Since Major Crimes returns next week, this is a great time to review season 3 and rank the episodes. Below you will see how I ranked each episode and why and then you have a chance to rank episodes too. Just click the up arrow for episodes you think should be ranked higher and the down arrow for those you think should be lower. Feel free to comment about the season as a whole or your episode ranking below. I'd love to hear your opinion. Oh and look for my season 4 premiere preview here.
Warning - Spoilers for ALL season 3 episodes,
including the endings, below.
The Case - A dead lady is found in a storm drain and the team quickly realizes that she was a surrogate mom who promised 3 different couples the child she is carrying. That makes all three couples suspects. After the murderer is caught, they still have to figure out which couple should receive the baby since it is not biologically any of theirs. Instead of it becoming a war, the couples work it out among themselves.
The Rest - Sharon tells Rusty that he can be adopted by the end of the week, but Rusty hasn't told his mother about it yet. When he does, she gets nasty while Sharon is completely supportive. Sharon tells Rusty that he is a blessing in her life and at the end, Rusty is adopted.
Ranking - #1
This episode has a tremendous amount of heart in it. It isn't just the culmination of 3 years with Rusty's adoption, but this case restored my faith in humanity too. I expected there to be a knockdown fight over the baby but instead the couples showed great strength and thought about what was best for everyone. It was a heartwarming tale of strangers really bringing the best out in each other.
The Case - A grandma and grandpa are found dead in their homes and the neighbor tells police that they were babysitting their grandchildren. The mother cannot be found. They find out that the whole family was in Witness Protection, in hiding from the couple's son who was arrested for embezzling. The son holds his family hostage until SWAT provides a distraction, allowing Fritz to take him out and save everyone. Unexpectedly, Julio is shot in an exchange with the other kidnapper.
The Rest - Rusty asks Sharon to sign his community service hours but she makes him log in all the missing person photos from Jane Doe #38. Rusty and Sharon talk about how many unidentified kids there are and Rusty agrees to be adopted.
Ranking - #2
This episode has tons of action and that's the real reason it is so high on my list. The spotlight on SWAT and Special Operations Bureau was a nice touch even if the spin-off never happened. Watching all groups work together was a treat, especially since each got a chance to shine. I loved it when Julio borrowed the ice cream truck to block the suspicious car. I also love the introduction of McGinnis and return of Lt. Cooper. The only real downfall to this episode is the introduction of City Douche Attorney, who is just as irritating as Emma was.
The Case - A man who helps run an online revenge site is shot in his apartment. The site puts up stolen naked pictures of women and has ties to the mob. A sniper whose wife committed suicide over having her pictures put on the site is the chief suspect. His son pretends to be a sniper to alibi his father. At the end, Fritz has a heart attack right before taking over the Special Operations Bureau.
The Rest - Sharon's son, Ricky, comes into town to protest Sharon adopting Rusty. He makes a lot of swipes at Rusty but when he sits down to talk to Sharon, she's lays it on the line for him. Basically she tells Ricky that he needs to change his attitude and that she's disappointed in him. In the end, Ricky decides to give Rusty a chance.
Ranking - #3
The case was hit or miss for me in this episode, but the opportunity to meet Sharon's family was a winner. I loved her speech to Ricky and I was happy when he returned later in the season. For all the time we spend with Sharon, we don't often get a full picture of her so it was nice to round out that side. It also helped that it guest starred Dylan Bruno from Numb3rs.
The Case - A boy is fatally stabbed at a party and his girlfriend is in critical condition after being stabbed herself. Provenza talks with the girl's grandmother and bonds with her over the course of time it takes for Provenza to question the girl. The team figures out that the girl killed her boyfriend, who broke up with her, and then stabbed herself. With the grandmother's permission, they trick the girl into confessing that she also stabbed herself because they were meant to be together always.
The Rest - Rusty comes in from an all-nighter as a PA for the TV show that Mike consults on. He tells Sharon he wants to put off college for awhile and obviously has a crush on his boss. Sharon has Mike talk to Jeff, who then tells Rusty to finish school.
Ranking - #4
This episode is all about Provenza and it was nice to spotlight him away from the job for a change. I loved everything about his interactions with Crazy Girl's grandmother and that they continue to develop this down the line. This was my favorite guest interaction of the season.
