Americans like their privacy.

Yes, here we go again with another episode of Major Crimes that was written and produced before a big news story took over the front pages and, once again, I remind our viewers that the show is not about politics. I don't know whether having informers and wires and cameras everywhere is a good or a bad idea, though I will express some pity for those tasked with analyzing American e-mails: after reading the first one hundred explanations of why spouses cheat on each other, I am pretty sure you have read them all. Even sex in the Twitterverse - lit up by pictures of politicians in various states of undress — begins to seem banal after so much...overexposure. Personally, I think a nonporous wall between our public and personal lives is a good idea, and that protections afforded our privacy by the Constitution are central to American liberty. But we live in a complicated age. Who can really know what trade offs are necessary, in these uncertain times, to guarantee national security? All that can be said for certain is that protecting one's identity has become harder than ever, a theme we explore in this Monday's episode of our series.

Captain Raydor has embraced the art of the deal, but her desire to have people sign on the dotted line only goes so far. And when a particularly heinous murderer shows up, and is about to get a sentence better than he deserves, she finds support from an unlikely place; unfortunately, in the same moment, she discovers a previously good confession - and everything that went with it - has become completely unusable. Add an infuriated coroner, who believes his autopsy is being challenged, the boss of a vast, criminal enterprise willing to kill to protect his identity and a teenage boy trying to choose which of his many secrets can safely be revealed and you have the perfect components for a "Backfire." Executive Producer Adam Belanoff writes a twisty, legal thriller directed with a serious emphasis on the complexities of our justice system by formidable post supervisor, Sheelin Choksey.  Hopefully, this next-to-last episode of our summer season will prepare you for our finale.

Whatever you may think of the show, however, you will love Ron Marasco, who plays a tough judge guided entirely by his own sense of the law. Mr. Marasco's work, which has always been nothing short of outstanding, exemplifies the product of an artist in love with his craft. His very presence on Major Crimes was a present to our cast and crew, and his authority as a jurist matches his command as an actor.  

Next week, the LAPD tracks a dangerous and disturbing spree killer, a proper murderer for dramatizing the corrosive nature of fame in Hollywood.

Until then — James Duff