aussiegirl (bsg_aussiegirl) wrote in het_reccers,

Manifesto post

Sorry, I'm terribly late. :(


Fandom:The Closer and Major Crimes
Spoilers:Minor spoilers for all seven seasons of The Closer and the first season of Major Crimes

The Closer finished its run when the show’s star, Kyra Sedgwick, decided to call it a day after seven seasons. However, the show’s creators and network decided they still had enough material and high enough ratings to go with a spinoff, thus Major Crimes was launched immediately after the final episode of The Closer.

The first season of Major Crimes was ten episodes in length, and it has been renewed for a second season of 15 episodes scheduled to be shown in the American summer. The spinoff features all but three characters from The Closer, and consequently, much of the fanfic still overlaps between the two shows at the moment.

The Closer and Major Crimes are shows centred around the Major Crimes Division of the LAPD. (The squad was originally called Priority Homicide Department and changes its name at the end of season 4 to ‘Major Crimes’.) They investigate crimes committed by high profile criminals; murders where multiple victims are involved; kidnappings; and other complicated crimes which are deemed too important or unusual to be handled by the ordinary divisions within LAPD. Major Crimes is the most elite LAPD squad. Quite often they need to liaise with the FBI. Most episodes are stand alone, ie with one case per episode, but there are a few plots and guest characters that have carried over several episodes and/or seasons.

Like most other police dramas, the personal lives of the squad are explored. Unlike most other police dramas on television at the moment, there is no ‘catch’ to sell either show. No one reads minds or such, and I will have to give credit to the writers and stars for keeping the show as popular as it has proven to be without a gimmick. The only gimmick that made The Closer special when it first aired was the idea that the head of the squad was a woman. In 2013, this is nothing special, with many dramas having a woman as a lead. What is special about the spinoff, Major Crimes, is that the head of the squad is now not only a woman, but a woman of a ‘certain age’.

The other thing that makes these two shows different from other series of a similar genre is the humour peppered throughout. That quirky humour can be great fun when transferred to fanfic.

The main difference between The Closer and Major Crimes to me, and many others I would think, is there is a much more ensemble feel to Major Crimes. All squad members are given the chance to develop their characterisation and contribute towards the plot. The Closer was much more Brenda-driven (the Sedgwick character).

I thought it best, seeing there are so many male characters in the show, to list the females and thus the most popular het pairings with those characters.

Sharon Raydor:

Captain Sharon Raydor is played by Mary McDonnell, who already had a large following of fanfic writers from the Battlestar Galactica 2003 fandom. As soon as her character appeared in a mere three episodes in season 5, fanfics popped up featuring her.

Originally the favoured het pairing was with Chief Will Pope, but as her character appeared intermittently throughout season 6, and almost permanently in season 7, this pairing became less popular. (I assume because the characters’ relationship didn’t seem to progress and the Pope character became less sympathetic towards Raydor and kept his concentration firmly focused on Brenda.) The het pairing of Sharon/Lieutenant Andy Flynn also proved popular and would probably now be the most popular het pairing in the fandom. Of course, it is possible to find Sharon paired with nearly all the characters in fanfic, if you ship her with someone else. Her character is legally separated but not divorced (‘all very Catholic’) and her (as yet unseen) estranged husband also features in many fanfics.

Sharon is a complete stickler for the ‘rules’, and this creates conflict in fics, considering her marital status and work obligations when she takes over Brenda’s role as head of the Major Crimes squad in the spinoff (especially with respect to the Sharon/Andy ship, given Andy is her underling). There are other opportunities to include conflict, as well as the ‘family’ element into fanfics, since one of the new plots of Major Crimes is Sharon taking a young material witness, Rusty Beck, into her care.

Sharon seems to be known to most of the squad when she is introduced in season 5. They don’t have to introduce themselves, and Provenza specifically tells a story of when she once called him a misogynist. As such, fics featuring her character paired off with one of the squad before canon will work.

I love Sharon because I am drawn to mature characters, and even though she is tough, intelligent, confident (most of the time) and a champion of women’s rights; Sharon all the while keeps a high level of femininity. She is dedicated to her job, but it doesn’t seem to be to the detriment of her personal life as it seemed to be with the Brenda character.

