Major Crimes Review: Julio Sanchez

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It's time to put the debate to rest: with "Citizen's Arrest," Major Crimes set itself apart as not only a fantastic drama willing to take risks, but as a completely different animal than its predecessor The Closer.

From the moment we learned about the crime of the week until the last scene of the episode, every aspect of Major Crimes was perfection. Brenda Leigh Johnson could not have handled the case any better than Sharon Raydor, and it's my assessment that the nature of the case needed the likes of Raydor and her willingness to deal with the ugliest dregs of society. 

Provena & Flynn Flounder

I know my readers, and I can imagine a lot of you might be thinking I've lost my mind. I'm going to write out the points of my argument below, and you can debate me in the comments. This should be good!

When first faced with the idea of losing his ranking managerial position over the major crimes division, Provenza wasn't on board. He was ornery, angry and not afraid to say what he felt about it, even if it was a slight exaggeration. However, Sharon did something that I don't think even Provenza saw coming. She gave him rope. Not to hang himself, but to lead.

Provenza has been leading the team in spirit and in the investigative process since Sharon took over. He's the first person on the scene and Sharon looks to him for what's next. His experience and gut instincts told him the body in the barrel would lead to something bigger, but even he couldn't be prepared for what they encountered next.

When Provenza, Raydor and Flynn knocked on the door of the victim and learned they were in the middle of a live kidnapping, Sharon handled it with authority and common sense. By handing her phone to the wife of the hard-ass husband, she made a connection inside the house and bought some time for them to decide what to do next. It also served as a way to gather information.

That fast, level-headed reaction wasn't lost on Provenza and he didn't hold back when Flynn tried to assert their wrong doing by not alerting the family to the death of their son. They had a daughter who was also missing. Priority number-one then became saving her life. I'm sensing that we may see a sort of bond between Sharon and Provenza like that with Brenda and Gabriel in The Closer.

By gradually earning his respect, Provenza will be an excellent asset to Sharon. She knew coming into the job that it couldn't be done without the team already in place, and she's going to work with them to get the best out of each one.

In the course of this fledgling season, we've learned so much more about Julio Sanchez. Tonight was his night to shine. When DDA Hobbs offered a plea to the scumbag son of a bigger scumbag daddy, the sovereign citizen who had put the entire kidnapping play into motion and he denied it, she quite literally gave the wheel to Sanchez. Even Sykes, who talks a big game, was astounded at what he did.

Julio Sanchez is the heart of major crimes. He was the hidden heart all along, but we get to see him shine this season and Raymond Cruz is delivering stunning performances. If a teenage girl's life is on the line, you want Julio Sanchez on the team looking for her. He will set everything aside to save a life. We saw him go beyond the call of duty when his brother was killed, and we saw him take bullets for Provenza. None of this is a surprise, but it's so much better to watch when we get to see inside the mind of Julio Sanchez.

When the big shoot out occurred at the end, it was Julio who rescued the girl, pulling her out of a storage box and hugging her tightly. He didn't care if he knew her. He had saved a life, and her frightened soul needed his strong support. I teared up watching it and damn if I'm not doing the same writing about it. That's why this review is celebrated with only his character's name as a headline. It's well deserved.

Always in the wings is our little survivor, Rusty. He stands as some sort of moral compass for Raydor and the rest of the squad. He's truly amazed at how often the police have to lie to achieve results. It is rather astounding, and he was right to point it out. While it has turned out that Sharon didn't need Rusty to humanize her character, he still provides a good grounding point for her. 

Last week was a throw away episode, and I said it was good, lighthearted fun. It was. This week the tables were turned. There was little by way of fluff, and the show was superb. I'm not normally one to keep the faith, but with a writing team as good as the one that was behind seven seasons of The Closer, I had no doubt we'd be in for this type of quality. My argument was Major Crimes stands alone and as a very well crafted drama. Agree or disagree? 


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (104 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


red folder contained information about Rusty's DNA test. Hobbs handed it to Raydor, and she was carrying it around during the whole episode.
It's too early for adoption, may be in later seasons (if will be), not in season 1 for sure. Also, Rusty's father will show up soon.


