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Major Crimes - Cashed Out - Review

I’m feeling like Season 5 of Major Crimes finally started. The blurb for this episode (Sanchez’ quest to be a foster parent is put in jeopardy because of his reaction to a murder) had me expecting to see the same old Julio Sanchez. But we didn’t.

Provenza’s dissertation on how the summer rain reminds one of one’s childhood was a hoot. It turns out that the murder mystery part of the episode is largely told in flashback while the present day story is the series of interviews with of the DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services for those not from California), Cynthia.

A body was found in a local park by an unlucky family throwing a birthday party. The body was both cut up and burned; a first for nearly every cop on the show. Julio is late to the crime scene because DCFS showed up at his house for a surprise visit. Everyone in the unit is more interested in what happened. Julio informs them that his mother decided to speak English and that she did not mention that Julio had tried to kill her nurse. So he’s good there.

Using some cutting edge software, they’re able to figure out who the victim is. Since the software doesn’t have an established record of accuracy, they still aren’t certain that they have the right victim. They go to the house of the man whose name they got from the software; a professional poker player named Adrian Silva. They discover a lot of deliveries made since he was supposedly killed as well as Facebook posts talking about a vacation. They also discover, thanks to Sanchez’ detective’s eye, the murder scene. (Cutting a body into 58 pieces makes a huge mess.) I mention Sanchez’ detective skills because for a long time he was either muscle (much of his time on The Closer, or exhibiting his emotional outbursts [both shows I think.]) So it always sticks out to me when he is looking at a crime scene with a detective’s eye.

From what they can see on the surface, the poker player is still alive. They discover that his Facebook posts are being handled by a 21st century PR firm. These guys believe Adrian is still alive. Tao gets into the PR firm’s system and discovers that the email updates are coming from his backers (the people who stake him in tournaments), a couple who own a security firm that has more holes in it than a colander. They do provide an image of ‘Adrian’ removing money from his bank account. Studying the video leads them to the killer; one of the PR guys who knew Adrian from college.

The case was handled primarily in flashback, which allowed the show to cover both the interviews about Julio’s incident and the case. Initially it seemed as though they were going to focus on Julio’s anger management issues. But when Cynthia was talking to Tao, I realized that she was looking a little deeper. She was actually more concerned that Julio’s being the first one through the door was an indication that he might have a death wish. Tao simply states that if he had a death wish, he’d be dead. Given what I’ve seen of the character over the two series, I have no doubt that Tao is correct. But I did think it was a good question to ask for two reasons. First, her primary concern is the well being of the child. What would it do to a child to get attached to Julio and then lose him to being killed in the line of duty. Secondly, it was nice to have the focus off of his anger management issues.

I have mentioned that I am loving the way this unit has come together as a family. It’s kind of jokingly mentioned in the opening that they may have to lie for him a little. (I just realized…that everyone seemed comfortable in the notion that they would do what ever was necessary to make sure Julio got this.) The interviews all underlined this.

No one lied and they all supported him. Andy gives Cynthia a frank answer when she asks if Julio’s anger management issues are gone. It was nice that he used his unique perspective as an alcoholic to add credibility to his statements. Tao could couch his responses with his perspective as a parent working the same job. Provenza’s response was my favorite and, I would think, given heavier consideration by Cynthia. He said in, (can I call it ‘opposite speak’?) so many words, that Julio would be a great foster parent because he would put the kid first. Sykes goes off on Cynthia. She refuses to answers any questions, except to say how honorable Julio is, and accuses Cynthia of discrimination because Julio is a man. But, by far the strongest testimonial came from Rusty. Rusty has been fostered by this entire squad and spoke from the perspective of the kid who would ultimately have Julio as a foster father. The best thing about this scene: Julio heard what Rusty said!

A huge reason for Cynthia’s concerns is the review hanging over Julio’s head. No one would say anything about the incident until she spoke to Julio himself, nor would they say, specifically, why he was under review. So, naturally, she assumed it was because he lost his temper and did something wrong. It turns out that Julio didn’t lose his temper. He maintained complete control and recognized that if he kept the pressure on the murderer, innocent people could potentially be hurt. Instead, he put his gun away and calmly talked the guy into giving him the gun. For this Julio is under review…..for a medal. Yes!

I loved this episode. I loved that they didn’t take the tired approach that they could have (which is no less than I expect from this show). I loved seeing Julio handle his job in a different way. I have no doubt that this has always been the case for the character, but, given this is a TV show, we’ve only been shown those cases that fired off his anger. Above all, for me, the episode focused on the “family” the Major Crimes Unit has become, and that just made the episode pretty much perfect for me.

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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