TCA: Producers Distance 'Major Crimes' From Outgoing 'Closer'

Mary McDonnell Headshot 2011
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LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Actress Mary McDonnell attends the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Writers Peer Group Emmy nominee party for outstanding writing at the Skirball Cultural Center on September 18, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

With many of the original characters coming back, the TNT spin-off will take a different look at the justice system.

When TNT flips the switch from The Closer to spin-off Major Crimes this summer, viewers will know it.  

Or so insists executive producer James Duff,  who was on hand to peddle the latter at the Television Critics Association winter press tour Saturday. Though much of the cast will remain the same outside of star Kyra Sedgwick, he suggests Crimes will tell a very different story.

The Closer was a seven year examination of the justice system and we used a single character to kind of refract the different points of view,” he noted, adding: “It was a single lead show… she was interested in the confession and that’s where her job ended.” 

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For its part, Major Crimes, which centers on Mary McDonnell's Captain Sharon Raydor,  will focus on getting the deal. The series will pick up where The Closer left off, with many of the original's characters coming back to their desks doing some version of the jobs they did before.

Deciding to move forward with a spin-off that sets out to focus on different points of view came about when Sedgwick opted not to renew her contract after seven seasons with the TNT series. A few others, including Corey Reynolds, selected to move on as well, decisions that Duff call amicable. "Playing the same character across many years is not always something people want to do," the producer acknowledged.

Among the key differences between the two shows: Crimes will feature more of a "group view." What’s more, it will look at the justice system differently. To hear the producers tell it, Crimes is designed to address a question posed often to our government: “How much justice can we afford?” On a weekly basis, this cast, which also includes Robert Gossett, G.W. Bailey and John Tenney, will be forced to grapple with the financial realities of California's justice system.