"Major Crimes"

Raymond Cruz (left) is Det. Julio Sanchez and Mary McDonnell is Capt. Sharon Raydor in TNT's "Major Crimes," the spin-off series of "The Closer." 

KAREN NEAL/TNT

My co-worker Megan asked me if there were any differences between “The Closer,” which concludes its seven-season run, and the new TNT series “Major Crimes,” a spin-off debuting after “The Closer” finale.

The short answer is, not much except for one very noticeable change -- Kyra Sedgwick is gone.

The two-hour event -- the end of “The Closer” and the start of “Major Crimes” -- begins at 8 p.m. Monday on TNT (Time Warner Cable channels 38, 203 and 1203).

Most of the cast carries over from “The Closer” to “Major Crimes,” including viewer favorites G.W. Bailey (Lt. Provenza) and Tony Denison (Lt. Flynn). Even a storyline continues from the old series to the new one.

In the new drama, Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) takes over Major Crimes after Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson’s exit (You will have to watch to see why and how Sedgwick’s character departs).

Viewers already are familiar with Raydor because she’s been semi-regular for the past three seasons. But now they will get to know her a little better. You will learn she lives alone because she’s separated from her husband, although she keeps one of his suits in her closet, and that she has grown children.

I like McDonnell as an actress -- she was great in the “Battlestar Galactica” remake on Syfy -- but her character here isn’t quite as appealing or emotional as Sedgwick’s feisty deputy chief.

Let’s face it, Sedgwick was the draw for the original series.

While the tone of “Major Crimes” is the same, thanks to the returning characters, the feel of it is different. That’s because the new boss is such a departure from the old one. It will, I admit, take some getting used to. Thank goodness Lt. Provenza is as cantankerous as ever. Grade: B

Across the remote

* Several series of note begin new seasons this week. They include Anson Mount’s “Hell on Wheels” (8 p.m. Sunday, AMC), breakout hit “Grimm” (9 p.m. Monday, NBC) and Kelsey Grammer’s “Boss” (9 p.m. Friday, Starz).

* Also premiering this week is “Oh Sit!,” a new reality competition show getting some buzz. The first episode is 7 p.m. Wednesday on The CW (channels 15 and 1015). The series features contestants in a very, very physical game of musical chairs. No, I’m not kidding. The trailers for it have looked quite intriguing.

* “Felicity” actress Keri Russell is returning to the small screen soon. She and Matthew Rhys (“Brothers and Sisters”) will star in “The Americans,” a new FX drama set in 1980s Washington, D.C., about two KGB spies posing as Americans. FX has asked for 13 episodes.

* If you enjoyed the big-screen version of “The Avengers” or are a fan of “Avengers” director Joss Whedon, then you’ll like this bit of news. Variety reports Whedon, who created “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” is developing a TV series for ABC based on a character or characters from Marvel comics.

* Matthew Perry enjoyed “Friends”-like numbers for the premiere of his new comedy “Go On.” More than 16 million viewers tuned in for the sneak peek, which aired Wednesday after the Summer Olympics on NBC. We’ll see if that bodes well for Perry when the comedy returns Sept. 11.

* BBC News reported that the BBC has commissioned a 90-minute special chronicling how “Doctor Who” came about as a way to celebrate the good doctor’s 50th anniversary on the small screen. “An Adventure in Space and Time” will air in England in 2013 before hopping across the pond for American audiences.

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LJSjeffkorbelik.

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