You have been a homicide detective for how long, and you still expect life to be fair?
— Captain Sharon Raydor to Lt. Provenza, "Before and After"
An After Show of TNT's The Closer, Major Crimes premiered August 2012, starring Mary McDonnell as Captain Sharon Raydor, alongside much of the parent Major Case Squad. Raydor takes the helm of the MCS after the departure of Kyra Sedgwick's Brenda Leigh Johnson, the heroine of the parent show.With Captain Raydor taking over the squad, the focus changed from getting confessions to getting plea bargains, which are not nearly as dramatic but which save the city millions in trial expenses. The delicate balance between getting criminals put away even at a reduced sentence and pursuing true justice is a running theme of the series, as is the tension between the squad and their new boss, who, as an Internal Affairs veteran, is not exactly trusted. And finally, the series opens up new insights into its lead character's personal life, mostly through her relationship with Foster Kid Rusty Beck.Even before producing a single episode, the show developed a small but devoted fan following, both from The Closer's existing fanbase and from fans of Mary McDonnell, many of whom turned up because Mary is in it.The Other Wikihas more information.
This series provides examples of:
Abusive Parents: Rusty's mother let her boyfriend beat him up. Daniel, Rusty's "sperm donor," also hit him in a moment of anger. Sharon's threat of arresting him for abuse is enough for him to sign away his legal rights to Rusty.
Acting Unnatural: After eavesdropping on Rusty and Kris's conversation, Sharon has a tough time appearing innocent when Rusty leaves the room to ask her a question.
After Show: To The Closer, taken to the literal extreme — it premiered immediately after that series ended.
All Women Love Shoes: According to Twitter, Sharon Raydor has a thing for shoes, most of them high heels. Given that she can be accurately described as a fashionista — her clothes are almost exclusively designer, or at least high-end department store — this isn't much of a stretch.
Ambiguously Gay: Rusty is still trying to figure out his identity, though there are many hints that he is probably gay.
Amicable Exes: Sharon and her husband Jackson are separated but they still have a semi-civil relationship.
Asshole Victim: Chad Raber raped a dozen young women and forced them to film endorsements of his gym. No one is too upset that his wife killed him.
Badass Adorable: Sharon Raydor, given her actress. Don't let those big eyes fool you. Cross her or hurt someone she cares about, and she will screw you over six ways from Sunday without batting an eyelash or so much as messing up her hair.
Badass Bureaucrat: Raydor again. The feats of badass she can accomplish with a pile of paperwork are truly remarkable.
Bait and Switch: In "Pick Your Poison" Rusty agrees to see a therapist provided he can understand him. Sharron thinks he means whatever his sexual orientation is. She is stunned when Rusty wants a therapist who can play chess.
Berserk Button: Harming Rusty is a really good way to get Sharon Raydor pissed off at you. This does not qualify as a smart plan. Regarding Rusty's biological father who hit Rusty a few times, Sharon says the below.
Sharon: ...we are now at the "please don't let me drive over to his house and shoot him in the head" phase.
Blind Without 'Em: Doris Roberts played an elderly woman who is like this. She is so blind, she cannot even tell Flynn isn't Sanchez at a reasonable distance.
Bothering by the Book: Raydor's specialty. She's incredibly adept at wielding her extensive knowledge of laws and rules to get the results she wants. Including purposefully refusing to answer Rusty's father's phone calls because she cannot record the conversation without a warrant, but voice mail is legal evidence. Him talking to her and her openly holding out a recorder and asking him in front of her and his dismissive affirmation is permissible.
Character Development: It's taking awhile, but Rusty is definitely showing signs of caring for things other than himself. Like Sharon, for instance.
Sharon was slowly shown to have good sides on The Closer, and that's only gotten clearer now in Major Crimes due to her having to actively earn the trust of the team and deal with Rusty. It's also becoming evident that not only did she learn a thing or two from having to monitor Brenda and her crew for three years, but she's also beginning to take on some of the very same characteristics that she'd once found so exasperating.
Dawson Casting: Sixteen year old Rusty is played by Graham Patrick Martin, who is 20.
Dead Man's Chest: The body of a a young man is found in a barrel labeled "Hazardous Waste" at a recycling center. The killers know that the owner ships the barrels labeled hazardous up north to a landfill without opening them, were they are to be buried for a thousand years. Had their plan been successful, the body would never have been found, but unfortunately for them, while the barrel is still at the recycling center it's accidentally tipped over and the lid comes off, thus exposing the body.
