‘Major Crimes’ Leads TNT Summer Hit Parade

Closer Spinoff Gets New Regular Too

Mary McDonnell/Major Crimes

There’s lots of action happening at basic-cable network TNT, including big news about the Summer 2013 lineup and a nice, familiar addition to the regular cast of the successful Closer spinoff Major Crimes.

The new member of the TNT original drama family is Nadine Velazquez, the actress probably best known to scores of television watchers as My Name Is Earl denizen Catalina. Most recently she has appeared regularly in both the FX comedy The League and the CW dramedy Hart of Dixie. Fans will probably be thrilled that her Major Crimes role highlights her dramatic skills rather than her comedic timing as she portrays Deputy District Attorney Emma Rios, Captain Sharon Raydor’s (Mary McDonnell) latest professional and personal foil. I like Ms. Rios already.

On the summer front, TNT plans to expand its upcoming hot-weather schedule with a massive (for the network) stable of five returning original scripted series and four newcomers, all but one unscripted reality fare. The returning shows include gloomy sci-fi action drama Falling Skies, sophomoric legal dramedy Franklin & Bash, and mega-popular crime dramas Rizzoli & Isles, Major Crimes, and Perception. The rookies hoping to make their mark include reality originals 72 Hours, Cold Justice, and The Hero, plus the lone scripted drama King & Maxwell.

The Hero, hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is an hourlong competition series featuring people in heroic mode as they attempt to complete tasks that test their ethics, intelligence, and physical strength. It kicks off TNT’s summer season on Thursday, June 6, at 8pm ET. Fellow reality newb 72 Hours, another one-hour competition series also premiering on June 6, follows at 9pm. The show tracks teams left in the middle of nowhere with minimal provisions as they try to find a briefcase filled with $100,000 cash in three days or less. Talk about proper motivation.

Sunday, June 9, brings the alien-filled third-season premiere of Falling Skies at 9pm, and police procedural Major Crimes returns to its 9pm Monday-night time slot for its sophomore run on June 10. The hit spinoff also serves as the lead-in for TNT’s single new drama, King & Maxwell, which debuts the same night at 10pm. Starring Closer alum Jon Tenney and Ugly Betty grad Rebecca Romijn as the titular spies-turned-detectives Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, the series revolving around characters from David Baldacci’s popular novels has a prominent Moonlighting/Castle/etcetera vibe, at least based on the network description.

Thanks to the arrival of King & Maxwell, cleverly eccentric sophomore procedural Perception will pair up with straight-shooting Rizzoli & Isles for its fourth season on Tuesday nights at 10pm and 9pm, respectively, starting June 18. Scheduled for Wednesdays at 9pm, the third season of legal dramedy Franklin & Bash launches five weeks later on July 24, and the final reality rookie, small-town unsolved homicide investigation series Cold Justice, bows on Tuesday, August 27, at 10pm. I’m not into most unscripted shows, but this one puts me in a Cold Case frame of mind, so I just might check it out.

Mary McDonnell/Major Crimes photo courtesy of Karen Neal/TNT

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