Major Crimes Season 4: Who Will Need Courage? Plus: An 'Amazing' Showcase

Major Crimes Season 4 Preview

When last we tuned into TNT’s Major Crimes, the insidious Phillip Stroh had resurfaced in the flesh to “make a deal,” only to — being the slithery snake he is — escape into the ether.

MCD Captain Sharon Raydor (played by Mary McDonnell) is thus left to worry for her son Rusty’s safety while also allowing him his independence, a balancing act that will play into the overall theme for Season 4, which kicks off Monday at 9/8c.

Here, series creator James Duff previews the courageous cycle ahead, the aftermath of Sanchez’s suspension, some wild new cases and a few returns.

TVLINE | Hit me up with your Season 4 theme. What is it?
“Courage.” It’s a slow-building theme, and a lot of it plays through the Rusty story and some of it is understated, but it’s about how you find courage to live your life in the face of an existential threat, basically. That’s what Rusty is going to be called on to do, because Phillip Stroh is not caught, and what Sharon is going to be asked to accept, as well.

TVLINE | The poor kid Major Crimes Season 4is looking over his shoulder now.
Right, except he is and he isn’t. Yes, he’s been told to be worried of people following him and so he’s reporting it hoping nothing will come of it, but Sharon is accepting that she can’t follow him, so the principal way they’re going to deal with this threat is to face it as if it were everyday life. It takes a lot of courage to do that, to not live with the fear but to choose to live with the bravery instead. Sharon must ultimately recognize that she must face the world as it is and not as she would want it to be.

TVLINE | I feel like Rusty’s finally like looking to the future more so than the past.
And thinking about someone else a little bit, which is part of that the journey out of adolescence. He’s still only 19, so we can give him a bit of room to maneuver and he’s still got a whiff of his traditional arrogance, but he’s moving in a direction where he cares about something other than himself, which is nice to see. It’s the right time for that.

TVLINE | The Sanchez issue weighs heavily in the premiere, and I just want to say: Job well done. A lot of shows will just let their hot head be their hot head with no repercussions, but you actually said “enough is enough” with this guy Major Crimes Season 4and sent him away to do some work on himself. Are we going to see Sanchez struggle with staying on the right path?
Yes, [in Episode 2] you will see him struggling with the underlying reasons for his anger, and I will say that Raymond Cruz delivers like I’ve never seen him deliver before. He’s always been an amazing actor — don’t get me wrong, he is a terrific presence on film — but his best episode yet may be that one. Of course, we wrote all these episodes before use of force in police departments became an issue; I don’t want people to think I’m hopping on board a trend, because I’m not. The LAPD operates under extreme discipline, and it all stems from the Consent Decree under which the department labored for, I think, almost 15 years. They are very well trained in dealing with excessive use of force and they don’t tolerate it as much as other [cities’] departments do. But we were breaking these stories before Cleveland and before Missouri(/Michael Brown), so it’s just been very coincidental that all that happened, and now we’re in the aftermath.

TVLINE | You’re not reactively holding up a mirror to society.
I’m not against holding up a mirror to society, but I don’t like to be so obvious about it. It takes some courage to come back after you’ve been disciplined like [Sanchez has] and everybody knows what your problem is, and not everybody wants you back to begin with. Flynn’s response to Sanchez is very typical when he says, “I want to be worried about catching the criminal and not that the cop next to me is going to explode.” That’s a very genuine response that you will find a lot of professionals giving; nobody wants to be sued again. So Sanchez is going to be facing his demons and he’ll be releasing some of them in our second episode in an amazing scene that left me… well, I had no idea he was going to be that amazing.

Also, I think Provenza’s going to need courage to move forward in his new relationship…

TVLINE | It’s the same relationship from last season, right?
Yes, with Patrice (played by A Different World‘s Dawnn Lewis). And Flynn is going to need courage to move forward in his relationship. And Rusty may be dating; he says he’s not but everybody else seems to think he is, and it’s making him really irritated. There are lots of relationship issues this year.

Major Crimes Season 4

TVLINE | Can you tease some of the cases you have coming up this season?
We have a murder that begins with a car chase, where at the end the owner of the car pops out of the trunk dead, so you’re trying to identify the killer. We have the Alice story [about a missing young woman], which goes on for the first 10 episodes, and there is a digital platform [online] epilogue that follows Rusty’s search for Alice. Buzz tells him there are lots of ways to tell a story these days, so Rusty starts a blog called Identity and it has 10 digital components.

TVLINE | Oh that’s cool, very organic. Do any of the other cast pop up in the digital shorts?
Yes, they do. Brandon [Barash] pops up as Detective Robbie Oderno in the second installment, because the first installment is just Rusty at his laptop telling Alice’s story – before he gets a lot of grief from people who watch it and he moves to make it more interesting.