The Case - When a wealthy eccentric dies, she leaves millions to her dog. The dog also dies under mysterious circumstances and Major Crimes is brought in by "Dick Tracy," the mentally unstable man who impersonated the detectives in a previous case. They try to ditch the case but Taylor insists since the will also provided millions to the police fund. The wealthy woman's incredibly stupid relatives are suspects but the team realizes that a neighbor trying to raise real estate prices poisoned them both. "Dick Tracy" steals a recommendation Provenza wrote for Rusty in order to get employment as a mall cop.
The Rest - Provenza and Andy are on their way to take Rusty to see his mom when the call comes in. Rusty says he wants to help support his mom financially when she gets out of rehab but he's not excited about being a shoplifting snitch like Provenza suggests.
Ranking - #5
This was by far the most funny episode of the season. It was so ridiculous that Provenza's increasing irritation provided even more comedy. While I really like Major Crimes, it could often use more humor.
The Case - When a cop used as bait in a string of nightclub kidnappings goes missing, the team pairs up with Special Operations Bureau once more. Turf wars get a little tense with McGinnis wanting to take lead. The kidnapped cop gets one of the kidnapped girls out but she gets killed by the kidnappers on the road. The girls and the cop are tracked to a local farm whose occupants stepped up from exotic animal smuggling to human cargo. After the man is shot, the female kidnapper pretends to be a victim but is caught by Mike. McGinnis rescues the cop, who was no damsel in distress herself.
The Rest - Rusty's mom ends up in jail for shoplifting and meth possession. He visits her and she asks him to go back to being a hooker to raise her bail money. Rusty freaks and Provenza tells him that he's not to blame for his mom's drug use. The team shows Sharon the tape from Rusty's visit so she goes to the jail and lays it all on the line for Rusty's mom.
Ranking - #6
While the case was gripping and had good pacing, the reason this episode is so high up is the confrontation between the Sharons. I adore how protective Sharon is of Rusty and it was about time someone told Rusty's mom what is what. Plus the snarky doctor at the beginning who also lays it on the line for Fritz was hilarious. I wish he'd come back.
The Case - In the season finale, Stroh continues to look for a better sentence in exchange for information about a serial killer who has already taken 2 of 3 lives this cycle. To help find the killer before Stroh's deal comes through, the team hires an astrologer who helps them locate where the next body will be found and leads them to where the killer is hiding. They find the killer and Julio wails on him, in violation of his agreement. Meanwhile in the chaos, Stroh escapes by killing the judge and leading the police on a wild goose chase.
The Rest - Rusty is under guard and ends up sleeping in the interview room. Provenza accidentally wakes him and they discuss the interview Rusty had with Stroh in the previous episode. Provenza tells Rusty that he cannot let Stroh define him or Stroh wins. Rusty takes this as an excuse to refuse his body guards and says he will live his life as if Stroh was never in it.
Ranking - #7
I'm actually not a fan of the Stroh storyline like so many are. I think it's been stretched out beyond common sense since it should have ended last season. To have him escape was a big face palm for me, but it is ranked so high for the rapid pace of the episode. There was no downtime given that they were chasing 2 serial killers. I'm also a fan of Rusty deciding to live his life on his own terms.
The Case - When Julio finds his homebound mom lying on the ground, he assaults his mom's caretaker, who ends up dead. Now a suspect, IAB is called in to oversee the case to Provenza and Julio's annoyance. They find out a gangbanger's nephew stole items from her house and he admits to killing the caretaker but Julio's temper is called out by IAB. He is required to take anger management classes in order to stay on the job. He agrees, especially now that he is taking care of his mom.
The Rest - Rusty comes home to find a drunk Jack there. Jack won't leave so Rusty pulls Sharon out of a meeting to explain the situation. He insists that he can babysit Jack while Sharon helps Julio because that's what family does. The next morning Jack tries to justify his actions but Rusty tells him that he already won the lottery in his children, Sharon, and his job. That sobers Jack up more than breakfast and he gives part of his settlement money to Sharon as back child support.