Deadpan Snarker: Provenza. Flynn. Sanchez. Morales. Even Buzz! But the Queen of Snark on this show is Sharon Raydor, who can skewer people on the end of her biting wit and does so on a regular basis. The snarkier she gets, the more furious she is.
Death Glare: Raydor's got one that could fell an ox at fifty paces. The rest of the squad have them too, and deploy them toward Daniel Dunn in 1x09 with very good reason.
Diet Episode: Flynn has an unexpected health kick in Season 2. Because of a high blood pressure diagnosis and his daughter's upcoming wedding.
Disappeared Dad: Rusty never knew his father because his mother said he ran off before Rusty was born. Once the team finds Rusty's father, however, he explains that he had no idea Rusty existed and expresses an interest in getting to know his son. Also happens with Sharon's kids, as their father is largely absent from their lives (he didn't speak to them in five years and only did so because she forced him to) and she pretty much raised them as a single mother.
Discretion Shot: When Sharon is finally told about the threatening letters Rusty has been getting, we never see the actual conversation, because not even Mary McDonnell can top whatever is in the audience's mind at that moment.
Everybody Did It: In "There's No Place Like Home", all of the tenants are responsible for the death. As Major Crimes can prove conspiracy to commit murder, but not if the death was actually murder, the killers cop to a collective plea of manslaughter.
Exact Words: Tao and Sanchez discuss the exact wording of a contract a TV producer signed in "Under the Influence" to follow Tao for research when they are about to enter into a high speed chase. Tao and Sanchez unbuckle so they can better dodge bullets. When the producer wants to do the same, he is told not to. The contract he signed doesn't include him getting injured if he removes his seat belt. It does include him being shot though.
Eye Take: All the main characters, pretty much. Often crosses over with Facial Dialogue, when two characters are communicating their mutual disgust non-verbally.
Facial Dialogue: Mary McDonnell essentially built her entire career on being able to speak volumes with a facial expression, and she hasn't lost that talent one bit. Raydor has also got quite good at speaking without words to her squad, especially Provenza and Flynn, with whom she can communicate with a mere eyebrow twitch.
Freudian Slip: Sharon to Taylor about Rusty in "Pick Your Poison."
Sharon: My primary concern as his mother is—as his guardian—is his safety.
Fun with Acronyms: In "Under the Influence" the show lampshades the Patriot Act is fully titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Avppropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.
The Gambling Addict: Jack Raydor had a serious gambling problem in the past. The fact that he was recently living in Las Vegas suggests he might not be over it completely.
Hypocritical Heartwarming: Provenza likes to grumble about working for Raydor, likening it to "working for a hall monitor," and has no problem when the rest of the squad joins in — but God help anyone not on the squad who says a bad word about her.
I Have This Friend: Provenza claims to have a friend who needs some spiritual advising in "The Ecstasy and the Agony" but he's obviously talking about himself.
Internal Affairs: The mere mention that he's facing a woman who spent most of her career in Internal Affairs is enough to get the cooperation of a Las Vegas detective who was proving rather stubborn.
Iron Lady: Sharon. Which makes a great deal of sense.
Rusty, who even interrupted an investigation because no one acknowledged that he was there. And hasn't gone five minutes on screen without complaining that they are not doing what they promised him. He finally cuts it out a few episodes in, when he accepts that his mom isn't coming for him and Sharon is the best thing to happen to him in a long time.
He gets it from his father who is more concerned with how Rusty is going to fit into his life and upcoming marriage than the fact he has a son he never knew about, including refusing to contact any of his family to tell them of Rusty. It gets to the point that when he is given a choice between being arrested for child abuse — as he confessed hitting Rusty to Sharon and a recorder on the table — and forcing child services to pick through his life as he is marrying into a family with young children, or signing away his parental rights, which would also ruin his chances of marriage, he asks Rusty how it felt to ruin his life.
It's Personal: Shit gets personal fast for Raydor during "Citizens Arrest".
I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Tom Berenger, who plays Sharon's estranged husband Jackson Raydor, had co-starred with Mary McDonnell twenty-five years earlier in National Anthems at the Long Wharf Theatre. They'd played husband and wife.
Justice by Other Legal Means: Unable to properly prosecute Rosa Vega, a key member of a drug cartel, Raydor has the culprit extradited to Mexico. Rosa will likely be killed by her supplier because the heroin was obtained by the LAPD.
