Advertisements

Tag Archive: Major Crimes


Major Crimes Season 4

It’s pretty rare–we’ve been able to watch the goings on at the LAPD of Lt. Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Lt. Flynn (Tony Denison), Lt. Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Assistant Chief Taylor (Robert Gossett), Detective Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), and Buzz (Phillip P. Keene) for eleven years now.  Bridging their exploits in The Closer and three seasons to Major Crimes, it’s just remarkable for any series to successfully marry a group of writers and a solid ensemble cast to continue to provide us with more to look forward to each year for eleven seasons.  Tonight, they’re all back, with Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell), Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco), Detective Sykes (Kearran Giovanni), and Rusty Beck (Graham Patrick Martin) rounding out the cast, as the fourth season of Major Crimes begins on TNT.

The bad news is that we hear the spin-off series featuring the S.O.B. (Strategic Operations Bureau) is officially off the table, with what would have been star Laurie Holden off on another series.  But look for Jon Tenney’s Fritz Howard to be back at least once this year, and the return of Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Jeri Ryan, and maybe even Tom Berenger.

Captain Raydor

The network has hinted that we can expect less of the Phillip Stroh threat after last year’s finale, and more of the Flynn and Raydor relationship, but better yet, a focus on Raymond Cruz’s Detective Sanchez as he finally must deal with his anger issues.

Here’s some quick previews of the season premiere:

Continue reading

Advertisements

Agent Carter image

If you like modern noir or pulp throwback stories, as we did with last year’s The X-Files: Year Zero comic book series, ABC’s new Marvel Universe series Agent Carter is pretty much going to be a sure win.

Actors take note:  When you take on a supporting character role in your next film or TV series and do better-than-expected job at it, make sure you love the part as you may just end up living with the role for a while.  Along with a first film and franchise that also was taking off to parts unknown thanks to it success, Hayley Atwell’s tough 1940s British Secret Intelligence agent Peggy Carter pulled off that rare chance at a second life.  Tomorrow night she gets her own spotlight as her own weekly series beginsAside from the brief return of Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark (father to Tony aka Iron Man), Atwell’s Carter will be forging ahead on her own.

Some of TV’s best characters were the results of a spin-off from one of those supporting characters who, because of great acting and great writing, popped with viewers beyond any expectation of the show’s creators.  Going back to the 1970s whether unintended surprises or gambled backdoor spin-offs, we wouldn’t have seen more Jeffersons or Maude, or J.J. Evans and his family from Good Times, but for their standout performances spun out of All in the Family.  We wouldn’t know Buddy Epsen’s seven years of sleuthing as Barnaby Jones without his guest role on Cannon, a decade of the kids in Facts of Life if not for Diff’rent Strokes, or spend primetime with the cops and firefighters on Adam-12 or Emergency! if not for some cool guest spots on Dragnet.

Agent Carter

What would our TV night fun have been like without years of Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy resulting from guest star bits on Happy Days, or, let’s not forget, our fave Lindsay Wagner’s Bionic Woman took on her own series from the episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man?  Modern genre fans’ reactions helped propel John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who into multiple Torchwood series.  Other coming spin-offs are Breaking Bad’s Better Call Saul and Walking Dead’s in-the-works spin-off (with the working title Cobalt), and we’re still hoping for a Special Operations Bureau spin-off from The Closer’s own spinoff, Major Crimes.

Continue reading

Gruffudd star of ABC Forever

We love good TV.  Nothing is better than looking forward each week to a show you can trust to have great writing and great acting.  We’ve made our way through several series again this year, trying out pilots for new shows and adding them into the DVR queue–if they made the cut.  Many didn’t.  We also re-try series that didn’t prompt us to watch in prior years.  Most lose out because they rely on shock over substance and storytelling.  Where we ended up was a list of what we love, and what we have recommended all year.  These series are our Best of the Best for 2014.

Our biggest disappointments?  The cancellations of the brilliant, futuristic Almost Human and the reboot of the TV classic Dallas–these shows were written by the best script writers around and will be sorely missed.  We hope you’ll give some of the following shows a try next year, or catch them on streaming media, if you’re not watching already.

