The TNT drama series Major Crimes returns tonight for the start of a second season (9:00 EDT). The show, which reprises characters from TNT’s hugely successful series The Closer, was last year’s top-rated new cable drama series, and it deserved its success. It presented good, solid mystery stories without excessive displays of angst and overhyped dramatics. Notably, it devoted just one plot-line to the central character’s private life, and in doing so it connected it appropriately to an ongoing criminal case.

Thus Major Crimes paid obeisance to the contemporary custom of spending a significant amount of time looking at the detectives’ personal lives and the inordinate amount of tragedies, disasters, betrayals, and secret vices therein, but without the usual excessive soap-opera stuff and forced wringing of emotions. The tragic personal life of the detective is a cliche of our times and unrealistic, and the producers of Major Crimes are to be credited with keeping this material to a reasonable level. Let’s hope they do the same this year.

Season 1, by the way is available for a very reasonable $1.99 per episode on, for those who missed it and would like to catch up. Recommended.

Following the Major Crimes season premiere is the series premiere of another detective drama, King & Maxwell. Reports indicate that this show will feature a sprinkling of comedy as it follows two former Secret Service agents who are now private detectives. The central characters are played by Jon Tenney (The Closer) and Rebecca Romijn (X-Men).

The promotional material defines Romin’s character as “a former elite athlete who uses her brains, beauty and Beltway connections to solve cases.” Tenney’s character, by contrast, has a troubled past: his “career in the Secret Service ended when the presidential candidate he was assigned to protect was assassinated, sending him on a downward spiral. Today, King has added a law degree to his arsenal of skills, allowing him to navigate the system in ways a typical private investigator never could.”

The descriptions suggest that she is a likable, salt-of-the-earth beauty and he’s a fallen snob. Obviously Romijn has the easier job here, but Tenney was quite personable in The Closer, so there is the possibility he’ll be able to make his character work.

Evidently this couple is to be another in the long line of Nick and Nora Charles descendants, as indicated in the TNT promotion page: “Along the way, King and Maxwell clash over everything, from her garbage-strewn car to his love of wine over beer.” I don’t usually don’t see much fun in watching people argue over trivial matters, but perhaps their clashes with two F BI agents who disapprove of the pair’s investigative methods will provide a respite from the domestic-style quarreling. One must certainly hope so.

The series is based on a series of bestselling novels by David Baldacci and was developed by Shane Brennan (NCIS: Los Angeles). It premieres tonight at 10 EDT.