Major Crimes Season Finale Review “Long Shot”

Major Crimes Season Finale Long Shot

Well, it finally happened. On the final episode, “Long Shot,” of the somewhat abbreviated first season of “The Closer”-spin-off “Major Crimes,” everything finally clicked, much like a shell into the suspect’s sniper rifle. With each subsequent episode of the show, it was becoming clearer and clearer that what seemed a bit shaky at the outset could actually work after all.

I think it’s a testament to the writers that they managed to pull off a tricky transition from a beloved and highly successful- and lucrative- franchise to a spin-off people would actually want to stay tuned for, minus the big-name star that helped make the show a hit in the first place. Mind you, that’s not to say that the season was flawless by any means, simply that ultimately the goal was achieved: the show not only got renewed- and an early renewal at that- it got better as it went along.

Clearly, the writers had a long-term plan in mind, and if they took their sweet time getting there to an extent, they got there nonetheless. Still, if you think about it, spinning-off a character originally intended as an adversary to the lead of the original show and successfully transforming her into both a credible and likable lead is no mean feat.
I may have had my doubts going in, and I fully admit to being a bit skeptical almost every step of the way, but if you look back at my reviews to this point, it’s clear that the show has won me over little by little- and judging by the comments I’ve received and the overall buzz on the show, I’m not alone in that. (If anything, some of you were like, “What was the hold-up on you liking the show again?”)

The final episode of the season, “Long Shot,” revolved around a sniper that seemed to have missed his target- or did he? Although I’m sure those of you who watch “Homeland” were having flashbacks at times, down to the locale of the sniper’s perch and the furniture in the room, no less- what, are they repurposing sets to other shows now?- it was still a pretty decent season-ender. I found it interesting that they picked the most laid-back of drugs- marijuana- to inspire someone to take out a judge, but it’s a “Savages” world, after all. (See what I did there?)

Anyway, the sniper had a rude awakening when an unexpected guest stormed in- a teen Angel (Antony Del Rio) looking to score with his lady-friend. Gunfire ensued and Angel barely escaped meeting an angel no one wants to meet: Death. Not so lucky was his unfortunate dad (Ramon Franco), who fell victim to said sniper when he tracked down the boy’s address, thanks in no small part to some helpful cops, no less. Now that’s irony, Alanis.

I don’t know about you, but I got more than a little misty-eyed when Angel revealed his family’s horrific existence than I have all season with the Rusty deal; but I say that prematurely, as that storyline came to a most satisfying end, just like the pro-Rusty contingent predicted, or at least hoped it would. (More on that in a bit.) Turns out Angel’s entire family, aside from him and his father, were wiped out in one fell murderous sweep. All the while, as the gang listened on, they knew what he didn’t- that his father had met his demise as well. Pretty brutal stuff.

Eventually, the gang was able to set up a sting on the sniper, with the FBI’s help- including Brenda’s hubby, Fritz (Jon Tenney) – ending with a fake-out with a disguised cop in Angel’s staid luring him out of hiding and the sniper going down in a hail of bullets, as befits a man who trades bullets for death. We never did get to see Angel get dealt the crushing reveal of his dad’s demise, but between that first bit and Rusty’s fate, the show-runners must have (smartly) determined to quit while they were ahead, drama-wise.

Onto to Rusty. Many, myself included, suspected his dear old dad was up to something, and that proved to both be the case and not, in a sense. Turns out that Rusty’s dad copped to hitting Rusty after he had confessed his unsavory past in shocking terms in front of his father’s fiancée and her kids. So, dad was an abuser, but not necessary up to anything, per se, as some of us predicted. So, good on ya, all who thought Rusty was on the level and not pulling a fast one in terms of something self-inflicted or the like. I will say that, after being more than a little skeptical of Rusty all this time, I was actually ultimately glad they decided to go the way they did with it. You could even say it warmed my cynical heart a bit, what can I say? Finally, my sympathy went out to the poor guy, and not just because he was on the level, but because he finally let down the tough-guy veneer and showed us the scared boy underneath.

Honestly, how could you not be moved at least a little when the gang rallied around Rusty and basically “adopted” him en masse? I mean, don’t get me wrong, a group hug might have been a bit much, but I thought they handled the situation beautifully. I’m the first to admit I can be a bit dubious of certain network practices: it wouldn’t be the first time that they intentionally tried to tug at heartstrings in hope of better ratings, after all. For me, though, it was just enough emotion without going overboard.

I would also like to point out two of my fave moments of the entire series thus far. Firstly, I LOVED it when Provenza referred to Raydor as a “hall monitor.” He really hit the nail on the head as to why I started out actively disliking her- every time she enters a room, you feel like you’re sitting in the principal’s office even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Mary McDonnell just has that disciplinarian vibe, you know? She’d make a hell of a dominatrix, that one. Or at least a stern librarian.

Moment two, though, was part and parcel of what won me over- no matter what you say about her, Raydor genuinely wants justice for the wronged, even if it can get a bit nasty sometimes. As the sniper lay dying, she fixed him with a cold stare and said: “Can I have a name to put on your death certificate?” Even the sniper smiled a bit at that one. And that’s why I now love Raydor, so stop yer bitching, peeps.

Speaking of which, this being the final review of the season and all, let me just take a moment to thank all of you who took the time to leave comments. This show, of all the shows I review, far and away inspired the most spirited and, dare I say, fun debate? As nice as it was to be supported and backed up by some, it was just as fun debating those who had an opposing point of view.
By all means, gloat up your rightness below, or bemoan how wrong you were, as the case may be. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to say on tonight’s “Major Crimes” finale, “Long Shot,” and by all means comment away, good or bad. After all, when you’re good, you’re good, but when you’re bad, you’re better.

Feel free to check out some of my other reviewed shows as well, by clicking on my name, and hope to see you back for Season Two!

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 loved the finale! It was great episode for all the reasons you mentioned.

    I was one of the people struggling to figure out exactly what Daniel’s game was, and as I thought, there was no game. I think he wanted to prove himself to his fiancee – that he was stable, and would not abandon her and the girls by taking on his responsibility with Rusty. The fact that Rusty was tired of lying about his past and just blurted out the truth was unfortunate, but then he is a damaged teen, so truly, what could we expect? Still, Daniel’s reaction was so wrong, so over the top and beyond, that Rusty is lucky to have the team on his side. I loved the final scene, where they were all waiting for Daniel, and he was like “um, I was hoping to meet alone with Rusty.” HAHA…. good sense of humor, there Daniel – what planet are you from again? I also like how Sanchez moved in behind him – twice – and was his usual menacing self. Heck, even Buzz got in on the action – good for him!! For me, that was the best scene of the entire season.

    And, who could not love an episode with Fritzy in it? Loved his facial expressions and seeming detachment during their discussion, until he moved in and took the bullet….. LOL…. sly dog!

    Can’t wait for season 2!

  • Jonniepat

    Pal-leeze! As if those men would sit and glare at Rusty’s father for doing what they wish they could do! Rusty is the worst brat currently on TV. I wish Sharon would get over her crush on him so we could move on. I am so tired of Rusty’s smirk and supposedly endearing looks.

  • Dobar

    Enough with the kid already

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed the finale! And you picked out some great moments here. 

    I’m really, REALLY glad I was wrong about Rusty maybe having a hand in things. I didn’t want to be right, and I’m glad that’s the way things came down. And Daniel? When he made the remark in Raydor’s office about not intending to hit him *so hard* I was incredulous! So here’s my beef with the episode: as lovely as the ending was — and I truly did love it — why is the Division okay with sending this man back to those two girls of his fiancee’s?? That seems out of character to me that they would only be bothered with Rusty’s fate, and not take a moment to think about the other children who are constantly exposed to this man. 

    Otherwise, the case of the week was decent. It’s always a pleasure to see Fritz in on the action, so that was nice. Also, on a more general note, I really like the way this show truly feels like an ensemble show — you don’t get the feeling that people are just window-dressing; everyone has something important to contribute. 

    Loving the conversion to Raydor’s side, haha. If she’s “Darth Raydor”, then welcome to the Dark Side. :) 

    See you next season!!

    • Mark Trammell

       Agreed on the daughter sitch- I didn’t even think about that! My guess is that, even if the writers DID, the episode was already somewhat overstuffed so they had to pick their battles. Good point, though.
      Also agreed on the ensemble show aspect, I’d argue that “The Closer” never felt more like an ensemble piece than it did with the advent of this show. Individuals matter on “Major Crimes,” and that makes all the difference- unless your the daughters of that family Daniel was about to marry into, I guess, lol!
      And yes, I am now fully converted to the “dark side.” It was bound to happen sooner or later!
      See you next season, and thanks for the comments!

  • Moshepipik

    I’ll admit to being one of the very early converts, but it has been extremley satisfying to see the show win over those like you who came in a little skeptical and a lot concerned. I think what the writers crafted over these 10 episodes was nothing short of brilliant, in terms of setting things up and letting them pay off slowly and naturally. To be honest its not something I would have expected, given the one-dimensional way most of The Closer tended to be handled, but they navigated this treacherous path with delicacy and grace. I never had any doubts about Mary McDonnell, only concerns that the material itself wouldn’t be worthy of her talents- in that way, it has been a joy and relief to see the show, and everyone in it, rise to the occasion.

    • Mark Trammell

       Agree wholeheartedly with everything you said! They definitely won me over slowly but surely, and did a fine job plotting out the entire season to get me there. It was a gradual process but a worthwhile one! Especially since, like you said, I was very much skeptical going in. That said, it really does have a different feel to it than “Closer” and I may ultimately even like it better in the long run if they keep the quality up. We’ll see next season, but my fingers are crossed on their behalf.

  • Brightonjack

    The story about the father didn’t make much sense to me. Why did he want to meet his son so badly. Just to impress Amy? If she was happy with him before why did he need a son. The writing for this was not very clever compared to that of the Closer’s season threads of leaks and lawsuits. I am wondering if Sharon’s husband and sons are even alive. Why keep the clothes of a husband gone for 20 years? Just seems to me like the apartment is a Shrine.

  • Rosalie

    Why did the final episode not air in Orlando Florida like it was suppose too! Does anyone know