Major Crimes Season 1 Review “Dismissed with Prejudice”

Major Crimes (TNT) Episode 8 Dismissed with Prejudice (8)

Tonight’s episode of Major Crimes, “Dismissed with Prejudice,” started with a flashback…how did we know? It had that out-of-whack off-kilter color scheme thing happening, for one; more importantly, it had Lt. Tao (Michael Paul Chan) sporting a full-on 70′s porn-style ‘stache! Oh yeah! (Okay, the flashback was actually set only eight-and-a-half years ago, but I know a 70′s mustache when I see one…)

I kid Major Crimes, but it’s with love, I assure you. Truth is, I always enjoy a closer look at The Closer team’s individual members, and hoped that we would get more of it on the spin-off, and that has essentially proven true.

Tonight was Tao’s turn, and it was a pretty good- if a bit predictable- tale of a father who may not have killed his wife, despite the hard evidence and compelling testimony from his own daughter way back when. Turns out some new DNA evidence has cropped up and that, combined with the father having won over the daughter to his innocence, results in the father being set free. Or should I say, to the case being… “Dismissed with Prejudice”! (See what I did there?)

So, it’s up to Tao to prove his mettle by either clearing the father once and for all or finding the “real” culprit- in this case, a long M.I.A. man with a dubious track record, whose disappearance coincides with the disappearance of a whole lot of money. There also appears to be some connection to the father’s wife, possibly of the romantic variety. The plot thickens!

So, did Pops do it or not? Or did our new suspect take out the wife over money and split town? I thought the father (William R. Moses, a long way from The Secret Life of the American Teenager) was just cagey enough to keep you guessing, but it seemed pretty obvious that he likely did do it, even from the flashback. After all, child or not, you don’t soon forget seeing something like that, even if you’d like to, and she seemed pretty convincing in the flashbacks.

That said, kudos to Moses for keeping us on the fence about his guilt or innocence, and to Tina Ivlev as the daughter for helping to keep us unsure one way or another. By far the most chilling moment of the season has to be that moment- spoiler alert!- when confronted with the evidence of her father’s undeniable guilt, she approaches him and he says, going from reassurance to a snarl in the space of a couple of lines: “You know my only regret? That I didn’t kill you while I was at it.” Yikes! Better reserve that therapist now, kid, if you haven’t already. You’re gonna need it for years to come.
Tao had some nice moments where he doubted himself, before he got that steely gaze we know so well by now and we knew he wasn’t going to stop until he proved that he was right all along. Mission accomplished, sterling record kept. That’s how you do it, folks.

There was also some more subplot shenanigans with Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) getting to know his biological father, played by Teen Wolf regular Ian Bohen. Not unlike Moses, Bohen is proving mighty hard to pin down. Is he a good guy trying to do the right thing, or is he a scumbag running some scam? It’s hard to say, but I’m erring on the side of dubious.

On the other hand, I’m not the hugest fan of Martin, so if it gets him off the show, then I’m all for it. Plus, how about that unfettered look of sadness on Raydor’s face at the very end? Nice moment there. Mary McDonnell is clearly settling into the role, and we’re definitely starting to see more chinks in that hard façade she always makes seem so effortless. (You’ll recall there was a similar moment in last week’s ep as well.)

Just two more episodes to go, and the show is really just starting to grow on me. Isn’t that always the way? Well, there’s good news for fans- it just got picked up for a second season! Insert cheer- or boo, as the case may be- here.

So, what did you think? Nice to see Tao get his moment to shine? Do you think the show is getting better as it goes along? Are you sad to see it go, or do you wish they’d left well enough alone in the first place and ended it with The Closer? Let me know in the comments section!

Follow me on Twitter @rip_mr_gordo

About The Author

Mark Trammell is the resident entertainment critic at UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is also a Graduate Student and does a vid-cast movie review show. His impossible dream is that "Twin Peaks" will one day be resurrected and pick up where it left off. Until then, he drowns his woes in anything remotely similar, from "Buffy" to "Lost" to "Pretty Little Liars." This has not always been a good thing-cough, "Ringer", cough- but now at least it can help pay the bills.

  • ptjackson

    I enjoyed this episode too – loved an episode focusing on Tao. Loved  that Provenza was right “it’s always the husband.” LOL…..

    I think Rusty’s dad is the real deal. Just my gut feeling.

    I can’t wait for season 2, and of course the last two episodes of season 1!

    • http://www.tvequals.com/ Americ Ngwije

      Ah PT, you are such an optimist. I think Daddy is up to no good.

      • ptjackson

         It’s my most endearing characteristic… ROTFLOL….

        But, if he is, what is his angle?

        • http://www.tvequals.com/ Americ Ngwije

          Hard to tell but I think that he wants something from Rusty that I can’t quite put my finger on.

          • ptjackson

             Intriguing! Guess we have to wait and see what the writers have in store for us!

    • Mark Trammell

       I feel like if Rusty’s dad is indeed the real deal, it’ll be to give writers a reason to ship Rusty off the show, and the writers will probably base which way to go from the temperature of the public overall. Not sure what that is right offhand, but the show did get renewed, so we’ll see…
      Gotta love the Provenza. I would have been fine if he’d been the lead instead MM…no offense to her.

      • ptjackson

         Interesting thought, and I think it makes sense.

        And, yeah, Provenza is great…. 8-)

  • NonRon

    “You know what I’m sorry for? I should have killed you, too.” Most viewers found that startling, creepy and evil. But consider another interpretation. Tao told the daughter that her dad wanted to go straight to jail to spare her the emotional trauma of testifying against him again; the daughter wonders, “Why don’t I hate him?” Well, now she can. Perhaps pops said this only and specifically to turn himself into a monster in his daughter’s eyes, thinking this would actually be doing her a favor for the rest of her life. Thoughts?

    • http://www.tvequals.com/ Americ Ngwije

      Interesting theory. Usually when that is the case, there is editing showing contrition or pain in the father’s face after the fact. Because we didn’t get that, I am somewhat dubious that he was trying to do that.

      And let’s assume that it was his intention. Really? There were 10 different ways of giving her closure without scarring her for life. Talk about daddy issues.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • NonRon

        Good points, and I am still unsure. If dad is all-evil, then Tao is wrong when he tells Lydia, “Maybe this is your father’s way of showing that he loves you,” which undermines the story arc that Tao has been right, not wrong, after all. Most likely I’m overthinking it, and the he’s-creepy crowd is right. 

      • Mark Trammell

         Good point. They usually do tend to show regret on someone’s face in a situation like NonRon suggested. Still, nice interpretation! It never occurred to me that would be the case, but it’s plausible.

    • Mark Trammell

       Mmm…wow…mind officially blown. Even if that isn’t right, I sort of wish it were true! In the moment, it sure was scary & unsettling, though. I’d watch it again if I could, but my DVR is all kinds of maxed out, so it was gone immediately after I watched it. The next time I do, though, I’ll think about that! (I’m sure it’s online by now.)