious how Brenda’s exit is written. I have a feeling she is going to jail for the murder on Philip Strow’s character ; her long time nemesis. I really hope she leaves on a ”happy” note.

    • Linda Frazzo says:

      I think she is going to voluntarily quit due to her quilt over the death of Tyrrell Bailor (sp?). I will be very angry if they don’t have her leave on her own accord and with the respect she deserves!!

      • Not going to happen that way. First of all she never felt guilty about Bailor. He was a murderer who played the system to get away with it. Her guilt was about how that decision affected the people she cared about. Second the lawsuit was settled so there would be no need for her to quit. I think that they were very true to her character and the show with how they are ending it Brenda was always brilliant at her job and lousy at the politics that came with the job. All of the things they did towards the end, the lawsuit, the leak, giving the ADA’s more oversight, made it clear that Brenda’s time was coming to and end. It will be really sad to see her go because Kyra Sedgewick always made Brenda so compelling but the end feels true.

    • I doubt that she is going to jail. After all in the above article they talk about the scene where Fritz comes in to collect Brenda’s drawer of candy, I believe this is where he gives her the Ding Dong in the promo. I seriously doubt that if Brenda were in jail picking up her candy would be a priority. i hope that she ends up going back to the C.I.A

  6. ingmarhappy says:

    oh, and Sanchez is the same aswell @Matt Webb

  7. Kate says:

    Ding Dongs not Ring Dings.

  8. cmunney says:

    I am going to give it a try but I am less excited than I was before I found out that they now are going to have a kid on the show. Is he going to be the Major Crimes sidekick? Is he going to be a junior detective? It just sounds like a real lame plot point.

    • PB says:

      Exactly this. With all those rich characters already and the new detective added I think that is more than enough not to have to bring in a “cousin Oliver”. I’m guessing the kid is going to be tough on the outside but is misunderstood/has a heart of gold on the inside. Ugh. Raydor will show her “softer” side by connecting with him (which is an insult to her character..why cant she just be a tough leader?)

  9. nitemar says:

    Brenda Leigh will be greatly missed.. and am sure they wll come up with something for Capt Raynor we haven’t seen yet.., or so I hope. I will definitely watch. :)

    • A says:

      After watching this show for a season or two, my concern is that we have not had the opportunity to fall in love with the Captain in the same way we fell in love with Brenda. Nothing compared to the scenes with Brenda’s love life, her mother and father, etc… I miss that personal connection. Although I was impressed by the relationship with the Captain and Rusty, I miss the silly, off beat relationship that came with seeing Brenda’s life outside the unit. I hope to see a bit more quirkiness from the Captain!

  10. Deion says:

    I’m there. They’ve done a good job of making Capt. Raydor a likeable character. I planned to watch from the moment she shot that suspect on the street with the bean bag rounds. It’s obvious, it seems that Brenda will be leaving to take care of her father in Atlanta after some traumatizing event. for a while, leaving Fritz in LA and the door open for a possible Kyra Sedgwick cameo in the future.

  11. Camie says:

    Did the show ever mention what the present was that Pope gave Brenda in the 1st season I believe?

  12. Kari says:

    I was planning on watching the show anyway but it was reading THIS that made it a sure thing: “With this new structure comes a slightly increased presence of rotating ADAs.”
    Rotating means that extremely annoying ADA from the past two episodes will NOT BE THERE! (at least not all the time). I was really afraid she was going to become a full time character and that would have ended it for me.

  13. Dan says:

    The Closer is a great show with a fantastic cast, but I’m a little disappointed there isn’t more of a shake up. All of the Lts should have been promoted (or even retired) by now and wouldn’t Sanchez’ gang knowledge be out of date? A few years ago I thought Paola Turbay’s Mikki Mendoza was brilliant and should have joined the team a few years ago and I thought she’d be a lock for MC. Ranting over, if it crosses the pond I’ll watch it for Mary McDonnell and the team, but I’ll tut whilst I do.

  14. Janet Wilson says:

    I’ll give it try for a few episodes but there are quite a few players missing for me.No Brenda, and not having Gabriel and Pope even for one episode is a huge negative for me.

