Mary McDonnell

The expectation of safety has — alas - exploded in our modern world. Worse, the very idea of safety has become so politicized that it's nearly impossible to discuss (from any perspective) without simultaneously inviting partisan criticism. Walking through this political minefield just to tell a story is nearly not worth it

Nearly.

Those who watch Major Crimes regularly know that we try to vary the tone from episode to episode. Some stories are dark and moody; some are light and, occasionally, funny; some are designed to be action-packed thrillers; some are built as studies of human nature. And, usually, we end our seasonal run with a touch of horror. Last year's spree killing "Poster Boy," and the previous season's cool-headed sniper, led us into the more depraved reaches our genre.

Here we go again. A female police officer, chosen for her physical resemblance to a series of kidnapped girls, ends up being abducted from an under-21 night club. And she is not the only character trying to break out from behind bars.  Rusty's mother returns, this time in prison garb, reminding us that horror is not achieved by violence alone. And then there is newly minted Deputy Chief Fritz Howard, who carries a potentially shocking secret everywhere he goes.

Bestriding all these stories, Captain Sharon Raydor endeavors to maintain proper custody of both her case and Rusty Beck, struggling to free one woman while fighting to keep another boxed up as long as possible.

I remind the politically correct on both sides of our country's divide that to provide a little dose of horror, it is necessary to contemplate terrible things. And that establishing people behind prison walls does not always alter their capacity for good or evil. Sadly, not everyone who struggles to be free survives. Safety is still an ideal, not a reality.

In addition to our regular cast of players and recurring guest stars, we welcome back Laurie Holden, playing the charismatic Commander Ann McGinnis from the LAPD's Special Operations Bureau. Directed by action expert Michael M. Robin with his usual sense of urgency, and written by Jim Leonard & Leo Geter, we end as Sharon Raydor completes a dangerous deal with one of the very worst criminals she has ever faced.

And now for the saddest part of this particular weekly update: I have to say good-bye. "Zoo Story" marks the end of our summer season, which has been historic in terms of our maturing relationship with our viewers. It is impossible to thank you enough for the number of Monday nights you have chosen to spend in our company.

Though we hate to go, the necessities of production force us to miss Labor Day and Columbus Day, the beginning of autumn and the parties of Halloween. But Major Crimes will return this winter, and stick with you throughout the New Year as we move to finish up our biggest story of all time.

Meanwhile, I send wishes for a perfect end to summer from Mary McDonnell, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, Phillip P. Keene, Kearran Giovanni, Graham Patrick Martin, Jonathan Del Arco, Robert Gossett, Ransford Doherty, Jon Tenney, Kathe Mazur and the writers, producers and crew of Major Crimes. And when the leaves begin to fall, and the air turns chill, we'll be back again for nine more episodes, and a winter holiday surprise.

Until then — James Duff