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Major Crimes - Present Tense - Review: "They're Back!"

This season’s opener seemed a little perfunctory to me. I missed the twists and turns and being able to play the whodunit game that I usually play along with the show, but I did find the person stories set up in the episode intriguing.

Once again the Major Crimes Unit is covering the LAPD’s backside by taking over the job that wouldn’t be available if another department had done their job thoroughly. (Though technically they were called in after the victim’s belongings were found in a dumpster and not because of some public uproar.) This time it’s a 16 year-old volunteer with the homeless who has been missing for almost two days. Watch command poo-pooed the case because the missing teen, Amanda Pond, had run away from home a few months earlier after an argument with her parents over a boyfriend. The police assumed that she’d simply taken off to go camping with said boyfriend.

A few standard investigative questions and witness interviews leads them to quickly discover her body in a crawlspace under the house her parents used to rent out and that Amanda had been letting her homeless clients squat in. The toys found around her body lead them to the killer: a little boy that Amanda’s parents were going to adopt until they discovered they were pregnant.

They’d let him start calling them Mom and Dad. “Mom and Dad” canceled the adoption and tossed the child back into the system. (Pause here for a few choice words for “Mom and Dad”.) The little boy, now in his early twenties, had a difficult time of it. He’d lived on the street for a while, got into college, got booted from college and was now working for the shelter Amanda volunteered for. He had learned who Amanda was when her parents came to pick her up.

After she had a fight with her boyfriend, he offered to give her a ride home. When she refused to go to her own house, the home that was almost his, the situation got “out of hand”, and he accidentally killed her. He did try to save her (the autopsy backed this up), but wasn’t skilled enough to.

I kind of forgive the show for the lightweight murder mystery, because this episode’s main purpose seems to have been giving us insight into the season’s personal stories. Sharon and Andy discuss moving in together. Sanchez, in reaction to information learned about the foster care system, decides to apply to be a foster parent. (I think he’d be awesome.)

Buzz finally gets a full-blown story. He wants to look into his father’s and uncle’s murders. Provenza, crotchety old softy that he is, removes some crime scene photos from the evidence box to protect him. I’ve mentioned, before, that I loved that this team does seem to function as a family.

Buzz assures everyone that he’s going to be able to handle it. Rusty thinks Buzz’s investigation would make an excellent subject for his next online series. He wants to look into how a traumatic event during one’s childhood affects them as an adult but Buzz has been resistant to the idea. (It’s another theme that closely parallels his life.) Provenza suggests Rusty, instead of trying to sell Buzz on the idea, ask Buzz how he’s doing. This seems to work.

Speaking of Rusty, I realize that it isn’t easy or swift to overcome self-image issues, but I was hoping for a new aspect to his story. The runner about Gus’ anger at Rusty’s reaction to him wanting to hold hands in public was a re-tread of what we’ve seen before. I want this character, especially, to be moving forward, and this runner was going backward.

Though the premiere episode wasn’t one of my favorites, this was a very good hour of television. I suppose I’ve just grown used to ‘awesome’ from this show. We did get the promise of some very interesting stories in the coming section of episodes. I’m thrilled Buzz is finally getting a meaty story and I look forward to seeing it play out.

What did you guys think of the episode?

About the Author - Prpleight
Prpleight is a screenwriter and senior software engineer with solid geek cred. When not writing code, screenplays, or watching TV (sometimes she does all three at the same time), she uses her broadsword Bessie to battle evil. She's been a frequent contributor to the SpoilerTV discussion boards for several years now.
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