Forever De la Garza and Gruffudd

ForeverBest TV Series, Best TV Fantasy Fix, Best Actor (Ioan Gruffudd), Best Actress (Alana de la Garza), Best Supporting Actor (Judd Hirsch), Best Villain (Burn Gorman).  Contenders for the year’s best series were easy to spot:  ABC’s Forever or NBC’s Gotham.  In years past at borg.com we have favored cable programming, yet this year the networks surged ahead with these two superb series.  Forever nudged out Gotham for top prize because of its straightforward storytelling, small talented cast, superb dialogue, and fun situations.  Ioan Gruffudd (Horatio Hornblower, Ringer, Fantastic Four) and Alana de la Garza (Law and Order) were perfect foils for each other in the lead roles, and each created compelling characters.  Judd Hirsch played son to younger Gruffudd’s unsinkable doctor and gave us the best father and son team on TV in years.  Burn Gorman’s chilling performances toward the end of this season were a great addition, setting us up for more fun next year.

Gotham clip

GothamBest TV Series Runner-up, Best Supporting Actress (Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney), Best Supporting Actor Runner-up (Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock).  NBC’s Gotham did many things we normally wouldn’t like, including taking source material and standing it on end and adding new characters to a classic story’s established cast.  Yet it all worked somehow with this intriguing re-imagining of Bruce Wayne’s backstory.  Catwoman and Batman were friends as kids?  The Penguin was a mole and stooge for key crime families?  Commissioner Gordon took Bruce Wayne under his wing as a child?  All of this worked, yet the best view into Gotham life was provided by Gordon’s partner, played by Donal Logue (Life, Vikings), and Jada Pinkett Smith’s sultry and ruthless gangster Fish Mooney.

Continue reading

Major Crimes clip

When we last left the Los Angeles Major Crimes division at the mid-season break in August, the team was busy closing cases in their own signature style of action-filled drama.  In its third season, week after week Major Crimes continued delivering the unexpected, a police procedural whose crew, now well into their tenth year working together, melds into a seamless ensemble.  Major Crimes returns to TNT tomorrow night with many questions for fans.  The biggest?  Will the producers and network spin off Jon Tenney’s FBI agent Fritz Howard and Laurie Holden’s acting deputy director Ann McGinnis into their own Strategic Operations Bureau (S.O.B.) series?

The core of the series this season revolves around Mary McDonnell’s Captain Sharon Raydor and her live-in teen Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin).  Raydor’s son opposed Sharon’s attempts to adopt Rusty.  Rusty revealed to his friends in the division that he is gay.  Rusty’s mom continued her confrontation with addiction via the jail cell and Rusty must deal with her recurring attempts to manipulate him.  And Fritz began to try to find a balance with his stressful new duties in light of his recent heart attack.

Major Crimes Buzz

Tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Central we’ll find out what’s next, with the new episode “Down the Drain.”  After the break, watch some promotional previews for the coming shows:

Continue reading

Strategic Operations Bureau

If you aren’t watching this season of Major Crimes, last night you likely missed the best episode of television this year, which made us do a double take as to whether this was a midseason finale special cliffhanger ratings booster.  It wasn’t.  Likewise, it was the best TV pilot we’ve seen in ages (more on that later).  And add to that one of the most satisfying conclusions that The Closer and Major Crimes writers James Duff and Mike Bercham have concocted yet.

Directed by The Closer, Major Crimes, Dallas, and NYPD Blue director Michael M. Robin, the episode “Two Options” took an almost Dragnet approach to a police procedural and crammed more drama into an hour of TV than we thought possible.  And the climax might have caused someone to claim it as the best stand-and-cheer moment since Eowyn killed the Witch-King at the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Reviewers write about new seasons and finale episodes all the time, but it takes a great hour of regular programming to cause you to stop in your tracks and tell everyone about it, especially in the week full of press briefings leading up to Comic-Con.

