By: Cam Sully
Plot: In this continuation to TNT’s The Closer, t he new quiet yet consistently competent LAPD Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica). The new policy for the department is simple: find methods of leading the perpetrator straight to prison or cut a deal- all to avoid the death penalty and save the city money. dept. includes: Asst. Chief Taylor (Robert Gossett, Arlington Road), Lt.s Flynn (Tony Denison, Wiseguy), Provenza (G. W. Bailey, Police Academy) and Tao (Michael Paul Chan, Falling Down), SIS Leader Lt. Cooper (Malcolm-Jamal Warner, The Cosby Show), Det.s Sanchez (Raymond Cruz, Training Day) and Sykes (Kearran Giovanni, One Life to Live), Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco, Star Trek: TNG), new Special Ops Deputy Chief Howard (Jon Tenney, Tombstone), FBI Special Agent Morris (D.B. Sweeney, No Man’s Land) and Raydor’s ex-husband-turned-lawyer Jack (Tom Berenger, Platoon).
Review: Season 1 shows how Sharon, who was previously introduced on the previous show’s latter years, adjusts to the moody detective squad while also trying to raise Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin, The Bill Engvall Show), a crime scene victim whose parents have abandoned him. Season 2 highlights grittier crimes while Sharon places Rusty in a safer area surveilled by Lt. Cooper (Malcolm-Jamal Warner, The Cosby Show). Season 3 observes Rusty reconciling with his rehabilitated birth mother, also coincidentally named Sharon (Ever Carradine, 24), while the squad faces more personal cases being reopened. Season 4 notes more on the relationships of the squad while Rusty gets more involved with his online journalism career by helping close cold cases. Season 5 has Provenza enjoy his sixth marriage, Rusty learning more about crime technician Buzz (Phillip P. Keene)’s tragic past and Sharon continues her romance with Flynn. Season 6 is the final chapter of the saga that details the new Asst. Chief Mason (Leonard Roberts, He Got Game), adjusting to said responsibility, and Provenza’s prior friend Det. Paige (Jessica Meraz, Chasing Life) joining the squad.
Despite being one season less, I do overall prefer this over the original show, The Closer, but only mildly more so. Much like Better Call Saul (the prequel spin-off to Breaking Bad), Crusade (the Babylon 5 spin-off) and even Breakout Kings (the Prison Break spin-off), this is one of those spin-offs that doesn’t need to be watched in chronological order and stands on its own two feet while being grittier, more emotional, funnier and even twice as clever. Much like the original show, which wasn’t broken, this follow-up goes for the typical uncanny titled crimes, the way they’re solved and reflects upon the character’s office chit-chat. It’s all for the better and I honestly wish this show was talked more on par with the various CSI, Law & Order and NCIS franchises of the world, if not The Shield, The Wire or NYPD Blue. It truly is more respectable, visceral and addicting than most give it credit for. The interrogations always rivaled the likes of Homicide and the crew of characters are easily just as diverse a crew as what 24 and Criminal Minds had (especially the quotability of half of them). The show occasionally syndicates on network TV channels but unfortunately is only available to rent or buy via streaming and physical media Amazon Prime but fortunately it is free to stream for HBO Max subscribers.
Consensus: As if the earlier show never left the airwaves, this series returns with the same wit, stageplay type writing, clever crimes and sharp editing that made the previous show a hit. It arguably even has far more interesting grit, humor and new characters that make for twice the fascinating experience.