Oline Cogdill

When Major Crimes first aired on TNT, I was not a huge fan. I was very attached to The Closer, which starred Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson in the title role.

A Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief, Brenda was known as a closer who could solve crimes but also get confessions that stood up in court. Her interrogations lead to convictions.

I loved Brenda’s idiosyncrasies, her hidden stash of chocolate, and that ugly handbag she always carried. Her seemingly “sweet” nature and Southern accent was disarming to criminals who felt they could put one over on her. Silly criminals.

Sedgwick played Brenda as a fully realized person, with many flaws, so many flaws, making her all the more human. I also loved that Sedgwick, who is a beautiful woman, sometimes looked a little frumpy and plain, as do all women at some point during the day. (Yes, all women.)

Major Crimes debuted in 2012 immediately following The Closer’s finale. Designed to be a spin-off of The Closer with the same detective team in the same police department, Major Crimes brought us Captain Sharon Raydor, played by Mary McDonnell, as the new head of the Major Crimes Division.

Sharon faced myriad challenges, in addition to bringing criminals to justice. She had to earn the trust and respect of her officers after Brenda’s sudden departure. And she also had to earn the trust and respect of those loyal Closer viewers.

For this viewer, it didn’t take long for me to become a fan of Major Crimes.

While The Closer was about the confession, Major Crimes is about the art of the deal.

The ever-reliable McDonnell shows how a soft-spoken woman can also be a force of nature—strong, insightful, taking no nonsense from criminals, and, yes, closing those high-profile cases.

McDonnell played Sharon as a realistic person, who has her own flaws. Sharon is not Brenda; she is her own unique person. McDonnell showed how a person of deep faith—Sharon is a devout Catholic—also can use that faith in her job. Nor would that faith stop her from investigating a church if necessary.

So I am as sad as anybody that after six seasons, Major Crimes' finale airs at 9 p.m., January 9, 2017.

I think the network is making a huge error in taking Major Crimes off the air, as this wonderful show has more stories to tell.

This last season has been devastating in its twists—no spoiler here, I promise—and the series has risen to every challenge. The main reason for its success is how the squad members mesh. Each detective is a distinct person, with different views, yet united in their insight and quest for justice.

Major Crimes also allowed viewers a peek at each detective’s personal life. We saw relationships, marriages, adoptions, family members, and people reinventing themselves. Sharon’s concern for Rusty Beck, a witness to a serial killer’s crime, led her to adopt him, which let this young man make something of himself.

So thank you, Mary McDonnell, G. W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, Phillip P. Keene, Robert Gossett, Jonathan Del Arco, Kearran Giovanni, Graham Patrick Martin, and Jon Tenney. Kathe Mazur as Deputy District Attorney Andrea Hobbs was often the smartest person in the room.

A special note to one of my favorites in Major Crimes —Jonathan Del Arco as Dr. Fernando Morales, Los Angeles County Deputy Medical Examiner. I always wanted Dr. Morales to have his own episode, or four.

I am curious what will replace Major Crimes. The Alienist, which premieres January 22 on TNT and is based on the novel by Caleb Carr, looks interesting, but incredibly dark. Period pieces are interesting but not always successful.

So, goodbye, Major Crimes. Thank you for the hours of entertainment, the involving stories, and the wonderful characters. I’ll be catching you on demand and with the series reruns that will be popping up.

Photo: Mary McDonnell, center, with Major Crimes cast. Photo courtesy TNT.

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