Major Crimes / Screen

Major Crimes attempts a parallel between Rusty’s sexuality and the case of the week in “Do Not Disturb” with mixed results

Since we’ve known Sharon Raydor, her adherence to the rules has been her most defining trait. It put her in the position of antagonist when she first appeared on The Closer, going up against Brenda Leigh’s rule bending, and at times it’s still a source of teasing and frustration for the squad, Rusty and Sharon’s family. But with “Do Not Disturb” Sharon finds herself hindered by the rules as diplomatic immunity keeps her from nabbing her otherwise obvious suspect when an Indian national is murdered. Despite this it’s another episode that’s not very concerned with Sharon, paying more attention to Rusty.

Instead of opening with a crime scene, “Do Not Disturb” begins in the office of Dr. Joe (Bill Brochtrup), where Rusty struggling with the secret of his sexuality, replays this week’s case, centered around a young woman Lina (Rima Rajan). This week’s victim is the groom in Lina’s impending arranged marriage, and her diplomat father is the obvious suspect though out of the squad’s reach once he invokes his right to immunity, and the international aspect means the return of Jon Tenney’s Fritz Howard.

The immunity means the squad has to work its way around miles of red tape, things only getting more complicated when the missing Lina is finally found but is already being spirited away by her strict father (Erick Avari), leaving the squad to only speculate about what’s really going on. The people who could actually shed light on the case, Lina and her father, won’t, and aren’t obligated to, speak to them. The squad comes up with various possibilities behind the murder and what’s going on but only through speaking to people who aren’t affected by diplomatic immunity like Lina’s friends and secret boyfriend, Josh. When they finally speak to Lina, it’s after staging a car accident and sneaking her away in an ambulance, and it’s eventually revealed that Josh killed her fiance in an attempt to preserve his and Lina’s relationship.

For so much of the episode hinging on Rusty’s attachment to Lina, we see and hear little from her. Most of the episode’s information is relayed through other people. Part of this is due to the issue of diplomatic immunity, which doesn’t even make room for the questioning of Lina or her father, and the rest of it seems to come off as laziness at some point. When Rusty and Lina are finally face to face and Rusty comforts her after her father’s rampage at the police station ends in him flinging her violently against a wall, it’s a good scene though it still doesn’t float the emotional connection that the episode promised the two had built regardless of the hug Lina leaves Rusty with.

It’s not as strong as a parallel as the show tries to make it though Dr. Joe certainly tries by explaining that Rusty’s empathizing with Lina was due to her stepping outside of the sexual norms of her own culture, like Rusty is. It probably would have been more fitting it Lina had struggled with a relationship with another young woman rather than Josh, but I see what “Do Not Disturb” was going for.  To make the parallels even more apparent, Lina’s now a key witness in her own murder trial. It feels as though the episode tried hard to make their situations gel together, without making them gel much at all. The most powerful part of their parallels is Rusty and Lina’s shared inability to place any faith in their parents, which would have been strong considering last week’s episode marked Rusty cutting his mother off and her own homophobic response to him in the face of it.

It doesn’t help that Lina keeping her secret from her father is tapped as the cause behind the whole murder and Rusty keeping the secret about his sexuality is given the same bent. It’s not as if Lina had no cause to keep her relationship with Josh a secret, since her father turned violent even before he knew about it and disowned her once he did. Whatever troubles Lina’s secret caused, it wasn’t because she chose to keep it a secret, it was because she suspected what would happen when she told the truth. Obviously that way of thinking wouldn’t have really concluded with Rusty coming out to the squad, but doing so by seeming to almost guilt him into doing so doesn’t seem up to the show’s standards. Rusty was considering coming out long before this happened, and this feels like a cheap way to make it happen, relying on his anxiety about what problems his secret may cause then genuinely wanting to share the information with the members of the squad.

Like Provenza said, if Rusty did come out to them it only would have told them how much he trusted them (hence their keeping quiet about it up until now), and Major Crimes could have easily gone with this instead. Lina didn’t trust her father to respond well to what she really wanted (and with good reason), but Rusty’s developed good relationships among the squad and him deciding to tell them because he just felt that it was time. That being said, it’s still nice to see Rusty feeling comfortable with himself and coming out to the squad, I just wish it had been handled better.

Stray Observations

  • Sykes’ mystery boyfriend is revealed: Malcolm-Jamal Warner’s SIS officer, Cooper.
  • Provenza: “Did she just say crap?”

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