Major Crimes Review: Tao's Turn

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"Dismissed With Prejudice" marks the first time I haven't felt Major Crimes took its new dynamic and knocked it out of the park. It's a shame, really, because it was Tao's turn in the spotlight and it didn't turn out at all like I was expecting.

So, let's start with the lighter fare and chat about Rusty...

Tao Faces The Consequences

Rusty going out with Mr. Dunn, his biological father, allowed for another fun exchange with the squad. Provenza and Buzz giving him advice on meeting him was so sweet. I realize it's borderline ridiculous how quickly everyone has taken to Rusty, but it works. Nobody expected it to, and admittedly many of us are probably still expecting it to blow up in our faces, but all signs point to that ship leaving the harbor. Rusty's a keeper.

Rusty's dad was trying so hard to make a connection. I really hope he doesn't turn out to be a lost cause for Rusty, but I worry about him because of his fiance with two daughters. With so many father figures at the office, Daniel leaving would leave a mark - but not a scar any deeper than those Rusty has already suffered. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that's not a route we examine. The kid needs a break.

The only other thing going on was the dismissed murder case Tao worked in 2004. Even though Tao was genuinely sorry for what seemed to be a botched case from years earlier, every time he approached the father or daughter I was uncomfortable. He stepped in front of them, touched them, grabbed Lydia's arm. I didn't expect his interpersonal skills within an investigation to be so questionable.

Given how fleshed out Sanchez has been this season, I had higher hopes for Mike Tao. I've always thought he was more of an expert with evidence, ballistics and such, so discovering he was in charge of a case in 2004 was a bit of a shock. His need to solve the case almost came off as desperation rather than wanting to make things right and prove he had done his job the first time. It didn't seem that the writers gave the same credence to Tao that has been given to the other characters so far this season. I'm going to need another Tao episode as a quick follow up. Michael Paul Chan deserves a better story to shine.

It was nice to see Fritz back, but it was still odd that nobody asked after Brenda. While it's understandable there is a desire to keep Major Crimes a separate series, would it really be too intrusive to just remember that she once ran the department and is now supposedly working right down the street? Or maybe nobody asks about her because she's around so often, off screen, that there isn't a need. It could be my need to for the nod, and I need to get over it!

Despite the unsatisfying showing for Tao, the ensemble focus still rules Major Crimes and makes it a very unique crime drama. Now that it's been renewed for a second season, we can surely expect to learn even more from these intriguing characters. 


Editor Rating: 3.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (43 Votes)

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


About Mary's face: it did bothered me, too, at least a little. But I am not 100% sure it is plastic or botox or something like that. I would like to believe it was not. IMHO it could be simply make-up, since in the first scene with Daniel she had no wrinkles around her eyes and her face seemed unnaturally stiff, even stiffer than usual, and than in the last scene she had much more wrinkles and much more emotions. I think the makers should accept she is 60 and wrinkles are not so bad at this age, they are actually much better than too much make-up (or Botox or face-lifting). The more natural she is, the more beautiful she looks.


Mary's face without glasses looks great, I was so fascinated she took them off, that could hardly follow the dialog. I agree that she might had some plastic, but I don't think her face expressions suffered from that, I mean, what is she supposed to do - open her mouth wider? Well, her mouth will mever be as wide, as Kyra's :) (who probably also had plastic, by the way, being 13 years younger)


I like the show, not as much without Kyra Sedgwick, but I still like it. And I like Mary McDonnell (Raydor). Her character isn't as dominant as Brenda, but someone has to be in charge. However, let's be honest here - she's had a lot of face work done that's not visible when she has her glasses on. So, please, do not have her remove her glasses under any circumstances. Unless, of course, she's supposed to be a police captain who's addicted to cosmetic surgery. In that case, you might have Dr. Phil come on for a cameo during which he tries to straighten her out.


Tao is my least favorite character, and the least favorite cast member too, as his acting seems to be quite fake.
The fact that he made mistake with blood samples is quite symbolic, it was nice idea. But I think writers did not use the whole potential of this plot, it could be more conflicted and emotionally complicated, taking into account that Raydor worked in Internal Affairs.
Rusty tie scene was really sweet :)


I suppose this could be a huge coincidence, but I found the courtroom scene at the beginning very odd and kind of intriguing. Mind you, we are into the last month before the presidential election between President Obama and Mitt Romney. So we see the first judge, an african-american woman named "Judge Black", presides over the original trial in which William Reichman is (justly) convicted of murdering his wife in 2004, then it immediately segues into the same courtroom (same court reporter) 8 years later, but Judge Black is no longer on the bench having been replaced by the white, male "Judge Richwood" who reverses the conviction "with prejudice". What is up with the writing, character names, casting, and editing of this scene?! After Judge Richwood enters the courtroom, everyone stands and recites The Pledge of Allegiance and the camera starts on the plaintiff and defendant tables then pans over and hovers on 4 members our incredibly racially diverse Major Crimes squad (in order: Tao, asian; Sanchez, hispanic; Sykes, black; Buzz, white). (Why are Sykes and Buzz even there? I guess to set up the fake News crews thing afterwards....) First the (hispanic) D.A. tries to explain that they haven't had enough time to go over the new evidence (one term?). Then the overly smarmy, smug (white) defense attorney interrupts and says they have had plenty of time. Then he diverts attention away from the fact that the other side need a continuance (to straighten out the mess created by defendant) and patriotically invokes the Pledge of Allegiance that they just recited, gives his version of "injustice". Judge Ritchy Rich who then scolds the prosecution and Tao, humbly apologizes to the murderer, Adolf Reich, and dismisses "with prejudice", making it impossible for them to prosecute him again for the crime if new evidence arises (which it does).


I liked this episode and enjoyed all the plots, subplots, undertones and nuanced performances....or whatever the current storytelling is called. Tao was great, his strength has always been his tenacity, he keeps at it even if it involves minute painstaking work. I have always felt that the buffoon episodes of Flynn and Provenza were unnatural (although pretty funny). I like the elder statesman Provenza, that is what he does best. His statement one liners "drug dealers killing drug dealers, shocking" or the husband always does it is pretty funny and in keeping with the character. Love this show.


I enjoyed this episode, but after watching so many "cops and robbers" type shows, I had a sickening feeling that this man killed his wife. Added to that, was that Tao, simply does not make a mistake like the one implied. Then there's the blood testing. You know that all of the blood will be tested, so the discovery of a sample proving (eight years later) that there was another person in the house was odd.
The final scene when the murderer told his daughter that he was sorry he hadn't killed her was completely creepy, disgusting and evil.
As an aside, I'm not sure I like the new Provenza, but then halfway through season five when he'd cut off Tao was very off-putting already. The "I know more than you do" behavior he's been exhibiting just doesn't mesh with getting all buffoonish with Flynn.


I was excited to see that Major Crimes was renewed for a 2nd season. The writers have gotten their feet wet with the new show and now they can see what works and what does not work. They are used to focusing on Brenda so this is new territory for them and for us in exploring the other characters like Tao and Sanchez. Plus i give the show big time credit. They are spinning off at a time when a very popular show has ended and that is not an easy thing to do by any means. But i do have one request. I want to see Raydor bail out Flynn and Provenza if they get into a jam. She is so straight faced I would love to see it!

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Major Crimes Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Who stares directly into an airport security camera?


Tao: Lydia, what did you see when you went downstairs?
Lydia: I saw daddy stabbing mommy with a knife.