Major Crimes Two Options and SOB

For regulars of the series who haven’t watched the episode yet, we’ll just note that everyone gets his and her moment–Sharon, Louie, Andy, Mike, Julio, Buzz, Amy, Taylor, Rusty, Dr. Joe, Cooper, and even Fritz.  Although if we worked in the actual district attorneys’ office in Los Angeles we’d probably not be too happy with the portrayals of last years’ Deputy D.A. Rios or last night’s D.D.A. Gloria Lim.

That brings us to our prediction.  Allow us to summon the ghost of Carnac the Magnificent.  (Drum roll, please).

Continue reading

major crimes season 2 dvd cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’re keeping up with the third season of Major Crimes on TNT, you’ll have seen last night’s episode, “Frozen Assets.”  Set up with a preposterous plot–a multi-millionaire who has her head frozen and a poisoning that is foiled by returning detective wannabe Dick Tracy (Andrew Daly) from a 2009 episode of The Closer–Major Crimes yet again proves the show knows no bounds as to what the ensemble cast can get sucked into (and suck viewers into).  Like Season Two’s episode with a comedy twist “There’s No Place Like Home,” which featured Marion Ross, Tim Conway, Ron Glass, Paul Dooley, and Doris Roberts in a plot to murder their landlord, “Frozen Assets” shows the lighter side of a series that usually reflects the violent world of L.A. crime.  If you missed Season Two, the DVD release from Warner Bros. is here, and it’s full of plenty of extras for Major Crimes fans.

Creator and executive producer James Duff delves deep into the story development for Season Two in the special feature “Major Crimes: Personal Conviction,” revealing his vision of a season split between stories about “identity” as a theme–who the characters are and who the culprits of the crimes are and how they all got to where they are–and “character,” growth of the main cast members and learning more about these characters we thought we already knew from the prior eight years on television.  Each cast member discusses their view of the characters they play (except the strangely absent Raymond Cruz).  The crew seems to agree that Graham Patrick Martin’s Rusty Beck became the lynchpin and glue holding together the series for the second season, especially his relationship with series lead Mary McDonnell as Captain Sharon Raydor.

Major Crimes Season 2 cast

The series begins with the opener “Final Cut,” directed by Roxann Dawson, who sci-fi fans will know as Lt. B’Elanna Torres from Star Trek Voyager, and who also played Detective Ortega in a 2011 episode of The Closer.  This episode introduced D.D.A. Emma Rios, played by Nadine Velazquez, the prosecutor who constantly clashes with the Major Crimes squad (interspersed with a season full of hilarious flirtations by Detective Sanchez).  Duff acknowledges why viewers proclaim how much they hate the character, and also why she fits perfectly into the dynamic of the show.

Continue reading

Major Crimes Flight Risk

The tenth season of the Major Crimes team that began with seven years of The Closer, led by Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Lee Johnson, and continued with two seasons of Major Crimes under Mary McDonnell’s Captain Sharon Raydor, begins tonight with Major Crimes Season Three.  If you haven’t been watching these two series you don’t really have time for a TV series binge before tonight’s season opener (although TNT will air a Season Two marathon beginning Monday morning at 1 p.m. Central/12 a.m. Eastern), but you can set your DVR and put it on your must-watch list and get caught up later this season.

Each member of Los Angeles’s Major Crimes squad is back: G.W. Bailey’s old school detective Lt. Louis Provenza, his able partner in fighting crime Tony Denison’s Lt. Andy Flynn, Michael Paul Chan’s tech savvy Lt. Mike Tao, Raymond Cruz’s Detective Julio Sanchez, who knows the neighborhoods of L.A. better than anyone, Phillip P. Keene’s evidence gatherer Buzz Watson, Kearran Giovanni’s Detective Amy Sykes, the newest member of the squad, as well as Graham Patrick Martin’s informant trying to be a regular kid Rusty Beck, Jonathan Del Arco’s Dr. Morales from the morgue lab, and Robert Gossett’s Assistant Chief Taylor, who helps keep them all on the right track.  And don’t forget G.W. Bailey tied for Best Actor in our own Best of 2013 end of year wrap-up last year.

