Welcome to MajorCrimesTV.net, your trusted source of news and information for the hit TNT drama Major Crimes. The series from Creator/Executive Producer James Duff brings the familiar characters of the LAPD’s elite Major Crimes Division into all-new situations as they adjust to being led by Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell), while still trying to close the department’s highest-profile cases.
Welcome to Episode 8 of ‘What Would Sharon Raydor Do?’, the podcast devoted to getting an in-depth view at Major Crimes Captain Sharon Raydor by the woman who knows her best, Mary McDonnell. This week’s guest host is Mary’s daughter, Olivia Mell.
In this episode, Mary and Olivia discuss the three-part Major Crimes summer finale “White Lies’.
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Major Crimes wrapped up its summer season with a quite literal bang last night, as the team worked to solve the mystery of the courtroom conspiracy. 3.10 million viewers tuned in to see the final part of the summer finale, marking the first time Major Crimes has had to compete against both Monday Night Football and the regular fall season of broadcast premieres. Despite the competition, Major Crimes won the night as the most-watched scripted cable broadcast. In key demographics, the episode rose to 0.4 million viewers 18-49, down from the season average, but up from last week by up 20%.
As has been the case throughout this summer season, Major Crimes continues to perform very strongly in time-delayed ratings. Episode 511 (the first part of the summer finale) added over 2.39 million viewers in Live + 3 day viewers, growing to 6.45 million viewers. That earned it the #1 spot for the greatest gains (+56%) in total viewers of all cable programs for the week, including the series finale of Rizzoli & Isles (+36%). Greater gains were seen in key demographics, where the episode doubled in L3 to 0.8 million viewers 18-49, an increase of 80% over Live + Same Day.
As we first noted yesterday, since moving to the 10PM timeslot this season for the first time, Major Crimes has vastly performed all nine TNT scripted series which have previously held a 10pm time slot since 2012. Major Crimes season 5 average of 0.45 million viewers 18-49 in Live + Same Day is currently performing over 41% better than the final season average any of the other series TNT has had at 10pm in the last four years. In total viewers, Major Crimes is performing 131% better (1.61 TNT 10pm series average; Major Crimes: 3.72 million) than the average of all other TNT series in the 10pm slot since its inception, including Proof, King and Maxwell, Falling Skies Legends, Monday Mornings, Perception, Public Morals, Transporter, and Franklin & Bash, all series which have since been cancelled.
Compared to TNT’s only other 10pm show this season, Murder in the First, Major Crimes performance is even more impressive, with growth of 95% in key demographics (MITF: 0.23 million, MC: 0.45 million) over Murder in the First’s viewership. In total viewers, Major Crimes easily more than doubles its viewers over Murder in the First, growing 171% with an average of 3.7 million viewers over Murder in the First‘s 1.37 million.
As this summer season comes to a close, we ask TNT to please renew Major Crimes for season 6. We also ask fellow fans to help us by sharing our Open Letter to TNT President Kevin Reilly Regarding the Season 6 Renewal of Major Crimes, tweeting them @TNTDrama, visiting them on Facebook, and for more information on how to make your voice heard, click here.
An Open Letter to TNT President Kevin Reilly Regarding the Season 6 Renewal of Major Crimes
Firstly, let me say welcome, and congratulations on taking over as President of TNT. I’m sure the transition has been trying, and I know it must be satisfying to see the fruits of your first development year finally reaching the airwaves. While you continue to develop your slate for next year and beyond, I wanted to take a moment to talk about one thing that hasn’t been addressed yet for next season – the renewal of Major Crimes.
While you prepare to launch your new shows, and have been busy organizing the renewal of Animal Kingdom and The Last Ship, fans have noticed that announcements regarding the future of Major Crimes have been alarmingly absent. And as the summer finale of Major Crimes prepares to air tonight, I wanted to reach out to you and make a few points about why Major Crimes has been, and continues to be an asset to TNT, and as such, suggest why it more than deserves a season 6 renewal.
I know that TV is a numbers game, and that decisions regarding renewal are ultimately about finances, advertisers and ratings. So first and foremost, here are some numbers I ask you keep in mind as you consider the future of Major Crimes. While your publicity department hasn’t shared any multi-platform numbers from this season (or for that matter, almost any of the numbers for Major Crimes performance this season) MajorCrimesTV.net has been keeping track of the numbers that have been released from other sources, and has noticed a few important trends about Major Crimes performance this season worth bringing to your attention.
