With the Season 2 finale of “Major Crimes” on Monday (Jan. 13), it seems as though the series has finally settled the Phillip Stroh case that has remained so central to the “Closer” spin-off.
With Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) finally getting his day in court as key witness in the case against Stroh (Billy Burke, who didn’t appear in the episode), the former teen hustler faced down a lot more than just his former attacker. Not only was his attempted killer — the lunatic Wade Weller — still in the wind after last week’s cliffhanger, but there’s been the subtle implications over his sexuality that have shaded the series since its inception.
Everything got wrapped up rather neatly, however much Stroh’s attorney Linda Rothman (a devious Jeri Ryan) fought otherwise. In the end, Rusty got one over on the cagey lawyer and got the menacing letters admitted as evidence, which all but hammered the final nail in Stroh’s coffin.
On top of that, the squad narrowed in on the creepy Wade Weller (who had a tragic backstory not dissimilar to Rusty’s, but still — creepy) and cornered him on an L.A. street with a rather ingenious plan involving a traffic jam, an Amber Alert and one expert shot from Lt. Provenza.
With all the dangers facing him squared away, Rusty’s security detail ended and he was finally allowed to return home to Sharon (Mary McDonnell). Only, Rusty wasn’t so sure he could go back.
“Thank you for everything that you’ve done for me, but I don’t think I should live with you anymore,” he told Sharon, fighting back tears. “I don’t think you’ll want me there.”
After she implored why, he broke down: “I’m just like [Weller.] I’m exactly like him …And all those guys that picked me up on the street. And I can’t fix it.” Though he didn’t say the exact word, this moment was the one we’d been waiting for: Rusty has admitted he’s gay.
As Sharon looked at the kid who she’s come to think of as her own child, she drew him in to a tight hug and reassured him, “Rusty, what you are is who I love. And all of you is coming home.”
And with that, all is settled in the story of Rusty Beck. With the Stroh case at its end, how Rusty will work into the day to day of the Major Crimes Division is a question mark. That said, there’s a world of opportunity opened by his final admission to Sharon. The show’s handled his coming out with a touching grace, and this summer’s Season 3 likely won’t be an exception.
Were you surprised by Rusty’s admission? Are you relieved he’s finally safe? Sound off in the comments below.