Ranking - #8
I am generally a sucker for procedural cases that tie into the characters' personal lives so this one gets a bump for exploring Julio's back story. I'm not sure I liked the escalation leading up to him coming onto IAB's radar but they played it out decently here. I also liked Jack starting to accept responsibility for his own actions even if once again Rusty plays the wise mentor to people older than him.
The Case - A homeless girl is found dead in a trash can. She worked as a maid, but was accused of stealing from the house. She actually tried to keep a fellow homeless girl and her thug boyfriend from robbing the house, which got her killed. The team fails to identify the girl but Thug Boyfriend is arrested and they hope the trial will dredge up publicity to find out her real name. The team holds a memorial for her at the precinct and decides to keep her picture up so she's not forgotten.
The Rest - Sharon tells Jack that she intends to adopt Rusty and he can either sign the adoption or divorce papers. He offers Rusty a job and tells him about Sharon's plans. She is ticked off about it and starts divorce proceedings, explaining that she wants to make sure Rusty is taken care of so she wants to adopt him even though he's 18. She calls him family and Rusty realizes that if Sharon had not come into his life, her could have been a John Doe. He thinks about the adoption.
Ranking - #9
I think part of the reason why I liked this episode so much is that it continues to be a thread for long after the case is closed. I like how they don't forget about this nameless girl and continue to mention her. Plus the memorial was very touching. She might not have a name but she touched this team. This episode has a lot of good heart.
The Case - Mike finds a dead body in the storage container of the lead actor on the show he consults for. The actor, played by Luke Perry, comes in thinking he's getting an inside scoop on police business but is really being questioned because the dead body ends up being his stalker. Throughout they explain things like fan fiction and make fun of the show. Julio also returns after being shot. In the end, the woman's husband got tired of her obsession with the actor and killed her.
The Rest - Rusty is graduating but refuses to have a party since he doesn't like anyone in his class and they don't like him. Sharon is disappointed and keeps pushing about it. In the end, they have a party with the team and the actor and Mike tells Rusty how proud they are of him.
Ranking - #10
For me, this is an episode when the case was much more interesting than the rest. I found Sharon's pushing irksome but I was a huge Luke Perry fan back in the day. All the meta was hilarious and his character was so clueless as to be funny. This is probably the second funniest episode of the season. Plus, Luke Perry.
The Case - Stroh and Emma are back (sigh). Fitz suggests Emma grant Stroh life instead of running the risk of him escaping as they transfer him back and forth from prison to the courtroom where he gives useless info about his former clients. Emma refuses but Stroh tells them about a serial killer and they find a body just like he says. Two more will die unless they agree to a lighter sentence and an interview with Rusty. Rusty agrees to meet with Stroh to stop future murders and Stroh babbles about their intertwined destines while the team finds the serial killer pattern. They arrive at the drop site too late and are in the house when it busts into flames, barely getting out unscathed.
Ranking - #11
This episode felt like a place marker just setting up the finale. It was also frustrating because the judge was so laissez faire about Stroh that I thought he'd be murdered and Stroh escape in this episode. That it took another episode made this one feel even longer. I did like parts of the serial killer case though, which raised the ranking. So did the confrontation between Stroh and Rusty.
The Case - In the season premiere, two kids and their father are missing while the mother attends a conference out of town. The team is not sure whether a crime even occurred until they find bloodstains in the youngest child's room. Soon the 2 kids are found dead and stuffed into suitcases under an overpass by the airport. Secrets about the wife's affair with her cousin come out and they find a tube running from the trunk to the exhaust in his car. The cousin confesses to murdering the kids and husband, and Sharon tells him that the daughter was actually his.
The Rest - Rusty confesses to Provenza that he is seeing his mom at a rehab center but he hasn't told Sharon about it. He needs $60 to buy his mom a special toothbrush because she recently had dental work. Provenza agrees to loan him the money on the condition that he tells Sharon about the visits. Meanwhile Sharon sees the toothbrush in Rusty's bag and knows something's up.
Ranking - #12
For a premiere, this was a pretty light touch. Still out of all the cases, this was the one I remembered most so it got bonus points for that even if I detest incest stories.
