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'Major Crimes' will help heal the pain of losing 'The Closer'

Think of "Major Crimes" as a sort of step-down program, pushed on the nation by TNT to help us gradually get over the pain of losing "The Closer" and our beloved Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick).

"Major Crimes," debuting tonight at 10 after the series finale of "The Closer," actually doesn't require any lengthy explanation. It's essentially "The Closer" without Brenda Leigh and a couple other cast members (I won't spoil who's missing, though even a fleeting glance at the show's previews on television have already given that away).

It's the exact same show: Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell, right), who has appeared on "The Closer" for a few seasons now, steps into the lead position in the L.A.P.D.'s Major Crime unit after Brenda's departure in "The Closer's" series finale.

And I have to say, the transition from Deputy Chief Johnson to Capt. Raydor is much smoother -- and more enjoyable -- than I ever expected.

What to Watch on Monday: 'The Closer' series finale and several debuts

Hotel Hell (8pm, Fox) - In this new series, chef Gordon Ramsay ("Hell's Kitchen," "MasterChef") travels the U.S. offering advice and criticism to the proprietors of struggling hotels. In part 1 of a 2-part episode, Ramsay visits a picturesque Vermont inn with many problems. My review of "Hotel Hell."

Stars Earn Stripes (8pm, NBC) - No more Olympics!! However you feel about that, NBC is hoping tuning in to their network was habit-forming and that you'll watch this new reality series in which "celebrities" compete in military-style challenges. It's hosted by General Wesley Clark and Samantha Harris, and featuring Eve Torres, Dolvett Quince, Todd Palin, Nick Lachey, Terry Crews, Dean Cain, Laila Ali, and Picabo Street.

The Closer (9pm, TNT) - In tonight's series finale, Brenda (Kyra Sedgwick, right) leads an investigation that she thinks will finally bring her nemesis Phillip Stroh to justice, but her obsession with him soon puts her career -- and her life -- in jeopardy. Read more about tonight's finale (no spoilers!).

Bunheads (9pm, ABC Family) - Michelle is pleased to find a new place to get coffee, but dealing with the barista proves difficult (how cool would it be if this was Luke from "Gilmore Girls"?).

Major Crimes (10pm, TNT) - In this spinoff of "The Closer," featuring characters from that series, Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) takes over for the departed Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. In the opening episode, the unit investigates a string of store robberies that turns fatal, and an undercover detective proves herself and is transferred into the division. Is it any good? Here's my review.

Grimm (10pm, NBC) - Season 2 opens with Nick dealing with his mother's unexpected return. Meanwhile, a foreign plot to hunt down Nick comes to light, and Rosalee and Monroe attempt to awaken Juliette from her coma.

Gallery Girls (10pm, Bravo) - The lives of seven young women in New York City's art world are tracked in this new reality series.

Teen Wolf (10pm, MTV) - Scott races to uncover Gerard's master plan following a shocking death on the lacrosse field.

'Thank you so much': Saying goodbye to 'The Closer' and Brenda Leigh

Tonight's series finale of "The Closer," airing at 9 on TNT, has pretty much everything you can hope for when saying goodbye to a TV show -- and characters -- you've come to love: closure and peace.

I won't dare give away any particulars of how or why Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, played for seven great seasons by Kyra Sedgwick, leaves her job as head of L.A.P.D.'s Major Crimes unit. I will tell you that it's a strong episode with a satisfying conclusion.

But it also can't help but be a little sad, too. Sedgwick, pictured here with TV husband Fritz (Jon Tenney) and cat Joel (Jax and/or Darlie), brought Brenda Leigh to life so completely that I'm still a little surprised when I hear her speak on talk shows and she doesn't have an exaggerated Southern drawl (one of my favorite scenes from "The Closer" is from Season 1, when Lt. Provenza mimics Chief Johnson's extreme southern accent at a crime scene).

What to Watch on Monday: Department leak revealed on 'The Closer'

2012 Summer Olympics (NBC) - You can check to see when and where games are playing on the NBC Olympics schedule page. Highlights include track and field, cycling, beach volleyball quarterfinals, gymnastics finals and diving. LaShawn Merritt is expected to go for his second straight gold medal in the 400m. Tips on watching the Olympic games.

The Closer (9pm, TNT) - Who else is still getting over last week's shocker? Yikes, right? Tonight, the investigative focus is on a young couple after a decorated veteran is found dead, but Brenda's (Kyra Sedgwick, left) investigation is hampered by the meddling D.A.'s office. Most importantly, tonight we all learn the identity of the department leak. Next week is the final episode, so brace yourself.

Bunheads (9pm, ABC Family) - Fanny stuns Michelle by inviting her to a play and revealing that she has a longtime boyfriend. Meanwhile, Sasha's obnoxious behavior costs her a prized role.

Alphas (10pm, Syfy) - Harken and Hicks find a fight club for Alphas, and Rosen traces Stanton Parish's past back to 1864. Here's a clip from the episode.