Brenda-Leigh Johnson:

Chief Johnson has two canon het relationships. One is with FBI Agent Fritz Howard, whom she dated pre-canon and meets again after moving to LA in season one of The Closer. They start up a romantic relationship and eventually marry. Their trip to the altar is not smooth sailing, with Brenda’s parents, past affair with Will Pope, early onset of menopause, job and cat(!!!!) often coming between them. Fritz is a recovering alcoholic and this storyline also allows for quite a bit of angst in fanfic.

Brenda’s new boss at the LAPD is also her ex-lover, Chief Pope. He helps her get the job originally, and quite often protects her when she doesn’t follow correct protocol or makes an error in judgement. Although she was single, he was married when they had their affair, and he married someone else afterwards (and subsequently divorces that wife too). Although there is no canon reference to Brenda and Will Pope carrying on with their affair, the show does keep attempting to create some UST between the characters and therefore, a Brenda/Will fic would not be hard to believe. Like all fanfic, you will find Brenda paired with many of the other characters in fanfic.

Amy Sykes:

Sykes is a new character introduced in Major Crimes. She’s tough (an ex Afghanistan veteran) but rather rash at times and inexperienced when it comes to murder investigations. She makes several mistakes during her introduction to the show, but is eventually accepted into the squad (especially after she is badly beaten during a case). Although there is a case for Amy to be gay, she does speak about an ex-boyfriend (in a disparaging way, however) and there is quite a few cute moments between her and Julio Sanchez which totally makes me ship them. Hopefully, as time goes by, there will be more fanfics written for this pairing.

Irene Daniels:

Irene was a character in the early seasons of The Closer. She was quite often partnered with Sanchez, and I thought they had nice chemistry going. However, in canon, she began to date David Gabriel in season two (although I still just can’t accept it! LOL). Eventually Irene and David’s relationship disintegrates to such a point that one of them had to leave the squad (and the show), and it was her. We don’t see her again after season 4 (*sigh*).

Other minor female characters who could turn up in het fanfic include: DDA Andrea Hobbs, who often works closely with the Major Crimes squad; there is another attractive female DDA, Claire Baldwin; Mikki Mendoza, a detective who works with Major Crimes during several episodes and had great chemistry with Sanchez; Buzz’s sister Casey, very attractive and bright and (hopefully!) too young for anyone other than Sanchez; Provenza’s ex-wife Liz, paired up with Provenza obviously!; Fritz’s hippy sister, Claire, who becomes quite infatuated with Andy Flynn; and Ann Mason, Gabriel’s next serious girlfriend after Daniels.

Like most BSG writers, I am a MM fangirl and only tuned into Major Crimes because she was set to star. MM’s superb acting, and the introduction of the Sharon/Rusty element, has made Major Crimes something I am interested in writing for. I am still exploring the fanfic available for both shows myself, so these ten fics are obviously only the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve linked all the fanfics from fanficnet.

Fic Rec #1: Hiatus
Pairing:Sharon Raydor/OC and Sharon Raydor/Andy Flynn
Rating/Warning(s): M for language, mild smut and adult themes.

Why This Must Be Read:
Not only the best Major Crimes fanfic I’ve read, this is probably the best fanfic I’ve ever read in any fandom. The story follows on from the final episode of Major Crimes, with Sharon and Rusty having to deal with the issue of her ex-husband coming to live with them. There is drama and mystery throughout the fic, but the main focus of the fic is the exploration of both Sharon and Rusty’s pasts and how those have shaped them. A lot of questions are asked about Rusty and the implications of the canon drama the show introduced to the character. The writer also attempts to explain Sharon’s personality traits. Some of the themes are quite mature, and most chapters end with a cliffhanger, so be prepared to sit up all night to finish it. The romance comes from both the ex-husband and Andy Flynn. As such there is a ‘love triangle’, but it is done with such a subtle hand that no one could find offence from the idea. I highly rec this fic.

Fic Rec #2Flash Floods and Other Big Headaches
Pairing:Sharon Raydor/Andy Flynn
Why This Must Be Read:
This fic is a sequel to the author’s Migraines and Other Big Headaches, which was also funny and very sexy in an understated, full of innuendo only, kind of way. I prefer the sequel because of the completely silly humour that it contains. It is so similar to the type of humour the show displays, I can see the whole thing so clearly that it feels like this could truly be an episode of the series. I hope the author gives us another part soon!

