TNT’s Major Crimes on Monday night closed the book on a major chapter in its (and predecessor The Closer‘s) history, when the one person who could take down the sinister Phillip Stroh finally had his day in court.
The hour opened with the MCD in crisis mode, in the wake of Stroh’s hired gun nearly driving a big knife into Rusty, who’d been duped into thinking the guy was an undercover cop. Raydor promptly declares an end to Rusty’s participation, as bait, in the manhunt, yet clues were few about where their prey may have vanished off to.
Cue the arrival of Stroh’s attorney, Linda Rothman, who cryptically suggests that her client may have information about the identity of Rusty’s assailant — in trade for certain considerations, of course. Raydor, smelling even a whiff of catching Rusty’s tormenter, growls for Rothman to cough up what she knows. The lady lawyer, though, plays games of semantics, ultimately only offering up an envelope containing a list of six suspects.
Raydor briefly considers Rothman’s proposal to cut a deal for Stroh, but when she gets word that the FBI has tracked down at least the killer’s incarcerated mother, she turns the legal lizard away.
Meeting with the suspect’s mother helps narrow down the manhunt only some, seeing as his name (Ryan Mills) is a common one and Mom hasn’t been in touch with her boy in a while. But when she mentions the dark tale of how her onetime beau used to trade her drugs in exchange sex with her son, the MCD ultimately uncovers the alias he is living under — Wade Weller — and the teen outreach facility where he works.
As it turns out, Wade is poised to skip town, with a teen “ward,” Tyler, in tow. But when they get waylaid by an LAPD road block and an Amber Alert goes wide, Wade panics and flees the vehicle to dash down an alley. Tyler gives chase, unaware of the felon he favors, and just as Wade is cornered by Raydor & Co, he takes his friend hostage, pointing a gun to his head. Wade gets but a few steps into his escape, though, when a shot rings out and a bullet pops his forehead — a daring, risky bullseye, but a bullseye nonetheless, from Provenza’s gun. Raydor can only react with an expression of half amazement, half amusement.
Meanwhile in court, ADA Rios lays a foundation for Rusty’s sorrowful street life, while Rothman aims to undermine his story about that pivotal night in the park and cast aspersion about his tendency to lie to the cops. Rusty lets “slip” that he just recently was not truthful with Captain Raydor, at whose home he has been residing. When Rothman presses Rusty to share his latest lie with the court, he balks, saying he “can’t” divulge it. And yet, legally, he must — so Rusty “begrudgingly” reveals that he lied to Raydor about… the threatening letters he’d been receiving. Rios visibly squees at this twist, as it allows the damning letters to be entered as evidence, very much against Rothman’s wishes.
At episode’s end, Provenza reports that with Stroh in solitary and Wade dead, Rusty can lose his security detail. When Provenza tells the lad he “knocked the ball out of the park” with his testimony, Rusty thanks his lawman friend “for everything.” Rusty, however, seems iffy on his future as Raydor’s ward. He shares his worry that little separates him from the likes of Wade. “I am exactly like him,” he offers, “and I can’t fix it, Sharon. I can’t fix it.” But Raydor sees it that way not at all. “Rusty, who you are is who I love,” she says, pulling him into a warm maternal hug, “and all of you is coming home.”
What did you think of Major Crimes‘ sophomore finale? Satisfying-ish closure for the Stroh saga? Or did you feel cheated by his “sick day” no-show in court?