Teen Wolf (10pm, MTV) - Scott must figure out a way to stop Gerard, while Allison continues her hunt for Derek and his wolves. As Larry David might say (and probably has), I'm getting pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty sick of Allison.

Locked Up Abroad (10pm, National Geographic Channel) - Two British backpackers attempt to cross from Panama to Colombia via the notoriously dangerous Darien Gap, but are captured and held hostage by Colombian guerrillas.

What to Watch on Monday: A slain priest causes strife on 'The Closer'

2012 Summer Olympics (NBC) -  You can check to see when and where games are playing on the NBC Olympics schedule page. Highlights today include men's gymnastics (featuring Danell Layva and John Orozco), swimming finals, men's synchronized diving and more U.S. beach volleyball. Tips on watching the Olympic games.

The Closer (9pm, TNT) - The squad investigates the slaying of a priest, stirring up friction with the Catholic Church and causing Brenda and Pope to clash. Also, Brenda's parents arrive as her father continues his cancer treatments.

Bunheads (9pm, ABC Family) - One of the girls steals from Michelle and then lies about it, but Michelle proves she's no pushover. Meanwhile, Ginny's friends mock her for dating the same boy since elementary school.

About Face: Supermodels Then and Now (9pm, HBO) - A compilation of interviews with a diverse group of modeling icons who comment on their careers and share their experiences in and out of the spotlight. Interviewees include Christie Brinkley, Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison, Beverly Johnson, Paulina Porizkova, Isabella Rossellini and Cheryl Tiegs. Adrienne reviews.

Warehouse 13 (9pm, Syfy) - Pete and Myka investigate when angry mobs hallucinate en masse and attack innocent people.

Teen Wolf (10pm, MTV) - Allison tracks Derek to the sheriff's station, where Scott, Stiles, Melissa and Sheriff Stilinski are being held hostage.

Perception (10pm, TNT) - Pierce scrambles to crack a coded newspaper message left by someone possibly connected to a murder.

What to Watch on Monday: Two Syfy premieres and a 'Bachelor Pad' plague

Bachelor Pad (8pm, ABC) - The worst thing about "The Bachelorette" ending is that it means "Bachelor Pad" begins. Fifteen castoffs from "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" join five "super fans" in a Malibu mansion and begin competing for $250,000 in cash.

Vito (9pm, HBO) - This documentary profiles Vito Russo, a pioneer in the gay rights movement of the early 1970s who was also known as the author of "The Celluloid Closet," a 1981 book that examined LGBT characters in film.

The Closer (9pm, TNT) - Brenda investigates after a popular cancer doctor is savagely killed and his drug supply is taken, and a new assignment causes her to question Raydor's loyalty to Pope.

Bunheads (9pm, ABC Family) - This show gets better each week! Tonight, Michelle's pal visits to help her celebrate her birthday, but their festive plans get sidelined when Fanny takes off and leaves Michelle in charge of her dance classes.

Warehouse 13 (9pm, Syfy) - Following the destruction of Warehouse 13, the team races halfway around the globe in search of a dangerous artifact. This is the Season 4 premiere.

Alphas (10pm, Syfy) - Season 2 picks up eight months after last year's finale, with Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) having exposed the existence of Alphasto and finding himself descredited and imprisoned by a government desperate to cover up his revelation. Some of the team have disbanded and without Rosen's care and guidance, have regressed into old, destructive ways. A hostage situation forces them to reunite and try to save one of their own. Some of the guest stars on tap for this season include Sean Astin, C. Thomas Howell, Lauren Holly and Summer Glau. Check out the trailer for "Alphas" and a scene from tonight's premiere episode.

Teen Wolf (10pm, MTV) - Scott and Stiles attend Lydia's birthday party, while Derek locks his new wolves up on their first full moon together.

Perception (10pm, TNT) - Pierce and Moretti spring into action when a serial killer from 1986 returns and begins murdering again. Moretti receives advice about the case from her father, who investigated the original killing spree.

What to Watch on Monday: 'Bachelorette,' 'Batmobile,' 'Birders' and 'Bunheads'

The Batmobile (8pm, CW) - An exploration of the history and evolution of the Batmobile includes interviews with actors Christian Bale and Adam West, as well as directors Christopher Nolan, Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher.

Bachelorette: The Men Tell All (8pm, ABC) - Seventeen rejected bachelors talk about Charlotte's Emily Maynard and each other. Later, Emily will give her thoughts on the guys and look back at the season.

Birders: The Central Park Effect (9pm, HBO) - A chronicle of the avian population of New York City's 843-acre landmark park over the course of a y ear, and the humans who delight in documenting their habits and migration patterns. Includes comments from author Jonathan Franzen.

Eureka (9pm, Syfy) - Wormholes randomly materialize around Eureka as the Department of Defense is set to shut the town down in the series finale.

The Closer (9pm, TNT) - Provenza tries to help his ex-wife locate her wedding ring, but it all turns into a giant fumble that includes a robbery and an evidence-destroying canine.