I thought this was an incredible episode. As I was watching it, I was thinking of what I would say here. But, you said most of it already. I agree with your review totatlly, I loved Sanchez in this, and also loved that they are showing Provenza dealing with not being the top person. No matter what the character or actress of Raydor does, you are always going to have people who are going to be critics and not give the character a chance, I call it the Brenda syndrome, and they can't get over it. I loved Brenda and she made the show, but its time to move on. These characters are changing and adjusting to a new leader, as is expected. I love that Rusty is becoming more understanding, as he sees what Sharon has to go through. The red folder that was handed to Rusty, that they were going to go over at dinner. Could that be a petition for adoption?
Does anyone have any other ideas? Great episode.


I am starting to prefer Major Crimes to The Closer...less talk & more action..and loving Sanchez..he was the MAN last night & he and Sykes work well together...TEAM RAYDOR !!!


Very impressed. I am in. It is all clicking now.
I was not so sure about the Rusty character, but I can see how that will work now. I did not like the DA, but I liked her when she let Sanchez take over, yes! I like how Provenza is acting, it is good. You trust his instincts.
Glad they cut back on the buffoonery for his character. I am excited now for this show, where before I was lukewarm. Thanks Closer team for keeping us entertained with this new show.


loving this show and each week gets better - the characters are wonderful and I do like Raydor's dynamic with her group - Rusty softens her up -


Sharon is in a new situation taking the lead of a group that at one time hated her. Mary is playing the role EXACTLY as it was written. The voice, facial expression, this is the character...not Mary. Look up and watch other work of MM and you will appreciate that she is playing part!! If you see her interviews for MC you will see a totally different person! Mary is a phenomenal 2X Oscar nominated actress.


This was without a doubt the best Major Crimes episode to date, but I do love them all!
Sanchez was truly allowed to come into his own in this episode, in a very scary way!!
I loved how Raydor allowed Provenza to take the lead, something that he couldn't do on The Closer!! She is giving all of the team equal time to shine! The true hallmark of a good leader.
The last scene with Rusty and Sharon was truly wonderful, they are building a trust that will be needed in the coming episodes.
As for those of you that feel that Mary McDonnell is playing a one dimensional character. We are seeing a slow rounding out of this character. She is in a new situation


This episode finally established Major Crimes as a separate entity, not dependent on Brenda Leigh. I am trying very hard to warm up to Raydor, and Mary McDonnell's one dimensional delivery isn't helping me. It is great to see Provenza act like the dedicated cop we know he must be. During The Closer he seemed to duck work and criticize everyone, but when he put on the kevlar vest and provided backup to Sanchez he showed us a different and winning side to his personality. He even suggested turning to Sykes because she had the most experience in kidnappings. He was more than just a grumpy old man in this episode and it worked. It was hard to see The Closer end and I am happy that Major Crimes is finally fulfulling its promise.


Definitely the best episode to date. Provenza and Julio are definitely the standouts. Sykes can be removed from the squad as she only brings it down. At first, I appreciated the Rusty character because he definitely represents tens of thousands of kids lost in the system. But if he whines or acts up one more time, I am going to throttle him. Capt. Raydor will never be as dynamic and formidable as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson, and I accept that. I would just like to see more of Raydor's forthrightness as a character emerge. Marshall Dillon on Gunsmoke was a quiet man, but he got the job done. Somehow I still do not feel Raydor taking charge - I feel Provenza in the front leading the charge and his team squarely behind him.


I enjoyed this episode. Anytime Sanchez is allowed to "shine" is a good show in my opinion. Some of the most dramatic shows have been with him in a major storyline. I have to say that both Taylor and Raydor have a strange mono-tonal cadence with their speech that I find extremely annoying. In spite of that, I still will watch Major Crimes. I can't wait for Provenza to "lighten up" and get back to that sarcastic detective that we know and love.

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Major Crimes Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Sykes is not just polishing the apple right now. The captain got it right.


Sharon: Good God we just walked into a kidnapping.
Provenza: If their daughter is still alive.