The Case - A rapist who got off on a technicality is found dead. One of his victims, a war vet, admits to killing him but she was drunk and not under Miranda when she did. Sykes doesn't believe her story and in the end they prove that another victim actually did it. The vet breaks down crying on the bathroom floor but refuses to recant her story, so now the killer's lawyer can use it to create doubt in the jury and possibly get her off.
The Rest - Rusty's mom asks him to get a prescription fulfilled for her but Sharon doubts it is legitimate since no doctor would prescribe it to an addict. She checks it out and discovers the prescription is fake so Rusty does not get it filled. His mom throws a fit when he tells her and starts ranting about him being gay. She's completely horrible in all ways. Later on she calls Rusty and asks for help again but he tells her that she is not his problem anymore.
Ranking - #13
This episode was super intense. In fact, it was too intense. It would have worked if the case had not been about rape and its aftermath or if the Rusty subplot had been more tame. Having both together get so ugly made it feel stifling and didn't offer the viewer (read, me) a break from all the melodrama.
The Case - Santa robs a bank and then escapes into a flash mob of Santas, but not before getting shot and dying in his car. The security guard accidentally kills the Santa who shot Santa Robber. A gun-wielding Mrs. Claus ties Santa Robber to the choreographer but they can't find the money at her house, just the die packs which explode on Buzz and turn his face green. The team ties the robbery to the bank manager who wanted to send her kid to a fancy music school. She tries to say she was under duress by the bank robbers, but they find the dead choreographer stuffed in her son's cello case under her bed.
The Rest - Sharon's kids are in town for Christmas and they all pitch in to create a traditional Christmas Eve. Emily stays at her dad's place at his insistence and is worried that he's drinking again. Ricky and Emily persuade Rusty not to tell Sharon to keep her happy. Rusty disagrees but Emily back stories their history with an alcoholic father. Rusty points out that Jack might be manipulating them. In the end because Sharon can't leave work, her kids bring the celebration to the station and they all celebrate together. Also, Provenza tries to rush the case throughout in hopes that he gets to vacation with his new lady friend. He's shy about the details until the grandmother from Party Foul shows up at the precinct. They end up cancelling their vacation but celebrate together in LA.
Ranking - #14
This felt like an episode I should like and there were many parts that I did. I enjoyed meeting Emily, Sharon's daughter, and I loved learning that Provenza still had a thing going with Patrice. I really liked their character interaction earlier. However I found Rusty irksome. I have no idea why they always want to make him the wise, moral center every single time he's with Sharon's other family. I get that they want to show he's special in Sharon's life but that happens every single episode. Rusty is a kid with a hard past. He's allowed to mess up. He doesn't always need to be the voice of wisdom and make Sharon's other family members look bad in the process. There's room for all of them.
The Case - Andy keeps a jumper from nose diving off an overpass only to find that he's a sex offender with a dead girl in his truck although he insists he's innocent. The parents are waiting at the sex offender's house when the police arrive because the girl was autistic and her tracking bracelet was found in his house. Evidence leads them to believe the girl was murdered at home by the stepfather, who planned all along to kill her and frame the sex offender. Sharon tells the sex offender's new girlfriend that he's on the registry to protect her daughter so the sex offender tries to kill himself in the interview room with a pen.
The Rest - Emma wants Rusty to write an impact statement about Stroh to keep him from getting a deal, but she twisted the facts by making it seem that by writing the impact statement, he would not have to testify anymore. DDA Hobbs corrects Rusty's misconception. Also Provenza struggles with dating someone his own age and goes to Joe, who uses reverse psychology on him.
Ranking - #15
Mostly this episode was ho hum. The case was predictable and I can't stand Emma so the mere mention of her irks me. In many ways, it felt like it was just playing out time until the finale. Total filler episode.
The Case - Rusty narrates the murder of an Indian tourist, who came to meet his bride in an arranged meeting. The bride did not agree and ran away, angering her diplomat father who wants to control her. Her friend let it slip that she has a boyfriend and is hiding out at their summer place. Unfortunately her dad finds her before the police so Sykes and Cooper stage a car crash the next day to get her to the precinct. Her boyfriend admits to killing the fiancé and the girl admits to having sex so her father can't marry her off. She becomes a material witness to stay in the United States.
