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Major Crimes: Season 4

Warner Bros. // Unrated // May 24, 2016
List Price: $44.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted May 29, 2016 | E-mail the Author
The Show:

I really enjoyed the LA-based cop drama The Closer. When Kyra Sedgwick, who played the lead character Brenda Johnson, left the show however, I didn't continue watching the series which was renamed Major Crimes. I thought continuing the series was just a cash grab and didn't have high expectations. Recently I decided to give the show a try, starting at the beginning, and discovered that it has a lot of the same chemistry and fun that marked the earlier incarnation. While the show isn't perfect, the characters are engaging and the mysteries are intriguing making all of the seasons, including this fourth one, great to binge watch.

Captain Sharon Rydor (Mary McDonnell) is a tough, intelligent, and buy-the-book police officer who is in charge of the Major Crimes Division of the LAPD. They handle the high profile cases that are more than likely to get the attention of the press and high officials. When a movie star is murdered, or it appears that a serial killer is on the loose, Major Crimes takes the lead.

Capt. Rydor is aided by her right-hand man, the curmudgeonly Detective Lieutenant Provenza (G. W. Bailey), his partner and counterbalance Detective Lieutenant Andy Flynn (Anthony Denison), the slightly geeky Michael Tao (Michael Paul Chan), the angry Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), and the young and ambitious Amy Sykes (Kearran Giovanni). Rounding out the team is Buzz (Phillip P. Keene) a civilian who runs the technical side of things and films the crime scenes.

In addition there is Capt. Rydor's adopted son, Rusty Beck (Graham Patrick Martin). He was introduced in the last episodes of The Closer as a homeless teen/prostitute who was attacked, and got away, from a serial killer. Rusty is now a college student studying journalism at the local community college.

The group tackles some good cases in this season, and they often play out well. One of the early episodes revolves around a televised car chase that ends in a dramatic crash including a body flying out of the trunk. The dead driver is the owner of a popular restaurant with no apparent connection to the victim, a child psychologist. Another standout show involved a gangland shooting, and the smart preteen who witnessed it and tries to tell Amy Sykes what she saw. Amy knows that the vicious gang would not hesitate to kill the young witness and tells her not to tell anyone what she saw, but now Amy has to demonstrate how she discovered some evidence (the murder weapon that was carefully hidden) without naming the girl.

Like the previous seasons, most of the episodes are stand-alone 'murder of the week' shows, but a few minutes in every installment involves a larger story that weaves through most of the season. This time that plot revolves around "Alice" a young homeless teen whose dead body was found in a garbage can in season three. They were never able to discover her real identity, and it's something that has haunted the division. This season Rusty, the budding journalist, decides that he's going to track down just who Alice was and creates a video blog to document his investigation. This gets him into some trouble since her murderer hasn't gone to trial yet, and it's more difficult than he originally imagines it will be. The story plays out well (though some of the clues that he finds are a little too convenient) and given Rusty's background his passion for putting a name to the dead girl is very believable.

This is a character-driven show and watching the interaction of the characters (both the leads and the more minor characters) is what makes people tune in week after week. The interplay between Flynn and Provensa is still fun and the dynamics of the whole squad makes for some interesting TV.

Surprisingly for a police procedural show, some of the solutions to the mysteries aren't as satisfying as one would want and the resolutions are generally the weakest part of the program. Some of the ending rely a bit too heavily on coincidence (in one the daughter of a victim say hello to the son of a suspect who just happens to be in the station. That interaction leads Raynor to jump to a conclusion of who the killer is... that just happens to be correct) and other mysteries add clues that are a bit too convenient, like the time a mortally wounded man walks down the street bleeding, taking off his clothes. Following the clothes leads back to the crime scene, but the reason that a man who was bleeding to death would take off his clothes while walking was never mentioned. None of these are glaring errors that ruin the viewing experience; it's only the next day that you realize things were tied up a bit too neatly.

The DVD:

The 23 episodes that make up season four arrive on five DVDs that are housed in a single-width keepcase.


This series comes with a DD 5.1 English soundtrack, which fits the show well. The dialog is clear and the range is adequate. There is some use of the soundstage, but since this is a dialog based show much of the audio is firmly centered on the screen thought he surrounds are employed at times.


This show comes with a nice 1.78:1 widescreen picture which is anamorphically enhanced. The image looked very good. The colors were strong, the image was sharp and the detail was fine. The show was a tad dark in some places, and there is some grain but that is undoubtedly the way the creators intended it. On the digital side, there was a bit of aliasing present in the background, but this was minor


The extras are pretty slim but enjoyable. There are deleted scenes included on five episodes, and a gag reel on the final disc. I was hoping for a commentary track, but what's here is adequate.

Final Thoughts:

While it's not quite as good as its predecessor, The Closer, Major Crimes is a very good show that's fun to watch. The characters are all enjoyable and the most of the mysteries are resolved nicely. Well worth checking out. Recommended.        
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