While, many times, spin-off shows aren't all that successful, Major Crimes proved to be an exception with a successful Season 1, which debuted last year following the final episode of The Closer. Mary McDonnell is back as Captain Sharon Rayder for Season 2, debuting Monday, June 10 at 9 PM ET with "Final Cut", an episode which puts a nice twist on the standard "Hollywood" drama.
The episode starts out with a woman found dead in her pool, who turns out to be the wife of a big-shot movie director, but there is a lot more going on in this episode than just that one case. Graham Patrick Martin returns as Rusty, the homeless teenager and key witness from last season, who Captain Raydor has taken in to live with him. That relationship is put to the test by new Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios (Nadine Velazquez), who doesn't think the youngster should be living with Raydor because she may compromise the case. While Raydor certainly does respect this potential new rival, she makes it very clear that she isn't willing to risk the boy's safety by cutting him loose into the system.
The rest of our favorites are back with G.W. Bailey as Provenza, who learns that he is the last working member of his police academy class, after a colleague retires, and there is a nice thread about Provenza thinking about hanging it all up. Anthony John Denison returns as Lt. Andy Flynn, who is trying to stay fit by counting all his steps, Michael Paul Chan as Lt. Mike Tao, Raymond Cruz as Det. Julio Sanchez, who appears to have taken a nascent romantic interest in Emma Rios, Phillip P. Keene as tech expert Buzz Wilson, Robert Gossett as Assistant Chief Russell Taylor, Jonathan Del Arco as Dr. Morales, and Kearran Giovanni as Det. Amy Sykes.
What's impressive about this show is, despite its rather large ensemble, they find a way to give each one of these cast members equal opportunity to shine, which doesn't always happen with a cast as big as this. Nadine Velazquez is a great addition to the cast as DDA Emma Rios, who is definitely not lacking in tenacity or confidence, and it will be fun to see her tangle with Raydor throughout the season.
Major Crimes is off to a solid start for Season 2 with this premiere, and it will be intriguing to see how the Sharon-Rusty relationship evolves as they go deeper into this trial where he will serve as a very important witness, even though Rusty is worried about how he will be perceived. This week's case also proves that every case doesn't necessarily have a happy ending, even if justice has been done. While they don't hit you over the head with it, there are great moments where these characters weigh the morality of each situation, and it will be interesting to see which characters are tested by each case throughout the season.
The premiere, "Final Cut", debuts Monday, June 10 at 9 PM ET on TNT. If you loved, hated, agreed, or disagreed with what you read, be sure to follow me on Twitter @GallagherMW and let your voice be heard.