The title of this episode had nothing to do with Rios and the show's attempt to make her more agreeable, but to me, that was the big "Backfire."
I'm honestly growing weary of many of the ongoing stories on Major Crimes and I desperately wish the show would find a balance between the crimes, the personalities of the characters and the relationships between them. As of right now, that's just not happening.
Regarding the Rios of the portion of the hour, there is just something about Nadine Velazquez and the way she portrays her that will never fit with Major Crimes. Maybe it's way she moves... or the slight adjustment of her eyes as she attempts to be sly never come off as appropriate to the situation.
By the end of this episode, we were to believe she has bought so fully into making deals, something she was completely against at the beginning of the season when she was introduced that she was willing to backtalk a judge in an attempt to reprimand him for not taking another deal because a scumbag murderer was murdered himself. She was using that as a justification that could have saved a murderer's life.
Rios didn't stop to think before bringing all of that up to the judge that if he had accepted her original plea agreement they may have never found out about Briana and her involvement with the FBI and Cory and many more innocent people could have died as a result. Just an all-around UGH for DDA Rios. With the summer finale coming in next week, and absolutely NO ACTION on the Stroh case for which she was brought onto the canvas in the first place, I am begging the production team to reevaluate her involvement with the show.
The case also brought up extremely mixed signals from the perspective of Sharon and Rusty. The former already knows Rusty has been receiving letters he's not sharing with her and is uncomfortable even being friends with a girl because of his involvement with the Stroh case as a witness, yet she referenced, in his presence (more than once), that being around criminals will eventually make you a victim, a witness or a criminal yourself. Just what message was she trying to send?
If this was meant to be a confusing look into the minds of the group as they prepare for some freak that is coming out of hiding and into Rusty's life for the summer finale, I guess it worked - because I'm confused. There were mixed messages from every direction, a frightened teenage boy who suddenly had a hankering for the mother who abandoned him (where did that come from?) and an annoying DDA still left standing.
Whatever the summer finale brings, I hope it brings change because the first half of Major Crimes season 2 has been somewhat of a letdown after the powerful first season. Hopefully the references to Brenda Leigh Johnson mean something. I can wish, right?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.