“Major Crimes”: The Complete Second Season is successful more on the ensemble cast, with Mary McDonnell leading the way, more so than the plots and the season-long subplot. The DVD released by Warner Brothers has good audio and video transfers but is a bit limited with the bonus material.
“Major Crimes”: The Complete Second Season
Genre(s): Crime, Drama, Comedy
Warner Home Video | NR – 800 min. – $59.98 | June 10, 2014
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
In its sophomore season, “Major Crimes” continues its procedural crime drama (with bouts of comedy) ways while also advancing a side-story seemingly not very popular amongst some viewers, though this one didn’t mind it at all as it provided some decent mystery element.
Season two finds the squad — Captain Sharon Raydor (MARY MCDONNELL), Lieutenant Provenza (G.W. BAILEY), Lieutenant Flynn (TONY DENISON), Lieutenant Tao (MICHAEL PAUL CHAN), Detective Sanchez (RAYMOND CRUZ), Detective Sykes (KEARRAN GIOVANNI), videographer Buzz Watson (PHILLIP P. KEENE) and Assistant Chief Taylor (ROBERT GOSSETT) — most of whom, save for Sykes, were holdovers from “The Closer”, investigating a variety of crimes, mostly murder, like the pregnant wife of a film director; a seemingly gang-related drive-by shooting; the murder of a property manager housing former TV stars; and some personal cases as well as a serial killer. In addition, we are introduced to D.D.A. Emma Rios (NADINE VELAZQUEZ) serving as a minor catalyst with the team, though by season’s end seems to be more of a team player.
Also a part of the season, as mentioned, was a season-long B-plotline where Rusty, as he prepares to testify against attorney-turned-serial killer Phillip Stroh (though actor Billy Burke, who played the character on “The Closer” does not make an appearance) and in the process begins receiving anonymous and threatening letters, most of which he keeps hidden from guardian Raydor, who herself develops a deeper motherly relationship with Rusty. Thankfully this storyline does have a conclusion at the end of the season rather than a drawn out cliffhanger that writers today love to employ.
But more than story, it’s the characters that are the reason why “Major Crimes” succeeds as well as it does. Of course, it helps that the majority were already established in a previous series but most surprisingly, and a bit unexpected, Mary McDonnell is a fine replacement for the once thought indispensible Kyra Sedgewick and they turned a character who was previously an obnoxious antagonist into something far more relatable and likeable, this tradition continues into its second season as we learn more about her and meeting Raydor’s estranged husband played brilliantly by Tom Berenger.
Outside of McDonnell, the chemistry between the ensemble cast is still strong and provide a nice balance of action, drama with a smidge of truly funny comedy primarily at the hands of the curmudgeon Provenza played by G.W. Bailey. The others help further oft times predictable single episode stories, without whom I feel the series would quickly get stale.
This season also finds Jon Tenney guest appearing on a few episodes as FBI Agent Fritz Howard who himself will be starring in a yet untitled spin-off with a backdoor pilot set to premiere during the third season… We’ll see how that goes.
In any case (no pun intended), “Major Crimes” is an enjoyable series that succeeds thanks to the ensemble cast more so than the storylines and/or crimes, though there are a few that do stand out. It’s also a show that’s not too hard to get into even if you missed some or all of the first season or even “The Closer”, though you’ll find more satisfaction already knowing these characters.
1. Final Cut
2. False Pretenses
3. Under the Influence
4. I, Witness
6. Boys Will Be Boys
7. Rules of Engagement
8. The Deep End
9. There’s No Place Like Home
11. Poster Boy
12. Pick Your Poison
14. All In
15. Curve Ball
16. Risk Assessment
17. Year-End Blowout
18. Return to Sender
19. Return to Sender – Part 2
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
The 4-disc set comes in a standard DVD case which is housed in a side-sliding slip cover. There is an episode guide included inside the case.
Deleted Scene (1:17) on ‘False Pretenses’
Deleted Scenes (3:41) on ‘The Deep End’ and ‘There’s No Place Like Home’
Deleted Scenes (2:17) on ‘Poster Boy’
“Major Crimes”: Personal Conviction (23:55) examines the second season and the characters’ identities and the progression throughout the year and has some on-set interviews with the cast and crew.
Behind the Scenes: A Look Forward (4:33) is a sneak peek at the third season.
Deleted Scenes (10:25) on ‘Risk Assessment’ and ‘Return to Sender – Part 2’
VIDEO – 4.0/5
“Major Crimes”: The Complete Second Season arrives to the scene on DVD with each episode presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78 AR) and for the most part matches what aired with bright colors throughout and minimal pixilation and artifacts, in fact it’s a fairly clean video.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track offered up is solid with crisp and clear dialogue levels while any effects or action elements tend to be up front rather than spread through every channel. The front and rear speakers are mostly relegated for the episodic score and some ambient noises.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, “Major Crimes”: The Complete Second Season is successful more on the ensemble cast, with Mary McDonnell leading the way, more so than the plots and the season-long subplot. The DVD released by Warner Brothers has good audio and video transfers but is a bit limited with the bonus material.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman