Major Crimes (TV)

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Name: Major Crimes
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: James Duff
Date(s): August 13, 2012 - January 9, 2017
Medium: Live-action television
Country of Origin: USA
External Links:
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Major Crimes is an American police procedural that aired on TNT for six seasons. It is a spin off of The Closer.

Popular Pairings

Controversies

Role of Rusty Beck

  • Following the shift away from the Phillip Stroh storyline at the end of season three, some fans felt Rusty was being shoehorned into the show
    • Some felt it was largely at Sharon's expense

Death of Sharon Raydor

For years, many fans had been critical of the relative lack of focus on Sharon. Ahead of season six, series creator James Duff seemingly acknowledged this criticism and promised Sharon would get a major personal story[1]:

We found a way to give Mary something worthy of her Oscar abilities. She’s an amazing actor and she was given a lot of great stuff to do [over the past five seasons] don’t get me wrong, but she did not have something huge to play. So we gave her something really big to play and we gave her a big, big, personal story in addition to the marriage. Her story could have ended in different ways. We were waiting to see how things would go and she was waiting to see how she felt about what was happening. Everything we did in the show, Mary and I did together. It was a collaboration from the beginning. She and I ultimately looked at each other and said ‘this is the way we’re gonna go’. That was not just a creative decision, but we didn’t want to be left hanging with no ending. We just didn’t want that. We wanted to have a complete and finished storyline for her, and for Sanchez, and for Rusty, and for Provenza, and for Buzz.

This personal story turned out to be a health issue that ultimately led to Sharon's death at the end of the season's ninth episode, four episodes before the end of the series. The following day, Duff offered a variety of explanations for this storytelling decision: [2]

As for the timing of the character’s exit (with four episodes left in the final season), Duff explains, “As Sharon said to Provenza, many, many people die with this disease, not from it. And we had discussed maybe having her retire for medical reasons. But that left open the chance they she could get a transplant and come back, and the show would not really have a curtain [call]. And if we [killed her off] in the last episode, we felt that would be a dark way to end the whole series.”

And to be “brutally honest,” as Duff puts it, to keep Sharon alive through what at the time had not been publicly announced as the final season would have done a disservice to its star.

“We knew they were going to cancel the show, but we did not know they were going to [announce that] in advance of airing it,” Duff says. “What was Mary to do in that situation? If we had left the fate of her character in the air, people would not know she was available. And who am I to coop up Mary McDonnell in a dead show? That does not honor our professional relationship in any way, shape or form.”

What viewers witnessed Wednesday night “was not just Sharon’s death, it was the death of the show,” Duff affirms. “In a way, it was a metaphor.”
  • Various statements from actors suggest the decision to kill Sharon came before the show's cancellation, further annoying fans

Fan reaction to Sharon's death was largely negative, with many finding it pointless, unnecessary, or even spiteful.[3][4][5][6][7] There was a sense among many fans that Sharon deserved better, and one Tumblr gifset to that effect amassed nearly 400 notes in two weeks.[8]

The negative reaction arose in part from the way the season -- and Sharon's role in it -- had been promoted:

They knew it even when we were being told that the end of the show would be a satisfying conclusion for the fans. They knew about it at the wedding and through every small moment this season. We, on the other hand, were completely blindsided by it. And even if we did have an inkling that this may be the outcome (which admittedly, I just didn’t believe), we were reassured and lulled into a sense of comfort. All of that changed close to a week ago. So, we are left feeling betrayed. And betrayal is a difficult thing to move past. It’s difficult to let go of the anger that accompanies it.

-- whatyouareiswhoilove [9]

I’m angry because James continuously lied to the fans. He kept saying he was going to write really great stuff to show case Mary and he kept referencing how we would get to see some of the old Sharon and that didn’t happen.

-- roslinfanatic [10]

Many fans also took issue with the way Sharon died, finding the actions Sharon took (or failed to take) prior to her death to be out of character:

Listen, I’m plenty mad at James Duff IRL, but I am mad as FUCK at Sharon in tv-world. You chose to compromise your health for a confession? When the fuck did you turn into Brenda Leigh Johnson, aka the character who was roasted for being a workaholic at the expense of everything and everyone else? You were supposed to have learned from her mistakes! You were the anti-Brenda. The Sharon who started this series NEVER would have risked her life for a fucking confession that they WERE GOING TO GET ANYWAY. What happened to the “deal making process?” What the actual fuck.

--holdontohopelove[11]

So uhhhhh what I'm being asked to believe is that Sharon Raydor, when her phone started ringing and knowing what that meant, decided she would rather keep yelling at a suspect than spend another day with her kids and husband.

--atmodrop[12]

Some fans even felt her behavior meant her death was equivalent to suicide[13][14][15]:

At one point, I was nearly convinced that Sharon was going to shoot herself. That’s how dire all the lead-up made it feel. In the end, I think what we got was not all that much different. That fills me with rage.

--nevereverything[16]

Here is what bugs me most about the death of Sharon Raydor: It goes against absolutely *everything* she stands for, against each and everything that has been relentlessly been pushed on us as her core values over the years:

- The Rules: An officer in the field, interrogating a suspect, making decisions while very, very sick? There must be a rule against that. It is - at the very least - a lawsuit in the making. Her love of the rules was mentioned so frequently that it became a joke, then became a lame joke. No way that character, as written throughout the series, would act in such blatant disregard for the rules.

- Her Faith: About the only personal trait Duff could come up with for Sharon was her faith in God and the church. What Sharon Raydor did was suicide. Her actions led to her own death with as much intent as anyone could ask for. We all know what the Catholic church’s views on suicide are.

- Her Being a Mother: This is what bugs me most of all. Throughout the show and the accompanying interviews, everyone constantly referred to Sharon as the “mother archetype”. Sharon is, first and foremost, a mother. And now, in the face of the Stroh threat, she willfully pushes herself to die and leaves Rusty behind? Even if Stroh wasn’t in the picture, I’d find that hard to believe. --shannonlikescoffee[17]

Fanfiction addressing Sharon's death began appearing less than a day after the episode aired. Of the 24 Major Crimes stories published on Fanfiction.Net in the week following the episode, eight portrayed the aftermath of Sharon's death, while eight others served as fix-it fic. In the Archive of Our Own's Sharon Raydor tag, ten works were posted in the same timeframe, with two stories portraying Sharon's death and five serving as fix-its. Some authors also published fic that avoided recent events altogether, choosing instead to "think of Sharon at a happier time in her life."[18]

Two episodes of Major Crimes aired the week after Sharon's death, and both episodes further contributed to the ire some fans felt.

The first episode to air that night ("By Any Means: Part 1") began with Sharon's funeral, and some fans expressed displeasure with its brevity,[19][20][21] feeling it was indicative of "where Sharon Raydor really ranked on this show".[22] Furthering that opinion, the episode also had Sharon contradict previously-established canon regarding her life and that of her children: in a video recorded before her death, she referred to her son Ricky, rather than her daughter Emily, as her firstborn child, prompting already-frustrated fans to express anger, disappointment, and exasperation.[23][24][25][26][27][28]

In that night's second episode ("By Any Means: Part 2"), Mary McDonnell's name was removed from the opening credits, which some fans found disrespectful, and which TV critic Maureen Ryan later called "perplexing"[29] and "incomprehensible"[30] when considered with the rest of the circumstances around Sharon's death. To protest this removal of McDonnell's name from the credits, some fans on Twitter changed their icons to a screen capture of her name as it appeared in the credits. McDonnell herself joined in[31], calling it "a great idea"[32] and later writing in a column for Variety that:

One of the amazing things that went on in the last few weeks was the fan response to my name being removed from the credits. Many fans decided to change their profile pictures to a shot of my name as I was formally billed, against a black background. I joined them and changed my picture online for a few days, frankly because I was as shocked that my name was removed as they were. Neither I nor my representatives knew this was going to happen.

I honestly felt the fans’ response to be galvanizing. My Twitter feed turned almost completely black with my name in the starring position. It was actually energizing. A lively protest. Genius!

-- Mary McDonnell[33]

Fannish Links

References

  1. Munn, Patrick. ‘Major Crimes’ Showrunner James Duff Talks Final Season, Sharon & Andy’s Wedding, Phillip Stroh & More, published 16 October 2017 at TVWise. (Accessed 4 January 2018.)
  2. Mitovich, Matt Webb. Major Crimes Boss: 'Unexpected' Twist Was Metaphor for 'Death of the Show' — Cancelled Series Won't Be Rescued, published 20 December 2017 at TVLine. (Accessed 4 January 2018.)
  3. ginger ninja (funkasaurusrex). "We're not mad that Sharon Raydor died. We'd mourn but not rage if she died in the line. We rage because her death was pointless. #MajorCrimes". 20 Dec 2017, 4:09 PM . Tweet.
  4. Leonarda, Julia (jules_leonarda). "I can't even mourn one of my favourite characters because I'm so incredibly livid over the sheer pointlessness of her demise. Well done. #MajorCrimes". 20 Dec, 5:11 AM. Tweet.
  5. Olga (witzseeker). " Caught up on #MajorCrimes and wow, that was all kinds of stupid, unnecessary and meaningless, no words😑 @MaryMcDonnell10 and Sharon Raydor deserved way better than this. Way to ruin a great character, James Duff. I’m finally done with this show for good." 20 December 2017, 4:29 PM. Tweet.
  6. SJwashere (SJwashere). "It’s 7:44am and I’m still mad about that stupid, unnecessary storyline, and the reasoning for it makes no sense, it was vindictive. Not getting your way so you burn the village on your way out vindictive. Well it’s burnt and so are we #majorcrimes". 20 Dec 2017, 3:52 PM. Tweet.
  7. F., Avery (averyintheopen). "Laura Roslin got a beautiful, meaningful, well-earned death that fans could be at peace with. What happened on #majorcrimes tonight felt spiteful, pointless, and entirely unnecessary. What a waste, and what a🖕to fans who loved this character." 19 Dec 2017, 11:17 PM. Tweet.
  8. disturbingclarity. farewell/mobile, sharon raydor, published 20 December 2017 at Tumblr. (Accessed 6 January 2018.)
  9. whatyouareiswhoilove. I've Come to Realize Something, published 25 December 2017 at Tumblr. (Accessed 8 January 2018.)
  10. roslinfanatic. Post WWSRD, published 23 December 2017 at Tumblr. (Accessed 8 January 2018.)
  11. holdontohopelove. AND ANOTHER THING, published 20 December 2017 at Tumblr. (Accessed 8 January 2018.)
  12. three rounds & a sound (atmodrop). "So uhhhhh what I'm being asked to believe is that Sharon Raydor, when her phone started ringing and knowing what that meant, decided she would rather keep yelling at a suspect than spend another day with her kids and husband." 20 Dec 2017, 8:32 AM. Tweet.
  13. Bagot-Lopez, Barbara (BernalHtsBB). "I agree withers that Sharon basically committed suicide--she left the video, continued to work against doctor's orders, and blew a gasket in the interview--so out of character--she's normally so calm she puts the perp to sleep. Poor writing and plot holes all season long..." 27 Dec 2017, 1:50 AM. Tweet.
  14. Blythe, Mae (annamaeblythe). "I made the stupid joke to myself "Huh, reverse 'suicide by cop'" thinking they'd save her. They didn't. The way she took control of it was by effectively committing suicide in a dramatic way because she didn't want to deal with more doctors . . . which is just eeegh..." 22 Dec 2017, 4:48 PM. Tweet.
  15. sarken. wt actual f, published 20 December at Dreamwidth. (Accessed 8 January 2018.)
  16. nevereverything. On Sharon Raydor, published 20 December 2017 on Tumblr. (Accessed 8 January 2017.)
  17. shannonlikescoffee. Untitled, published 20 December 2017 at Tumblr. (Accessed 8 January 2018.)
  18. RomanticFollies. Building Confidence, published 21 December 2017 at Fanfiction.Net. (Accessed 16 January 2018.)
  19. Peterson, Christine (myragtop01). "#MajorCrimes after the HUGE shock of our heroine' s death, may I ask why we had like a 5 minute funeral? NO flashbacks/montages? Just sayin..her 'death' caused tons of emotions n all we got 2 honor how much she meant 2 us was 5 frakkin minutes?.. smh @MaryMcDonnell10" 30 December 2017, 10:39 AM. Tweet.
  20. Claudia The #Phoenix (phoenixoftheice). "#MajorCrimes I won't even comment on the fact that her wedding and funeral combined together lasted less than the whole lot about Stroh, but I'll quote you something "When I was pregnant with Ricky Emily told me she didn't want a little brother"." 26 January 2017, 11:53 PM. Tweet.
  21. Mowdi, Christi (xtirn05). "So with the 2 minute funeral, metaphor, closure, whatever we are calling it, we can now stop bitching about the 2 minute wedding...got it #MajorCrimes" 26 December 2017, 9:23 PM. Tweet.
  22. Whitfield, Renée (ReneeNWhitfield). "#MajorCrimes 5 minute wedding, and 3 minute funeral we know where Sharon Raydor really ranked on this show. Kind of sad, she deserved a better sendoff." 26 December 2017, 9:15 PM. Tweet.
  23. Kadi (Jenlynn219). "I’m sorry. But this is a major continuity issue. Ricky is not the oldest. Emily is. See 309 Sweet Revenge. She was 3 when Ricky came along. #MajorCrimes" 26 December 2017, 9:33 PM. Tweet.
  24. Amphorae Impetus‏ (AmphoraeImpetus‏). "I thought that when Emily was 3 and Sharon was pregnant with Ricky she didn't want a little brother.... This actually makes me so angry! #MajorCrimes" 26 December 2017, 9:44 PM. Tweet.
  25. katee (sakurapuff). "and they called ricky her first born ARE YOU SHITTING ME EMILY IS THE ELDEST YOU MORONS #majorcrimes this writing jesus christ" 26 December 2017, 10:14 PM. Tweet.
  26. Cunha, Andreza Maria (Andreza_MNFCF). "Still trying to understand Ricky being the firstborn. Something wrong is not right Mr. @JamesADuff . With each episode, disappointment is turning into unlimited anger. #MajorCrimes" 27 December 2017, 12:46 PM. Tweet.
  27. ANNIE (superannielette). "And I can't believe they forgot that Ricky IS NOT the first born. WTF? But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. #MajorCrimes" 27 December 2017, 5:35 PM. Tweet.
  28. Jones, J. E. (jezzybees). "I've done some research and guess what? Cardiomyopathy indeed does not change the order in which your children were born. 🙄 #MajorCrimes" 27 December 2017, 8:45 AM. Tweet.
  29. Ryan, Maureen. ‘Major Crimes’: Why Was the Star Killed Off a Hit Show? (Column), published 11 January 2018 at Variety. (Accessed 16 January 2018.)
  30. Ryan, Mo (moryan). "Even if you don't watch #MajorCrimes, ponder this sequence of events: 1. Lead character killed off 4 eps from end 2. Lead actress' name removed for final 3 eps 3. Lead actress not told credit removal wd happen 15+ years covering TV, I've rarely seen anything that incomprehensible" 15 January 2018, 2:45 PM. Tweet.
  31. favouritewomenintheworld. Untitled, published 28 December 2017 on Tumblr. (Accessed 16 January 2018.)
  32. McDonnell, Mary (MaryMcDonnell10). "Ladies it was a great idea . It's full of fun and strength and it's clever 💃🏻" 27 December 2017, 7:12 PM. Tweet.
  33. McDonnell, Mary. Mary McDonnell on the Finale of ‘Major Crimes’: ‘I’ve Never Experienced Anything Quite Like This’ (Guest Column), published 15 January 2018 on Variety. (Accessed 16 January 2017.)