- While the rest of your slate has seen double-digit losses in their average viewership from 2015 to 2016 (The Last Ship: -24%, The Librarians: -45%, Murder in the First: – 33%)1 Major Crimes has been the only TNT series (aside from the now-defunct Rizzoli & Isles) to grow from 2015, adding 5% total viewers this season over last year. While this increase, and the ratings as a whole for Major Crimes have always been very strong (last year it was the #1 program on your network, and has never fallen below 2nd place as the most-watched program on TNT), this summer’s growth has been all the more impressive because of several unique factors. Continue reading
When we last spoke to James Duff at the beginning of season five, he alluded to how the theme of this season of Major Crimes, balance, would have repercussions for everyone in the team. As the summer season wraps up tonight with part three of the summer finale, we caught up with Executive Producer James Duff to shed some light on some of the biggest changes we’ve seen so far this season (RIP Chief Taylor), and what we can expect both in tonight’s finale, and for the winter season of Major Crimes, and beyond.
MCTV: I would be remiss to start this off without asking about Taylor, and the shocking decision to kill him off in part one of this three-part summer finale. What lead you to making the decision to have Taylor’s death be such a catalyst in this arc, and as part of the season as a whole?
James Duff: There’s two things to discuss with this. Part one of that is, opening Taylor’s office was always my plan, so that was always going to happen at some point. Part two is that balance is the theme of all thirteen summer episodes – it links them all together. I couldn’t do a study on balance without including the balance of power, and without completely removing the balance of power and forcing a new center of gravity into the circumstances around which Major Crimes revolves. And this new center of gravity that the team is now looking to find is going to be the subject of the next eight episodes–how we adjust to changes, who becomes the center, and how everyone must adjust to accommodate that new center.
History itself is the story of a succession of one center of gravity replacing another, and how people must adapt constantly to that sort of change. People either adjust, or they crash and burn. That’s just how it works. And so, Major Crimes is adjusting. And that will be the back eight episodes we’ll see this winter. That’s always what I meant to happen. And beyond that, there is a world beyond the adjustment of gravity, and so that would be our next season, if we end up getting one.
It’s also important to remember that the LAPD is a dangerous place to work, and police officers have an extremely dangerous job in this day and age. The Los Angeles Police Department trains hard to do the right thing, and to bring policing into the twenty-first century, but it’s still every bit as vulnerable as the bad police departments are. There’s no discrimination, apparently, between good police officers and bad police officers. Taylor also encompassed the essence of the blue/black divide, because he’s both. And both sides are damaged by this divide. And I’m not taking sides, I’m just dramatizing the divide that exists, and he was a very good way to dramatize that nobody wins when violence is the answer.
So Taylor’s death accommodated the two things I needed. One was to explore the balance of power and how it affects our daily lives, which is what part two of the finale was about. But, any meditation on the balance of power in our human life would require us to take into account religion, and its force in the world and on our leading characters. So both of these major events, Taylor’s death, the shooting of Dwight Darnell, the balancing of what we owe to our spiritual selves and what we owe to our professional selves, all of that was meant to create special circumstances for Sharon Raydor. And I think we did that.
MCTV: Speaking to that examination of religion, last week was a departure for the show, in that it both took on a different structure in how it was framed from Sharon’s confession, but also gave us a much closer look at Sharon than we’ve seen for a while. There has been hints that Sharon has this strong religious part to her, but this was the most overtly we’ve seen it, and also gave a bit more insight into the state of her relationship with Andy, and what she feels like she can and can’t talk to him about.
JD: To be clear, it’s not that she can’t rely on Andy to talk to, it’s just as she says, she can’t rely on Andy to talk to about the death of Dwight Darnell. And truly, she couldn’t rely on a lot of the audience, either. A lot of the audience would tell her, ‘Look, you did the right thing. Get over it.” I heard that from people after the episode aired.