  15. Bishop Habal says:

    Everyone should give it a chance, however, the same storyline without Brenda, the mean, smart and comedian Sherlock, I don’t think it will be as successful.

  16. Tom juiolm says:

    Without JK and Kyra this is a lame show. They should have done whatever it took to have JK star in the spinoff,major FAIL!

  17. LoveKyra says:

    I have to say Kyra has been amazing this season! She’s always good but wow this season she has been amazing! I love this show and will keep watching.

    • boscalp says:

      I have loved The Closer and think that Kyra and the whole cast were perfect in their roles. I was disappointed in the first Major Crimes show, but I will give it a chance to develop. I really miss Gabrial and thoroughly dislike the woman who has replaced him. They could have done better than a soap opera queen.

  18. Bouncy Castle says:

    I still think the best spin-off idea EVER was the one I read where Flynn and Provenza retire from LAPD and become private investigators.

    • Allen says:

      I’ve said this exact same idea before, though never publicly. A ProFlynnza (as I like to call them) PI spin-off would be one of the best shows ever. It’s nice to know someone else thinks the same way!

  19. Yes, I am gona watch,Really Hope is as GOOD AS THE CLOSER, LOVE ALL THESE GUYS COMING BACK!

  20. Michael Navarro says:

    While the loss of Kyra Sedgewick is major, Mary Mcdonnell. Need I say more? Michael N

  21. Kynkade says:

    Kyra Sedgewick “MAJOR” Loss!
    As “People Magazine” reports!
    Mary Mcdonnell “Major Buzzkill”
    Who’s decision was this?

  22. Boyd Jame says:

    I watched the Closer because it was new, well written, and extremely well acted. She can’t be replaced or duplicated, so I think in done. Good luck though.

  23. Sean says:

    Looking forward to watching the show. While I’ll miss Kyra (hope she takes a guest spot at some point), I do like the cast that will be returning. Not a big Mary M. fan in general terms, however, I really do like her in this role. Glad to see her on the show as a lead.

  24. Gale says:

    Just finished watching Major Crimes. The “energy” and team spirit is missing. They have to pick up the pace. Maybe I’m just missing Brenda. Why did Kyra leave?

  25. Ken Barlow says:

    As long as Provenza and Flynn are there to add some comedy to the series I’ll watch. I love it when they mess up and have to answer for it…the Dick Tracy episode was just toooo good!

  26. Kikakiki says:

    I miss Kyra, I like Mary with the kid and where of where is Gabriel, the new girl is okay but Kyra gotta make a cameo with Gabriel in tow

  27. Susan says:

    I really loved Kyra on The Closer, and thought I’d HATE the new show with the bland Sharon Raydor…but I have to admit I like the show even more! Kudos!!

  28. Flo says:

    I really like Major Crimes!!! Even more than The Closer because Brenda was out of control!!!!
    Come on people, you know it.
    I’m happy they kept the team.

  29. s wakelin says:

    major crimes ,what a load of rubbish not a patch on the closer.watch it twice thats 1 time to much.total crap .

  30. Gate Sold says:

    That’s all we need: another dramady. Another nearly G rated everything works out in the end, soft cop show.

  31. john2387 says:

    The Closer was great but Major Crimes is deteriorating a once great show. I was stunned when in the first episode of season 2 Provenza has a “the husband did it, lets go home” attitude that is very unlike him.
    And then that idiot kid Rusty appeared, I could scream. He dragged down the whole season 1 with his selfish attitude, it’s an insult to the viewers that he keeps reappearing and we have to watch his whining.

  32. LuEllen says:

    What’s the same: well some of the characters, Provenza, Flynn, Buzz etc.
    What’s different: acting – there is none from Mary McDonnell. Did she sleep her way into this part? Because she has no personality, and no acting ability. The show should change its name to Major Crap.

  33. monica chatterly says:

    I like the quiet assertiveness and strictness of the captain. she does not have to shout, or get emotional. she uses her words wisely and efficiently. I like that, it’s intelligent and functional that produces results.

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