'Dismissed with Prejudice'

Every now and then we put together a show that stands out from the rest of our work and achieves one-of-a-kind status. That would describe this week's offering, "Dismissed with Prejudice," which features my gifted and amazingly talented friend, Michael Paul Chan. MPC's portrayal of Lt. Tao has only deepened over the years, and tonight he gets to display some of his very best work.

When dedicating a season of dramas to the idea of fairness, eventually, one must deal with the wrongly accused -- for what can be more unfair in a procedural drama than a suspect sentenced to death for a murder they didn't commit?

Our story begins over eight years ago, before the establishment of Priority Homicide or Major Crimes. Lt. Michael Tao enters a house to find a woman stabbed to death, her husband holding the knife, and her young daughter stating unequivocally that she witnessed her father doing the deed.

But a lot can happen over eight years. Witnesses can change their stories. DNA can be found in unexpected places. And old cases can go upside down. Lt. Tao helplessly observes as a mystery he'd solved completely unravels before his eyes. How do you give a man back his reputation, family and career after convicting him of murder? And if the suspect didn't kill his wife, Lt. Tao must wonder, who did?

And Lt. Tao isn't the only one who might be leaping to conclusions. Rusty Beck can no longer put off meeting the person he refers to as "my sperm donor." Is the man who would be his father worthy of all this suspicion? A sixteen-year-old boy who grew up the victim of abuse and neglect might have earned a few unreasonable worries. But Sharon Raydor also continues to examine Daniel with distance and distrust, seemingly trying to decide if he is more of an answer than a nagging question.

I like this episode a lot and it's no coincidence that it was written by Jim Leonard, who also composed "Road Block," one of my all-time favorites from The Closer. Just seeing Jim stare at the outline on the board before he leaves to flesh it out into a script can be an inspiring experience. And, happily, collaborating with Mr. Leonard to bring this fun story to life is none other than Jon Tenney, taking yet another turn behind the camera, directing both himself and his first episode of Major Crimes. Jon and Jim and Michael Paul Chan make for a potent combination, and maybe we will see them together in the same formation next year.

Oh. Speaking of next year... did I mention that Major Crimes was picked up for another season this morning?

This is not breaking news because TNT has already announced that our show will be returning next summer. But it's a joyful thing to share with those of you who have been watching and waiting for this moment since the premiere. I cannot tell you how grateful our little company is to our network partners, who gave us a chance to do this new show under extraordinary circumstances. Mary McDonnell, GW Bailey, Raymond Cruz, Phillip Keene, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Kearran Giovanni, Graham Patrick Martin, Jonathan Del Arco, Kathe Mazur, Ransford Doherty, Jon Tenney and Robert Gossett are all incredibly excited to spend yet another year committed to making Major Crimes. And you cannot know how thankful we are for the open and vocal support of this audience. We are already hard at work attempting to make the 2013 season of our new show worthy of your time and your loyalty.

On Oct. 1, in our next-to-last episode of this year, a Las Vegas cop ends up having an extremely serious drinking problem. But cops aren't supposed to drink on duty, are they?

Until then. -- James Duff