But taking a human life is complicated, no matter the circumstances. For example, with the military, we have 20 veterans a day committing suicide, and a lot of it has to do with loss of life they are involved in. We train people to believe that murder is wrong, and then we send them out to kill people, and don’t understand why they’re confused afterwards. And so I thought it would be important to show Sharon in a moral quandary – wanting to feel grief for having stopped Dwight Darnell from killing anybody else through violence, which she’s always been hesitant to use, unless absolutely necessary. And she’s never killed anyone, and I wanted to explore that aspect of her personality.
Also, she’s very Catholic. That has been mentioned throughout the series. She was so Catholic she didn’t divorce her husband for over thirty years. She loves angels, that’s an established fact, and she sent Rusty to a Catholic school. She’s been very serious about her religion, although, this is a murder show, not “True Confessions” or anything like that, so we just haven’t seen it more than that. But if she and Andy were to perhaps want to do something more than just live together, that would create conflict for her. And so maybe there’s a reminder there, maybe I’m setting something up for the future, by reminding everybody about how Catholic she is.
MCTV: Going back to Taylor for a moment, we’re heard through some casting announcements that we’re going to see the power shift, and we’re going to see some new people come in to be in the running for his job. Are we going to get closure on the loss of Taylor at all, and the impact that death itself has on the team?
JD: Well, we will be talking about Taylor for ages to come. And there is an attempt to honor him in the summer finale in the first act. Not at a funeral, because we’ve already done that, when we went to the funeral of the Chief of Police. I don’t want to give away too much, but he will not be gone completely. He’s a member of the Major Crimes family and he’ll be treated that way throughout.
MCTV: In terms of the power vacuum, the Sharon of a few years ago had a lot of desire to move up the ranks. But now that we’re seeing this job having opened up, it’s hard to envision Sharon wanting to leave Major Crimes now that she’s established this great team, and everyone works together so well. How is this power vacuum going to affect her, in a desire to move up the ranks, or lack thereof?
JD: It’s a delicate dance inside the LAPD when one of these positions opens up. If you get considered for a promotion, you have to try to get it because if you fail, you’ll lose what you have. And that happens all the time. It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but when new people move in to positions of power, then the people underneath them, who were also trying to get that position of power, end up with a lot of ‘freeway therapy’. They get transferred to Harbor Division or they end up at SOB (Special Operations Bureau) or teaching at the Police Academy. So in terms of a career path, it’s dangerous.
On the other hand, you don’t get to decide this. The Police Chief job is decided by the Mayor in concert with the city council and the police commission. The job of Assistant Chief is decided entirely by the Chief. There’s no one else to ask. So if he interviews you, and everybody knows you’re up for the job, then you’re exposed. That’s why we’re bringing on Camryn Manheim, and another actor I can’t announce yet, to all be in play for the job. But the struggle to replace Taylor, will also be a struggle to protect Major Crimes. Because a new Assistant Chief comes in, and the division changes. So Sharon is given a lot to think about in these back eight episodes this winter, and that influences how she has to react to being considered for the position.
MCTV: Switching just quickly over to Buzz, and his journey this season. We saw last episode that he’s really stepped up in this investigation and come into his own. Are we going to see more of that now that he has had a taste of being part of this side of the police work?
JD: Well, you’re going to see his realization that things are not over. That’s going to come back. So the conclusion of Buzz’s story is both final, and ambiguous. And Phillip has done an amazing job this season, and in the last scene of the case, he does an amazing job, and in the scene after the case, he does an amazing job. And also stepping up and showing he’s capable has been Julio Sanchez, as a foster parent. And we’re going to see just how much this new experience has meant to him in the finale.
MCTV: Finally, you mentioned that a potential season 6 would have a focus around the adjustment to whoever becomes the new chief, and how that appointment could change Major Crimes. There hasn’t been an announcement yet for season 6 from TNT. Any updates there?
JD: It’s impossible to know what the network consider their needs to be right now, and I can’t say for sure anything. They have not indicated a pickup for next season to me yet, so I really don’t know. I’m very happy overall with how we’ve managed our numbers this season, especially given the switch to 10pm. We did much better than we thought we would do and I think better than TNT thought we would do. It’s a bit of a win-win for us and hopefully the network will want to solidify their gains here and do it again.
The summer finale of Major Crimes airs tonight at 10pm/9c on TNT.
“White Lies – Part 3″ – Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Major Crimes hurtles forward towards the mysterious and elusive mastermind in the Dwight Darnell murders while Buzz and Rusty’s investigation into the murder of Buzz’s father comes to an unexpected end.
