Commander Taylor, er, Assistant Chief Taylor makes his attempt to roll out a completely revamped Major Crimes division of the Los Angeles Police Department in tonight's premiere episode, "Reloaded."
To say there are major shoes to fill is an understatement. Going off the assumption that Pope is the new Chief of Police, then Taylor is the new Assistant Chief. None of it seems to roll off the tongue.
One of the things that immediately struck me was that I've never known what Taylor did in his role on The Closer. Exactly why would he have been the natural replacement for Pope? I seem to recall something about being the media liaison. That could be why he stood around a lot and did nothing. He reminded me of the guy in Office Space with his red stapler. The sheer fact that he was still showing up to work at all was a surprise.
And yet, there he was. Doing commanding type things at a crime scene in the same smug way he did them back when The Closer first started. Which is to say he was doing them with an annoying flair and somewhat of a God complex. There's little doubt he brought Raydor on board because he wouldn't know how to handle the work on his own.
As the hour started out, Provenza was the lead in Major Crimes, as he had the most seniority. He seemed to be handling the cases well, and everyone was getting along. There were no flies in the ointment, so to speak. Except for Taylor, and our knowledge that he was going to rattle the cage just to put his own mark on Major Crimes. That he chose to do so in the middle of a severe shoot-em-up in the middle of civilian territory was typical Taylor Tact.
Was that a fair way to introduce Raydor as a lead? Not only was it done in an antagonistic manner, but their new modus operandi is to plea bargain the cases to avoid the death penalty. If that's the way the series continues, will it be enough to hold the interest of the audience? Is it easy to care about the cases knowing the heinous killer will always plea down? One thing of note was Raydor's comment that when they make a deal the suspect throws away all rights to appeal. Ever? If that's true, it might not be so bad after all, as the same cases won't continue to come back to haunt them.
The best part of the premiere, for me, was the increased usage of Tao and Sanchez. They were always a little underutilized on The Closer and if the premiere is any indication, they will finally get their due on Major Crimes. Two of my top 10 Closer moments included Sanchez, and yet he was one of the least discovered characters. Perhaps I was not the only one who put those in my top ten.
That the case of the week involved one of the new squad members, a recognized character actors, worked out quite well. I like when programs take that risk, because it makes the subject matter feel a bit more personal. These things can happen to anyone, at any time. Even one of our own. His son's actions opened the door for another female to join Major Crimes, something we haven't had for quite a few seasons now.
While watching The Closer finale, I had hoped that Brenda and Fritz might take in Rusty. Instead, he was used as an attempt to humanize Sharon Raydor. It works for me. When they said a major character would be added to the cast via the last episode of The Closer, this couldn't have been further from what I had in mind. They had to do something to breathe life into Sharon (I can't call her Raydor forever, can I?). She showed her kindheartedness on the down low in the past. Being responsible for a vulnerable teenager when she herself is swimming in new waters should help her to uncage it more often.
Was it the best premiere I've ever seen? No. But certainly not the worst. Sliding right off the back of such a beloved show's finale, they did the best they could without overshadowing what had just gone down.
If it had really come in and kicked ass (remember when Raydor was using a pump action paint ball gun in the street that one time?), I might have been a little angry that she was trying to show up my girl Brenda too quickly. Now she has time to ease into it gradually, and win the squad over just as Brenda had to, once upon a time.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.