Bunheads (9pm, ABC Family) - Michelle wants to help Fanny organize her finances after discovering how peculiar her bookkeeping method is.

Perception (10pm, TNT) - Pierce is enlisted to help crack the case of a murdered mail-order bride, and it's discovered that the prime suspect suffers from an unusual condition.

What to Watch on Monday: 'The Closer' and new 'Perception' on TNT

The Bachelorette (8pm, ABC) - Charlotte's Emily Maynard arrives in Curacao with Jef, Sean and Arie, and each man will have a chance at the overnight date in the fantasy suite. Later, two men get roses and the chance to meet Emily's family, including her daughter Ricki.

Hard Times: Lost on Long Island (9pm, HBO) - A documentary tracking four suburban New York families who have been affected by unemployment. Adrienne reviews.

The Closer (9pm, TNT) - The second half of the show's seventh and final season begins with Brenda tangling with her nemesis: lawyer and suspected rapist-murderer Phillip Stroh (Billy Burke, at right with Kyra Sedgwick). It's an unusual episode, particularly in format. The story is told in the context of a trial and Brenda's testimony on the stand.

Bunheads (9pm, ABC Family) - Michelle changes her living arrangements, giving her some space from Fanny, while Fanny tries to make sure the Joffrey Ballet summer program remains at her dance studio.

Eureka (9pm, Syfy) - The town's communications systems go haywire because the SmartDust control unit is broken. Next week's episode is the series finale.

American Pickers (9pm, History) -  An Indian motorcycle collection and a samurai artifact are among items discovered in North Carolina. Also, a trip to a former Harley-Davidson dealership.

Perception (10pm, TNT) - A new show in which an offbeat neuroscience professor suffering from paranoid schizophrenia works with the FBI to solve intricate cases. In tonight's first episode, the professor looks into the death of a pharmaceutical executive. Eric McCormack ("Will & Grace") stars. Adrienne reviews.

Opening Act (10pm, E!) - Oh yay, another singing show. In this one, singers are found on the internet and are chosen to be opening acts for top performers, but they get just five days to prepare for the concert. The first episode picks an opening act for Rod Stewart.

What to Watch on Monday: Two great marathons and Rudolph saves the New Year

Independence Bowl: UNC vs. Missouri (5pm, ESPN2) - Tar Heel post-season football live from Shreveport. It'll be coach Everett Withers' last hoorah in Carolina blue. Tune in!

Being Human (Noon, Syfy) - A marathon of the first season of Syfy's series about a vampire and a werewolf who try to live like humans, and move into a townhouse haunted by the ghost of the landlord's dead fiance. Highly recommended.

Awkward. (5pm, MTV) - A marathon of MTV's excellent sitcom about an ordinary teenager (Ashley Rickards) who is thrust into the spotlight at school after a simple accident leads everyone to believe she attempted suicide. The season follows her through battling with her subsequent "weird girl" image and the ups and downs of high school friendships and romance. It's very well done.

Rudolph's Shiny New Year (8pm, ABC) - Red Skelton narrates this tale about the shiny-nosed reindeer on a special mission for Santa. Frank Gorshin and Morey Amsterdam lend their voices.

The Closer (9pm, TNT) - The federal lawsuit against Brenda heats up in the wake of a murder. As Brenda's lawyer (Mark Pellegrino) goes to court for her, she turns to a businessman (Jason George) for help with the murder case.

Rizzoli & Isles (10pm, TNT) - In the Season 2 finale, Jane and Maura investigate a warehouse fire that took the life of a firefighter. A hit-and-run incident soon complicates the case. Billy Burke and Jacqueline Bissett guest star.

What to Watch on Monday: Soul divas and 'Terra Nova' finale

Terra Nova (8pm, Fox) - In the Season 1 finale, the 11th Pilgrimage reaches Terra Nova, and the Phoenix Group moves ahead with their plan with help from Lucas and Mira. But Taylor and Jim are united against the Phoenix Group. I'm sad to say that even my deep love for Jason O'Mara (right) couldn't keep me interested in his show for a whole season. Any chance ABC can bring back "Life on Mars"? No?

Who's Still Standing (8pm, NBC) - A new game show in which players battle in trivia matches for the ultimate jackpot of $1 million. A player who answers incorrectly is dropped through a trap door. Just because.

VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul (9pm, VH1) - A tribute to the top cities of soul music, including Detroit, Chicago, Memphis, London and Philadelphia. Performers include Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Anita Baker, and Mavis Staples.

The Closer (9pm, TNT) - The team investigates the hit-and-run murder of a girl on a bicycle, and the focus soon shifts to the police commissioner (Mark Moses) and his wife (Elizabeth Perkins).

Rizzoli & Isles (10pm, TNT) - Jane works the stabbing death of a star dancer's mother, while Korsak's stepson is accused of shooting a cop. Lolita Davidovich guest stars.

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