That did not go the way I was expecting or hoping. I knew Kyra Sedgwick has asked for a “happy ending” for Brenda Leigh Johnson. I had some ideas of what that might be (more on that later) but with every episode that aired this summer that really did seem like less and less of a possibility. The identity of the leak in her department wasn’t a real mystery but I’m happy that was dealt with. The sudden death of her mother was a shock and maybe made her finally realize the toll of her job on her personal relationships. Brenda’s obsession with Billy Burke’s Phillip Stroh came to a somewhat uncharacteristic conclusion, but at least she got him in the end. And Brenda was able to leave her friends at Major Crimes with her head held high for a job she seemed excited about.
I know people don’t change, but in my mind Brenda’s happy ending would’ve gone a bit differently. I would have liked to see her pull a Coach Taylor (yes, that’s a Friday Night Lights reference) and put her spouse’s career before her own. Maybe Fritz would have finally been able to accept a promotion with the FBI, which would’ve sent him to Washington DC. And with DC being so much closer to Atlanta, Brenda would’ve had the opportunity to be closer to her father. Oh, and I would’ve loved to see The Johnson Rule repealed.
But that’s my version of her happy ending and even though I was disappointed, I’m glad James Duff got to do his version. I tend to like procedurals and when this show premiered in 2005 I remember loving Brenda Leigh Johnson. Here was a smart woman who wasn’t about to put up with gender stereotypes in the workplace. She had to earn the respect and loyalty of her squad and she did that by being great at her job. There were some great episodes throughout the years that let us get to know the squad away from the job, but the core of this show was about how this team worked together. They worked a lot of cases and closed most of them. It was a pleasure to see them work.
I won’t be watching Major Crimes. Without Brenda Leigh Johnson, things just won’t be the same. And that’s not a bad thing.