Major Crimes opens with Provenza (G. W. Bailey), Flynn (Tony Denison), Sanchez (Raymond Cruz), Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Buzz (Phillip Keane) and Sykes (Kearran Giovanni) at a gym. Chad Raber, a gym owner/trainer has been murdered. It appears he was doing abs while on a suspension bar wearing gravity boots and that his killer came up to him and swung at his head with a kettle bell.
Provenza is running the investigation and tasks Sykes with notifying the family to get him out of his hair. He's not a big fan of Sykes, and it must be said that she's no Daniels, the other woman on the squad back when it was still The Closer.
Sykes is a huge suck up, but it's difficult to tell whether she is going to be good at this, because she does things like calling the victim's wife to the scene instead of going to her. And so she (Susan Ward) comes running and sees her husband and is immediately hysterical. Not cool, Sykes. Really. Not cool.
Provenza calls Raydor (Mary McDonnell) to find out if she's coming to the scene, but she's busy with Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) and his social worker. They're conducting the home visit. Rusty tries to get Raydor's home disqualified, but the social worker pulls him aside and tells him that he really needs this to work, and tha this looks like a good thing for him. He's not happy. Raydor is surprised when she realizes that she is going to have to take him to work again.
Dr. Morales (Jonathan Del Arco) tells the squad that Raber had no self-defensive wounds. Raydor asks Buzz to set him up with a computer so he can study for a school entrance exam. She also asks him to babysit. Buzz is not thrilled. Sykes seems to bring nothing to the table so Provenza has her look into the victim. Raydor is interviewing Mrs. Raber when Sykes, completely breaking all protocol, bursts into the interview room with the news that Raber had been accused of rape. Mrs. Raber yells that her husband was not a rapist that the accuser was one of her husband's crazy clients.
Raydor tells Sykes that they like to reveal information in a strategic manner. Provenza tells her that aside from that, she was supposed to come to him with that information since he ordered her to do it. Flynn offers that she's both dumb and stupid. Provenza disagrees, saying that she is choosing sides. More cracks in the unity.
Raydor talks to Taylor (Robert Gosset). She asks about the promotion to commander that was promised to her with the transfer. He says that all promotions have been stalled for the time being. He also tells her that closing the case will go a long way towards making the squad accept her.
Sanchez goes to interview Amanda, the rape victim. Flynn and Provenza talk to the dad. He is still enraged over the whole thing. The daughter is still a mess. Raber got her in shape and then raped her when she was the body type he preferred.
Tao and Sykes go on a hunt for Raber's iPad which Mrs. Raber says is missing. Sykes asks Tao why Provenza doesn't like her. He tells her that Provenza doesn't like anyone. They find the iPad in the dumpster behind the dad's business. When Tao goes through the iPad, he finds a video testimonial from the girl. Raber forced her to record a video where she extolled his virtues as a trainer. All post rape testimonials. Someone deleted all of them except for the most recent victims after the murder.
The other victims are identified and brought in for questioning. They all have similar stories. As the squad talks it out, they realize that this seems like a very established pattern and Tao goes looking and finds 8 other videos in the cloud. Raydor offers that Marino went to the police when he found out. As they realize the motive not be vengeance, Raydor says that there's only one person who might have a motive to protect Raber.
They bring Mrs. Raber in and let her see the murder board with Marino's photo up in the suspects column. They hand her the bugged iPad. She takes it to her car, checking the videos. She tries to delete the videos from the cloud, but they put them right back in. They go back and forth like this until she is in a rage and yells that she would kill him again if she could. They arrest her.
Her attorney wants manslaughter with no time served. The DDA thinks that might be all they can get because there's no actual evidence linking her to the crime. The squad tries to argue with her but she's not having it.
Raydor and the DDA go in to talk to Mrs. Raber and attorney. When they won't budge from no time, Raydor says that's fine because unlike everything else in the gym, the kettle bell had no prints, indicating that Mrs. Raber wiped the weight and wore gloves proving premeditation. The DDA tells them 11 years or she goes to trial. Mrs. Raber looks horrified, but agrees. After the plea deal is entered into the record, Provenza asks Taylor if this is how it's going to be. Murderers getting such short sentences. Taylor says he hopes so since this saved the city boatloads of cash he can use for overtime and dna testing. Provenza to self, "I quit."
Back at the department, Provenza is packing up. Sykes asks if he's leaving and he's pretty cutting about her observational skills. She tells him he should look into retirement communities. Raydor tries to convince Provenza to stay.
Later she tells Rusty that he has to shape up. She picks up all his stuff. He yells she's not his mom. She agrees, because she's here. He storms off. That's going well.
Photo credit: Major Crimes Facebook