Fic Rec #3:Let Slip the Dogs of Love
Pairing:Sharon Raydor/Andy Flynn
Rating/Warning(s):M. This is a WIP.

Why This Must Be Read:
This fic has only just begun, but already it’s captured my imagination. The writer’s style is great and she effortlessly creates a sinister setting of anxiety. Sharon wakes up in a dirty motel room with no recollection of how or why she is there. She soon realises she’s been drugged, and things go from bad to worse when she is arrested for murder. She finds her car, but its sporting a new dent. She doesn’t, however, find her shoes. Oh noes!!!! Will Flynn and the Major Crimes squad be able to help crack the case?

Fic Rec #4:Competitive Natures
Pairing:Sharon Raydor/Andy Flynn

Why This Must Be Read:
A young sergeant comes to work with Major Crimes for a little while and takes a shine to Andy, much to Sharon’s chagrin. The OC, while written during The Closer, and long before Major Crimes reminds me a lot of Sykes at times. Yes, Andy and Sharon are in an established relationship, which is all sorts of cute. Especially Provenza running a pool on when they will break up.

Fic Rec #5:Unlikely Scenarios
Pairing:Sharon Raydor/Andy Flynn

Why This Must Be Read:
This is a great little fic because it goes over all the usual tropes used by writers and dismisses how silly they are. Even though, we all agree that they are such fun to read! This writer has an extensive list of great smut fics if you’re looking for just that! :)

Fic Rec #6:The Land of Sweets
Author:Ivy Kendall
Pairing:Sharon Raydor/Andy Flynn

Why This Must Be Read:
A short continuation of the ballet pictures so prominently featured in Sharon’s apartment. Very sweet and shows how much potential there is for the pairing

Fic Rec #7:As Time Goes By
Author:Laura Mayfair
Pairing:Sharon Raydor/Andy Flynn

Why This Must Be Read:
If you like long series, this one actually has 2 sequels (sorry, I haven’t read either yet to rec them). The author quite rightly ‘fixes’ the issue of Sharon and Andy being supervisor/subordinate by having Andy transfer out of Major Crimes unit. Nice build up to their relationship in this fic, with Sharon’s ex turning up just as everything seems to be going smoothly between the pair.

Fic Rec #8: I Know You Won’t
Author:Laura Kay
Pairing:Sharon Raydor/Will Pope

Why This Must Be Read:
I thought I should include one of this popular pairing, even though after I watched The Closer in its entirety, I didn’t buy it. This fic, however, is set around season 5, the season which makes the Sharon/Pope ship most probable. I like the descriptions of Sharon’s lifestyle in this one; they’re very believable pre-canon. I also like her jealousy of Brenda and Pope’s complicated relationship.

Fic Rec #9:Flak Jacket
Pairing:Brenda Leigh Johnson/Fritz Howard

Why This Must Be Read:
It’s probably blatantly obvious by now I am a much bigger Sharon fan than Brenda, but I thought include at least one Brenda het rec. I found when I searched that most fics featuring Brenda/Fritz (my favoured of her ships) are PWP (not that there’s anything wrong with that). This was the one I thought was the cutest, because it has Brenda having a fetish for Fritz in his FBI flak jacket which I thought was hilarious for some reason (and yeah, the flak jacket could be totally hot given the right circumstances...) Cute smut!

Fic Rec #10:Someone to Watch Over You
Pairing:Amy Sykes/Julio Sanchez

Why This Must Be Read:
Because it’s the only one I can find from this pairing!!!!! Please, somebody, write more! They would make the cutest couple evah! This is only a short fic, but I do like the idea the author includes as to how Sanchez’s wife passed away.

Major Crimes is a growing, active fandom, and I hope some of you will join us there. :)

Credit for the banner goes to the lovely akachankami

Mods, this will need some new tags. Thanks in advance.

Tags: fandom: major crimes, fandom: the closer, ship: amy sykes/julio sanchez, ship: brenda leigh johnson/fritz howard, ship: original character, ship: sharon raydor/andy flynn, ship: sharon raydor/will pope, special: manifesto

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