(Sorry I derped and forgot to do this last week. I’m going to try and get a second post up in a couple of days to make up for it.)
I’ve been watching The Closer since it first premiered. I missed the first couple of episodes, but was able to jump right into it anyway, the mark of a good series in my opinion. I loved the main character and how she was able to be feminine but still do her job as a deputy chief. At the same time, she wasn’t a flat character, full of quirks and personality that made her into a real person. The rest of the division was the same way. Throughout the growth of the series, they developed into a real story, the kind of series that could go on for ages without interruption.
I’m not sure why Kyra Sedgewick (the woman playing the main character, Brenda Johnson) decided to leave the show, or what exactly happened. But I was willing to at least give the spin-off, Major Crimes, a chance. Raydor as a character had slightly redeemed herself in the last season (maybe as the first steps towards this spin-off from the very beginning?) to the point I thought I could tolerate her, even if I still hated the slime ball Taylor, no matter how they tried to redeem him. But the first season is over, we’re starting the second, and it’s time my opinion was formed.
The lead in to the new series was very strong. It felt seamless, perhaps because they were airing right after the final episode of The Closer. We even gained a couple of new characters throughout the season, starting with a new detective, Sykes, and more of the rotating Deputy D.A.s that this series was becoming known for, none of them extremely likeable. Raydor and Johnson were completely different, as shown from the beginning. Raydor knows how to play the politics, she knows how to manipulate but in a slightly different way, and unlike Brenda, she cares about convictions, not confessions. Sykes was an odd fit, as she should be, but I thought her character added an interesting change to the dynamics in the squad.
Sadly, everything after that fell really flat to me. Raydor and Rusty tried to duplicate some of the drama that Johnson had in her home life, with their own flavor. But I don’t know if it’s because Sedgewick’s amazing performance in the final season just set an impossible bar, or if they were pushing a character to do something that she just couldn’t do, but Raydor, aside from a few instances where she finally stopped playing political chessmaster and acting like a human being, just felt like watching a robot to me. And the endings lacked the level of satisfaction that The Closer did. Johnson only cared about the truth, and the episode always led to that truth. Instead, Major Crimes focuses on the actual legal system, and what happens behind the scenes.
But more than anything else… The show is lacking in personality. Oh, there are bits of it. Flynn and Provenza haven’t changed, and are definitely memorable, and combined with Sykes they make a dynamic clash. But aside from those few moments, it’s like every other crime show. The quirks and over-saturation of personality isn’t there anymore, to the point I can rarely tell episodes apart anymore, even though I used to always know with a few seconds. It all blends into a moderately boring shade of gray.
I’m not saying it’s a bad show. If there is nothing else on, I’ll watch it. But usually I find myself searching for just about anything else to watch, even reruns of Fast n’ Loud that I’ve seen so many times I can almost quote it word for word.