Directed by Michael M. Robin
Written by Carson Moore
Created by James Duff
In time-delayed ratings, episode 509 finished its run with the greatest gains across all of cable in Live + 7 day performance, rising 74% over the Live + Same day performance to 6.84 total viewers. Even bigger gains were seen in key demographics, which rose 150% to 1.0 million viewers 18-49.
In Live + 3 day viewing, episode 510 likewise is on track for a big finish, so far showing the biggest gains in total viewers , up 58% over Live + Same Day. In total viewers the episode is currently holding the #2 slot just behind Rizzoli and Isles. In key demographics, the episode has thus far grown 80% to 0.9 million viewers.
Last week’s season high episode continued to perform extremely throughout the week, finishing as the second most watched cable series of the week, behind the season finale of Rizzoli and Isles, and more than 700,000 viewers ahead of third place finisher Fear the Walking Dead.
Last night’s penultimate episode of Major Crimes likewise performed well, despite the across-the-board drops seen by all cable and broadcast shows of the night due to the return of Monday Night Football. 3.3 million total viewers tuned in to part two of the Major Crimes season finale, as the team continued to seek justice for Chief Taylor and unravel the conspiracy around them. Despite the competition from football, the episode outperformed Sunday night’s season finale of The Last Ship, the only other TNT original currently airing, by more than a million viewers. The episode is also expected to perform strongly in time-delayed viewings, once DVR Live + 3 and Live + 7 day numbers are available.
Overall, while the rest of TNT’s summer slate has seen double-digit losses in their average viewership from 2015 to 2016 (The Last Ship: -24%, The Librarians: - 45%, Murder in the First: -33%), Major Crimes is the only TNT drama to grow from 2015, adding 5% in total viewers year to year.
Once again, we at MajorCrimesTV.net want to thank the fans for their continued support of Major Crimes, and encourage as many as possible to watch the series live for next week’s summer finale. We also strongly encourage reaching out to TNT to let them know you support Major Crimes, and that you’d like to see them renew the show for a sixth season. You can tweet them @TNTDrama, visit them on Facebook, and for more information on how to make your voice heard, click here.
“White Lies – Part 2″ – Monday, Sept. 12, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
Major Crimes continues to investigate the conspiracy behind Dwight Darnell’s murders and his links to the Zyklon-Brotherhood. Sharon Raydor, disturbed by her own reactions to the case, seeks penance in the Ritual of Confession.
Directed by Sheelin Choksey
Written by Damani Johnson
Created by James Duff
The intense opener of the three-part season finale did more than just change things forever for the Major Crimes team, as Monday night’s outing brought in a new season high in the ratings. The heartbreaking episode brought in 4.1 million viewers, adding more than 400,000 over the previous season high. Strong gains were also seen in the key demographic, which rose 4% over the previous season high to 0.52 million viewers 18-49. Overall the episode was the second-most watched cable offering of the evening, behind the series finale of Rizzoli and Isles.
Last week’s episode continued to perform well throughout the week, coming in as the second-most watched episode of the week, just behind the penultimate episode of Rizzoli and Isles. The outing also far exceeded the ratings of number 3 series Fear the Walking Dead by more than one million viewers.
In time-delayed ratings, Major Crimes has continued it’s very strong showing in Live + 3 day viewings for the summer. Episode 509 brought in 6.3 million total viewers in L+3, a massive 60% increase over the live + same day numbers, and added close to 900,000 viewers over the prior week. Greater gains were seen in key demographics, where the episode grew 125% to 0.9 million viewers, the highest growth of any cable program for the week.
As the summer season begins to wrap up, we at MajorCrimesTV.net want to thank the fans for their continued support of Major Crimes, and encourage as many as possible to watch the series live in the last two episodes of the summer season. We also encourage reaching out to TNT to let them know you support Major Crimes, and that you’d like to see them renew the show for a sixth season. You can tweet them @TNTDrama, visit them on Facebook, and for more information on how to make your voice heard, click here.
Major Crimes returns with an all-new episode next Monday at 10pm/9c on TNT.
Want more Major Crimes? Listen to the ”What Would Sharon Raydor Do?” Podcast with Mary McDonnell, now streaming on MajorCrimesTV.net!