One of our favorite stories this season so far is Buzz becoming a reserve officer, doing his first ride-along with Flynn and Provenza and stumbling across what might be a murder, at one of the most expensive weddings in Los Angeles. His doggedness in trying to push everybody to do the right thing interferes with fireworks at a Dodgers game! There’s an old kidnapping that gets reopened and Tao uses footage from a city block to recreate the moment of the crime. Also, Tao in Episode 3 inadvertently infects the Internet at the LAPD and it all has to be shut down. That’s a very dark case involving people hacking into laptop cameras and spying on women, which the FBI says is the No. 2 focus of crime in Los Angeles, right now.

TVLINE | Are there any family members we’re going to be meeting or revisiting?
Yes — not in the summer but in the winter you’ll be seeing the return of [Sharon’s son] Ricky, and maybe the return of [her daughter] Emily. We’re still thinking about whether or not Tom Berenger should return [as Jack], considering the implications.

TVLINE | I know the S.O.B. spinoff is no longer on the table, but will Jon Tenney be back as Fritz?
Yes, Jon Tenney will be in Episode 7, when we have two officers shot to death during what looks like a routine traffic stop.

TVLINE | And any other guest stars of note?
Malcolm-Jamal Warner will be back, of course; you saw him in the premiere. And you should look for a return from other recurring characters. I mean, if you’ve seen them before, there’s a likelihood that you’ll see them again — people like Jeri Ryan (as high-powered attorney Linda Rothman).

Want more scoop on Major Crimes, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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25 Comments
  1. nick says:

    Bring back Brenda Leigh Johnson!

  2. Kris says:

    Kill off Stroh and end that storyline already, it’s being dragged out way too much.

    • Deion says:

      I think that Duff & co. are hoping beyond hope that Kyra Sedgewick will make an appearance and they can finally put Phillip Stroh to bed. Now that she is back in bed with TNT, maybe there is a better chance, but I agree. It is time to end this.

      • arial2 says:

        And while she’s there, Brenda needs to “smack Sharon up the side of the head” about how completely inappropriate it is for a high-level police officer and a subordinate to date! She can speak from her experience with Pope. If the “Sharon and Andy in love” scenario turns out to be more than a mutual realization that it was a bad idea, then this show has jumped the shark.

    • ellajwade says:

      I totally agree with you. All these cops and they can’t catch this guy. I think we’ve had enough of Rusty being afraid. Let the kid look forward, not backward.

      • Laura C says:

        This is not the ONLY show to have d r a g g e d out a storyline–think Pelant on Bones, and Red John on The Mentalist. I understand having an arc, but c’mom writers, not seasons long. Leave it to a few episodes, them maybe a reference or two, then LEAVE IT, MOVE ON!

        • Marci says:

          I agree. I hate these serial killer scenarios that drag on season after season. How much longer are we going to have to put up with this one?

  3. amicam says:

    Great new scoop!! Can’t wait to see what’s going on with Sanchez, I agree that they’ve put an interesting spin on that storyline. And i hope recurring characters that return include DDA Hobbs and Dr. Joe, love them both.

  4. Laura C says:

    END the Rusty/Stroh storyline. You’d think these were the only two on the show. I’d rather hear about Sharon & Andy romance, and Sanchez storyline. I could care less about any of Rusty’s, he’s had way too much spotlight since this whole thing started.

    • liiame says:

      So true

    • amicam says:

      i’d sure like to see some of the other characters get some personal plots, too. Sounds like Buzz might, i guess. But yea, the Stroh storyline needs to end once and for all!! They should’ve just locked him up for good at the end of season 3, instead of letting him escape.

    • ellajwade says:

      Again, I agree. The Rusty storyline has been great, but time to move on to someone else.

  5. Tahina says:

    Love Major Crimes, but the show is going on circles with the way too long Rusty arc. The show needs a different approach, and hope it comes from Capt. Sharon Rydor.

  6. ilona says:

    Thank you for this preview! I’m so happy the show is back!

  7. chuckiechk says:

    I’m sorry, but could someone tell me what the S.O.B spinoff was?

  8. ljd213 says:

    Don’t have cable and trying to buy the season pass on Amazon. To my surprise and chagrin, season 4 isn’t listed for sale. What’s up with that? “Murder in the First” is listed, come on TNT what gives?

  9. Susan says:

    At the end of the June 8 show Andy asked Sharon “what do you need me for?” And my DVR stopped recording. Did Sharon answer Andy?

  10. dietlinde says:

    Major Crimes è nettamente superiore a The Closer, Brenda era una macchietta alla fine non se ne poteva più. Sharon ha dato una nota di classe e professionalità alla serie.