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S02.E10: Backfire 2013.08.12

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Major Crimes needs help from the Feds when they discover that the victim in a mob-related murder was an FBI informant, a case that hits home especially hard for Rusty.

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There maybe aren’t as many individual moments in this one that jump out at me, but everything comes together into an all-around nice, tight episode with great teamwork and great leadership by Sharon. I enjoyed Brenda very much, but I like the way Sharon interacts with the FBI so much better.  She's just as protective of her squad, their jurisdiction over the case, etc. but she doesn't automatically start off defiant and loaded for bear, nor get into unnecessary pissing contests.  Brenda’s way is who she is, so she really couldn’t have done it differently, and she ultimately got results just as often as Sharon does (it’s handy being the main character that way <g>), but I like Sharon’s way better; it generally yields progress faster, and doesn’t burn bridges.

The ruse they pull off in this one to get the killer to talk, even though (unbeknownst to him) the driver is dead, is great, especially coming on the heels of how Sharon gets the FBI agent to give them the info they need to discover the car in an admissible way.  Again, I really enjoy the case strategy in this one.

On the flip side, this is the episode where Rusty's presence in the Murder Room annoys me the most -- he is sitting right there as the FBI agent briefs the squad on classified material.  And then he tells Kris about some of it!

My favorite scene is when Taylor is blustering in the murder room, after Grove has made them go back to the drawing board, and invokes the spectre of Brenda, saying Chief Johnson would have found a way around the situation Grove’s rejection of the deal puts them in.  I love that the squad looks a bit uncomfortable and unsure, until Andy literally moves into position at Sharon’s back to say, “She would have.  But then we would be back, defending ourselves in court."  Then Provenza, of all people, chimes in.  Good stuff.  Including Sharon telling Taylor Brenda would, indeed, have found a way to get a second confession, but, on the other hand, "she never would have reported to you" and, oh, by the way, I’ve already come up with a strategy to get this done.  And Julio’s smirk in response to that.

I also like, in staking out the driver's house as their third attempt at getting the info they need, when Mike backs up Sharon's assertion to Provenza they can't act based on inadmissible evidence, and she finishes her call with Provenza by saying, "Mike's right, and because I know you hate to hear me go on about the rules, I'm hanging up now."

Sharon’s mini eye roll when Taylor changes tune to say, “Good point, Captain” as he realizes she’s about to get the FBI to give them what they need is fun.  I also like her “Excuse me, I have a call” and showing Rios her blank screen to let her know what’s up – one must spell these things out for Rios.

“Joe’s Pizza” when Provenza takes Sharon’s call makes me laugh.  As does Julio’s, “Yeah, come on in” when Andy knocks on the driver’s door and asks if anyone is home (I can laugh because they don’t, in fact, use that as a pretext).

I like Judge Grove schooling Rios, and am not particularly enthused by her lecture at the end blaming him for the driver’s death.  He was spot on in the beginning when he said he needs to establish why she feels the defendant’s actions warrant a plea bargain for manslaughter with a maximum of only 11 years; that’s standard, and she just hadn’t done it in this case.  He’s a bit of a hard ass about it because, as Sharon points out, the deal goes away if the defendant doesn’t come through with the information that makes it worthwhile, but he’s not wrong to tell Rios she hasn’t established that he should accept the plea when the DA’s office/police haven’t begun to exhaust their attempts at getting the evidence they need to prevent future harm AND get this guy to plead to murder, not manslaughter.  Grove could just as easily put things back on Rios/Major Crimes, saying if they’d dug earlier the way they wound up digging, the driver would still be alive.

Rusty telling Kris about the threatening letters shows his persistent immaturity – instead of telling her he just wants to be friends (with or without adding “because I’m gay,” as I’m in no way advocating him coming out before he’s completely comfortable doing so), he uses the letters and this case as an excuse, telling her he’s threatened and being with him outside of school could make her a target too.  There’s no way she’s just going to help him keep the extent of that threat secret, no matter how compelling his fear he’s going to be taken away from Sharon and put someplace his mom couldn’t find him if she came back.  He was worried reading Romeo & Juliet was making her emotional; he thinks she’s not going to react to this?

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