'The Closer' Finale and 'Major Crimes' Premiere Reviews: Goodbye and Hello
'The Closer' Finale and 'Major Crimes' Premiere Reviews: Goodbye and Hello
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
After seven years and more than 100 cases, The Closer is about to say "Thank you, thank you so much" for the last time. The Kyra Sedgwick drama's series finale airs Monday, August 13 at 9pm and is followed by the series premiere of the show's spin-off, Major Crimes.

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The Closer series finale isn't really a goodbye to the show, but rather a goodbye to Sedgwick's Brenda Leigh Johnson. Her final case fittingly involves Phillip Stroh, Billy Burke's sadistic lawyer/serial rapist who is Brenda's white whale. The episode is full of surprising and things definitely don't end the way you might think they would.

Though The Closer's final episode is a decent farewell, in some ways it doesn't feel like a finale at all. Major Crimes isn't so much a spin-off as a continuation. It has many of the same characters, the same setting and even the same opening title sequence. It's almost impossible to get sentimental about The Closer's final episode when it's immediately followed by a show so identical to it.

In that respect, The Closer's series finale loses a lot of its potential impact. Yes, we say goodbye to Brenda, but it's set up in a way that she could easily pop up again on Major Crimes whenever Sedgwick's schedule is free. Why should we let her go when the door is left wide open for her to return?

Major Crimes itself does try slightly to distinguish itself from The Closer on a philosophical level regarding its treatment of suspects, but unless you're particularly interested in ideological debates about jurisprudence, the differences won't really matter. It's still mostly the same team (plus one new female detective) solving the same types of cases. Even Brenda's husband Fritz sticks around.

The only real change of pace for Major Crimes is the home-life story. While The Closer featured Brenda's relationship with Fritz, Major Crimes pairs Mary McDonnell's Captain Sharon Raydor with a 16-year-old orphan introduced in The Closer's finale. The character seems superfluous from the start and preposterous in the execution. He seems like The Brady Bunch's Cousin Oliver, or, more fittingly, like the final season of Ally McBeal when the female lawyer's teenage kid showed up out of nowhere.

I would like to say goodbye to The Closer with a fitting tribute to the Emmy-winning drama that put TNT on the map as a destination for great procedural dramas. But, thanks to Major Crimes, I can't. The Closer isn't ending, it's just continuing under a different name and with a new leading lady.

(Image courtesy of TNT)

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