The Rest - The entire story is an allegory for Rusty coming out. He wants Sharon to tell the station for him but she says that news is his to tell. He continues over relating to the girl and tries to comfort her at the station. After listening to Sykes coming out about her relationship with Cooper, Rusty comes out about being gay. No one cares; they already knew anyway.
Ranking - #16
This episode came off as a bad PSA to me. It was over handed and overly dramatic. Plus the voiceovers and stopping the plot constantly to remind us that Rusty was telling the story did nothing but annoy me. Many people loved this episode but for me, they might as well have put an announcement at the beginning stating it was a "Very Special Episode."
The Case - A juvenile murderer gets parole but insists he was innocent after he is free. He asks Julio, who arrested him, to reinvestigate and Sharon insists once the parolee is found committing burglary miles away. The parolee is killed and Julio brings in the dead girl's brothers for questioning. They admit to beating the guy but not murdering him. Julio beats up the confidential informant who admits he lied. He also killed the girl. Julio tells the parole's grandmother that he's re-opening the unsolved murders of her other family in penance for locking up the wrong guy.
The Rest - Rusty, after coaching from Provenza, tells Sharon that he's seeing his mom in rehab. The Sharons meet and Rusty finds out his mom was forced into rehab instead of jail. Sharon reminds him that why she is there isn't important as long as she gets help. Rusty says he can never pay Sharon back for all she's done for him. He's nervous about visiting his mom in rehab but Sharon talks him through it.
Ranking - #17
This episode didn't connect with me as much as I expected. In fact I largely forgot about it until partway through the rewatch. I enjoyed Julio's scenes with the grandmother but watching him fly off the handle every 3 minutes was confusing and annoying. I also tend to hate scenes with Rusty's mom, given that she's a horrible, manipulative person.
The Case - A thug gets away with murdering a teen in a drive-by because he tampers with the witness. Later the thug is found burned alive in his car after a witness calls 911. Fitz wants to keep his identity quiet because he fears a gang war, especially since they found evidence implicating a rival gang's go-to arsonist on the scene. A courtroom watcher ends up being the witness and evidence shows that the victim got him fired from his teaching job. Sharon threatens the former teacher to get him to confess but he refuses.
The Rest - Rusty calls Sharon, "Mom" for the first time when he introduces his boss (and crush) Jeff to her. He invites Jeff to stay at their condo when his flight gets cancelled and Rusty and Sharon talk about asking him out. He eventually does but Jeff says Rusty is too young. To nurse his broken heart, Sharon buys Rusty a hamburger. Meanwhile Mike has a business manager to help with his consulting fees and Andy gets even more jealous.
Ranking - #18
This is the case that made the least sense to me. The twist seemed to come out of thin air. Also given that I don't care about anyone's love life on this show, with the exception of the good character interaction between Provenza and Patrice, most of this subplot bored me.
The Case - A former child heartthrob (and now disgusting pig) goes missing and is found dead in a drug-riddled part of town. They try to keep his identity private but video leaks showing a homeless guy beating him to death. Later the homeless guy is found dead too. They force the PA who shot the video to show them the outtakes from the movie and find that the actor improvised by using details from a real unsolved murder involving a cartel boss' son. The outtakes lead them to the murder weapon because the director and driver never threw it away. They killed the cartel son and then orchestrated the actor's murder.
The Rest - Andy tells his daughter that Sharon and he are dating to Sharon's chagrin. The daughter won't drop it and arranges for everyone to go to the ballet, including an unenthused Rusty. Sharon wants Rusty there to buffer the situation. Andy explains they're not dating to his daughter but Rusty points out evidence to the contrary. Andy's daughter agrees that they are dating but don't know it yet.
Ranking - #19
As much as I don't care about Rusty's love life, I care even less about Sharon and Andy's. It was a bunch of shipping drivel in the midst of a case where the killers couldn't even dispose of the gun correctly. Plus they told an actor that they killed someone. How dumb can you be?
So what are your favorite episodes? Upvote your favorites and downvote your least favorites.
Ranker - Lists About Everything
Screencaps by SpoilerTV, Borg, TV Line, Side Reel, Major Crimes TV.net, TV Equals, Celeb Dirty Laundry, Major Crimes Division Wikia, TV Geek Talk, Gatecast.co.uk, and TNT Drama.