"MAJOR CRIMES""Flight Risk" / Ep 301TNTPh: Tyler Golden

It’s arguably the best ensemble cast on television.

Here’s some quick promos from TNT for Season 3:

Continue reading

How I Married Your Mother finale

It always pays to be wary of grandiose statements and definitive pronouncements.  When I first watched Forrest Gump in the theater, one-third of the way through the movie it occurred to me I might be watching the greatest production of all time, and walking out of the theater I carried that thought with me.  But time changes things.  Now I see it as a fun film, but it’s not at the top of any of my “best of” lists.  Professor Schofield advised that you can’t really objectively analyze something, an art movement, a political figure, a fad–anything worth analyzing–unless several years had transpired and you could have the value of time and distance, contemplation and reflection, to look back with.

So it is with a bit of reservation that I am asserting that the series finale to How I Met Your Mother that aired Monday night should top any list of great finales.  The writers, producers, and actors simply got it just right.  Exactly right.  Airing the first episode of season one just before the finale aired really showcased how this ending was exactly what viewers deserved after nine seasons of sticking with the show.  Consider all the series finales that were promoted over the years, and despite the biggest of viewing audiences, you might find that most last hoorahs miss the mark, try too hard, or just do something that didn’t reflect the best of the series.

Trek TNG All Good Things

The granddaddy of all finales was the 1983 M*A*S*H extended episode “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.”  Although some elements were right, like a bounty of typical and appropriate sad goodbyes, Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, (one of the best characters of all time) after more than a decade of using laughter to beat the odds and help his unit survive the Korean War, cracks at the very end.  NBC’s comedy spy series Chuck made a similar mistake, wiping the memory of Chuck’s hard-earned love interest Sarah after we cheered him on all those years, requiring the story to basically start over from scratch in some far off place after the series wrapped.  Another less than satisfying but at least appropriate-to-the-series finale was the end of the monumental 20th year of the original Law & Order.  We basically got to see a fairly typical episode of the series, which certainly fit the seriousness of the show’s drama.  But we also got a goodbye scene and were left on a positive note with “Lieut’s” good news about her hard-fought illness.

Before that, you might have seen the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Nick at Nite or other classic rerun network if you weren’t old enough to catch it in its initial run.  The TV network that was the subject of the series fires everyone including Mary at the end, except Ted Knight’s character Ted Baxter.  The annoying guy that we loved for being annoying gets to stay.  A funny series with a funny end, as well as the requisite bittersweet goodbye scene.  A similarly funny sitcom, Psych, wrapped its eighth and final season last month, tying up all its remaining loose ends.  Psych took a different path, taking its angst-inducing character, Detective-then-Chief Lassiter, and with a redemption of sorts, switched up his role in the last two seasons to become a guy viewers could cheer on.

Newhart finale

Another comedy, Newhart, gave us a completely bizarre ending for an otherwise enjoyable comedy series.  Yet it was saved literally in the last two minutes by a brilliantly concocted stunt–bring back Bob’s wife from his original series, The Bob Newhart Show, the lovely Suzanne Pleshette, revealing the whole series was just a dream.  It’s a gimmick that didn’t work for a series like the original Dallas (recall Bobby Ewing died then came back to life with a “poof”), but for a comedy wrap-up, it couldn’t have been better timed.

Continue reading

Sherlock season 3 promo

Happy New Year!!!

So what do we do now?  How about a look at the start dates for our favorite TV shows?  Many are already in progress, like Almost Human, Arrow, Dracula, Grimm, Major Crimes, The Michael J. Fox Show, New Girl, and Sleepy Hollow.  Some don’t have new season premiere dates yet, like Bates Motel, Continuum, Doctor Who, Heroes of Cosplay, Mr. Selfridge, and Warehouse 13.

The most anticipated series is very likely the three-episode third season of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, finally coming back to PBS this month.

The biggest question is whether Haven will get renewed for a fifth season on Syfy.  The end of Season 4 was really getting better and Syfy just can’t leave us with that cliffhanger finale.

