"Major Crimes: Watching People Watching People," review by NCC Associate Professor Lesley Smith

New Century College Associate Professor Lesley Smith has published a review of the new winter season of Major Crimes at PopMatters.

Major Crimes throws together hefty dollops of self-conscious solemnity, afternoon talk show homilies and confessions, and anodyne sympathies for the underdog. The result is difficult for any actors, including the seasoned crew on hand, to make convincing.

Part of the problem lies in the show’s affection for these many actors. From the beginning, Major Crimes suffered from too many actors for too little action, as did its predecessor, The Closer. The cast photo for the show now squeezes in 12 recurring characters, and even Steve Bochco in his Hill Street Blues prime would have been struggling to craft meaningful dialogue for such a brood, especially when each episode is devoted to one, slow-moving case. As a result, too many scenes involve a lot of people standing around watching other people talking.

Even more absurd, some of the people are watching the other people watching the few actors with some action via a computer screen. The typical interrogation scene, for example, involves Raydor and a colleague closeted with a suspect, viewed by other colleagues looking at monitors, simultaneously viewed by other detectives standing in the background. As the viewer watches the watchers watch, the ramifications of pervasive surveillance might provide intellectual diversion, but also guarantee static drama.  

Read more of Professor Smith's review here