The Load: Rusty, who for a while did nothing but whine and complain every freaking scene he is in. So much so that in Episode 3 when the mother needed $500 to make it there, the division was happily forking over their own money to get her there.
Buzz: She can have it all if that means I don't have to baby sit him anymore.
Logging On To The Fourth Wall: Raydor, Rusty, and Flynn have Twitter accounts, which are updated even when the show isn't currently airing. Said tweets contain references to "camera crews following [them] around", or did when filming started again, which means that apparently, In-UniverseMajor Crimes is a reality show.
Mama Bear: Sharon Raydor, for Rusty. Especially in "Cheaters Never Prosper".
Not So Stoic: Sharon Raydor likes to think she is always calm, cool and in control. She's... not. Although she doesn't take it nearly to the extreme her predecessor did — Brenda's full-on freakout is Sharon's half-sob and teary eyes — she doesn't have to when she's played by Mary McDonnell, who is an expert at breaking hearts with unbelievable subtlety.
Number Two: Resentment or no, Provenza steps up excellently as Raydor's second-in-command, and they make a surprisingly effective team.
Oh Crap: Induced in a particularly irritating LVPD detective with two lines of dialogue.
Raydor: This might be a good time to tell you that I've spent almost my entire career in Internal Affairs and I am this close to calling your department and starting an inquiry into your conduct. *the detective looks at Flynn* Flynn: She ain't kiddin', pal.
Old Cop, Young Cop: Provenza and Sykes are pared together more and more frequently as the show goes on.
One Steve Limit: Subverted. Captain Raydor discovers a little too late that Rusty's mother is also named Sharon.
Passed Over Promotion: Provenza has a lot of sour grapes over anyone but himself serving as head of the department.
Provenza: After all I've given to the L.A.P.D., anyone else besides me sitting in that office is an insult. And it's not fair. Raydor: You have been a homicide detective for how long, and you're still expecting life to be fair?
There Are No Therapists: Averted. They do have some, but Rusty is dead set against going to one until "Pick Your Poison" when Sharron gets him to agree to see one. His one provision is the therapist can play chess.
Thicker Than Water: In "Pick Your Poison" this is averted between the murderer and his brother an attorney. The brother-attorney was first brought in to defend his sister-in-law where he learned she did sleep with one of the underage victims but didn't kill them with Molly mixed with cyanide. The attourney knows his brother has been mixing chemicals and always been a bit off. He tells him straight out he will defend his sister-in-law but cannot defend his brother because it would be a conflict of interest and is seriously angered by his brother's evil actions.
Tranquil Fury: When Daniel, Rusty's "sperm donor", hits him, Sharon, and later the entire squad, enters into this when he comes before them. Sharon even notes they are resisting the urge to arrest him then and there.
The Unfair Sex: Rusty loves his drug addict abandoning mother, but hates his kind, successful father even though he wants to be a part of Rusty's life after discovering he exists and knowing that he has faults.
Rusty's suspicions turn out to be justified when his father hits him for telling the truth of his history to the man's fiancée and her children.
Vehicular Sabotage: In "There's No Place Like Home", the killers cut the brake lines as a back-up plan on the victim's car in case their first attempt failed. Finding the sabotage car is what clues the detectives in that the death is not a suicide as it first appears.
Vigilante Execution: Alfred Torres shoots the man who molested and killed his son Matty in "The Deep End".
What the Hell, Hero?: Raydor gives a very calm, but vicious inquiry to Father Healy in "The Ecstasy and the Agony". On Rusty's first day at a private Catholic school, he tells some students his place as a protected witness and would be key to taking down a serial killer with his testimoney. Some bullies mocked him and started a fight. Rusty fought back and won. The good father wanted Rusty kicked out for lying and fighting, but Sharon tells him Rusty was being truthful and within his rights to fight back. Upon learning the other boys would only receive a minimal suspension for their conduct, Raydor points out the hypocrisy of this and how the father and school's actions are very far from what Christ's teachings. In the end, Rusty got to stay in school.
Working with the Ex: Sharon gives Jack the opportunity to work as an attorney for a suspect in "Rules of Engagement". He immediately begins belittling her authority in front of her team and DDA Rios.
This also seems to be going on for Raydor and Flynn - she calls him Andy to calm him down or get his attention, and he's started to privately call her Sharon to comfort her after they attended his daughter's wedding together. It wasn't a date.