TNT’s first season of Major Crimes was the surprise win of 2012. It accomplished something very rare, taking a series–The Closer–that might otherwise have wound down after seven seasons, and used a change in cast to take the best ensemble cast on TV in a very different direction. For fans of the series wanting to delve deeper into the decision to move the story of L.A.’s Major Crimes unit from a team bent on getting criminal admissions to settling cases, check out Major Crimes: The Complete First Season, available on DVD, next Tuesday, June 11, 2013.
The DVD set includes the ten season one episodes plus four behind-the-scenes features, deleted scenes showing some good acting by the cast that didn’t make the final cut, and a blooper reel. The best of the features, “Major Crimes: Major Challenge,” examines the big hurdle for this spinoff series, and series creator/writer and executive producer James Duff reveals the challenges, rationale for story arcs, and casting decisions that resulted in the first season of Major Crimes. Duff is open about the struggle the writers had, ultimately pulling the reality of national economic crises into the series as a key story element that grounded the first season episodes. Here are three clips from Season One:
Series star Mary McDonnell and the rest of the cast discuss the characters in the feature “Crossing the Tape: Inside the Major Crimes Squad,” touching on Captain Raydor in particular. Fans of the series actors cannot get enough of these types of interviews, and hopefully future season DVD sets include in-depth interviews with Lieutenant Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Lieutenant Flynn (Tony Denison), Lieutenant Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Detective Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), and Buzz (Phillip P. Keene). This includes some insightful anecdotes, such as having show writers refer to Detective Tao instead as Mike to personalize the role and cut-through the possible stereotype of Michael Paul Chan’s character as just another Asian on TV. Instead of focusing on featurettes tied to the characters from The Closer, the DVD set includes two features focusing on the new key roles: witness turned foster teen Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) and the too-eager-to-please Detective Sykes (Kearran Giovanni).
The feature interviews with Graham Patrick Martin reveal why this smart actor and his character added a new, personal story element to the Major Crimes story, which helped make season one so successful. The personal story elements found in The Closer that were part of Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Lee Johnson came through not in Major Crimes lead Captain Raydor, but through the ongoing plot thread involving Rusty, amounting to an interesting role swap recognized by producer Duff.
The gag/blooper reel includes a handful of botched lines resulting in some good laughs from the cast. You could watch G.W. Bailey and the deceptively stodgy Mary McDonnell laugh it up all day. Deleted scenes include some great ensemble performances that were worthy of airing. The DVD includes performances by former The Closer regulars Robert Gossett’s Assistant Chief Taylor, Jon Tenney’s FBI agent Fritz Howard, and Jonathan Del Arco as coroner Dr. Morales.
The DVD set is a great way to get caught up on the series if you missed out last year, especially with Season Two’s first episode “Final Cut,” premiering next week. Season One left us with Rusty as a full member of the Major Crimes family, having decided his real father doesn’t measure up to foster mom Sharon. Provenza and his team are such a well-oiled machine at this point that we hope Season Two highlights each individual’s talents, much like the episode “Dismissed with Prejudice” focused on Lieutenant Mike Tao’s super-genius mad investigation skills, as well as more buddy episodes with Flynn and Provenza, and some development of the Detective Sanchez/Detective Sykes relationship.
Here are previews of Major Crimes Season Two:
Major Crimes Season Two premieres on TNT Monday, June 10, 2013, at 8 p.m. Central Time, and Major Crimes: The Complete First Season is available for pre-order now at Amazon.com with the release date Tuesday, June 11, 2013.