Haven - Season 4

Update yours DVRs!  Here’s what we’re going to be watching in 2014 at borg.com:

Almost Human –  Season 1 continues January 6 on Fox

Arrow – Season 2 continues January 15 on CW

Bates Motel – Season 2 begins in March to A&E

Continue reading

Major Crimes cast Season 2

By C.J. Bunce

Breathtaking.  Gut-wrenching.  This week’s summer season finale of Major Crimes should underscore for any naysayers TNT’s decision last week to renew the series for a third season.  Major Crimes wrapped its eleventh episode of the second season this week with what may be the best dramatic episode of television this year.  Revealing the murders by a “poster boy” model of several innocent victims, the producers took us on a different path through the Major Crimes typical police turf to a place we didn’t really want to go.  Creepy and disturbing in the way Medium once revealed its violent crimes, the audience was left on the edge of their seats not for any grand climax but simply marveling at how each of the cast members aided in solving the crime.

A good balance of crimes of the week and the key thread of teenage informant Rusty kept this amazing 12th year of this ensemble cast fresh, intriguing, and impressive.  Newcomer Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) made us wonder if he will ultimately be around for his trial or whether he’ll skip out and run away, especially in light of a batch of harassing letters he is receiving that purport to be from The Closer carryover criminal Stroh.

Rios and Sanchez

The big shake-up this season—and the series thrives on shake-ups—was the entry of D.D.A. Emma Rios, played by Nadine Velazquez.  Velazquez is hard to read.  By all appearances she is playing Rios as an incompetent lawyer.  Rios is completely out of her element in nearly each episode as the team ends up in the autopsy room, as she tries to simply communicate with the detectives (poor Det. Sanchez), or operate in a courtroom.  Where last season we had doubts about Detective Amy Sykes (Kearran Giovanni), and before that even Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) herself toward the end of The Closer, this season Sykes fits right in and we’ve been on Raydor’s side for a long time now.  Rios?  Rios is painful to watch.  What do the writers have up their sleeves?  Are we supposed to hate her as we used to hate the scheming tactics of Assistant Chief Taylor (Robert Gossett)?  The bottom line is we’ve grown to like Raydor, and Taylor, and Sykes, so we’re taking it on faith that Rios will come through for us at some point.  She certainly keeps the crime squad on its toes.

A trilogy of episodes this season featured Tom Berenger as Captain Raydor’s semi-ex-husband Jack.  Berenger hasn’t been better and here he played a failed husband who also understood–and seemed to want to help–Raydor’s live-in Rusty in a way that Sharon noted was something he failed to do with his own kids.  Ultimately Sharon pushes Jack away, but we hope we see him in future episodes.

Jack and Sanchez in Major Crimes

One of the highlights of the season was the completely off-the-wall episode “There’s No Place Like Home,” with a variety of guest stars from classic TV including Tim Conway (McHale’s Navy, The Carol Burnett Show), Marion Ross (Happy Days), Ron Glass (Firefly, Barney Miller), Paul Dooley (Alf, Sixteen Candles, Grace Under Fire), and Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond, Remington Steele, Barney Miller).  The gritty, sometimes gory nature of the L.A. crimes in the series beg for more comedic episodes like this one.  We’re still holding out for the next episode featuring the comedic duo of Provenza (G.W. Bailey) and Flynn (Tony Denison).  We almost saw this as they were accused of bumbling a witness in the episode “I, Witness,” a fun episode that left the guys playing clean-up and catch-up.

Rusty’s fear and angst grew last week with the episode “Backfire,” as the Major Crimes squad pursued the murderer of a young woman who was an FBI informant. The FBI botched its protection of their witness, and as Rusty followed along at his normal after-school haunt he had more reason to believe neither he, nor those around him, are safe as he waits to testify against Stroh.

Major Crimes crew

Where will Rusty end up now that his friend Kris (Madison McLaughlin, Supernatural) has revealed his secret about the letters?

We’ve got a long wait to find out.  Major Crimes returns November 25, 2013, with the mid-season restart episode “Pick Your Poison.”