TNT’s long-running cop series The Closer is coming to a close after Season 7, but the story of the LAPD will continue. The network announced a spin-off show, Major Crimes, starring Mary McDonnell, for a summer 2012 premiere.

The spin-off has been rumored for months, ever since producer and star Kyra Sedgwick announced the end of The Closer last December. Major Crimes will continue right where the original series leaves off, its 10-episode freshman season starting right after The Closer‘s series finale.

Battlestar Galactica and Scream 4 star Mary McDonnell will take the lead in Major Crimes. She’ll be reprising her role as Captain Sharon Raydor, whom she’s been playing since 2009. Raydor may be taking over the LAPD Major Crimes Division after Sedgewick’s character, Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson, is promoted or retires.

Major Crimes will be executive produced by The Closer creator and producer James Duff. Notably absent from the announcement was Sydgwick, who’s had a producer credit on the original series for four years. The Closer producers Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin will join Duff.

Mary McDonnell as Captain Raydor on 'The Closer'

News of The Closer‘s planned end was a surprise to many, as the series is still pulling in excellent ratings for TNT. A spin-off will allow the network to hold onto its longest-running IP and preserve the setting and characters that have been developing for the last six years. It may also be TNT’s bid to begin its own multi-entry police franchise, in the vein of CSI, Law & Order and NCIS.

In addition to Major Crimes, TNT announced a new series of mystery TV movies for a Tuesday night slot. The collection of films will be called The TNT Tuesday Night Mystery, and will include six initial adaptations. All six will be movie versions of popular crime novels: Innocent by Scott Turow, Silent Witness by Richard North Patterson, Ricochet by Sandra Brown, Hide by Lisa Gardner, Good Morning, Killer by April Smith and Deck The Halls by Mary and Carol Higgins Clark. The film series will begin in November of this year.

Major Crimes is currently scheduled for summer 2012 on TNT. The Closer begins its final season on July 11th.

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Source: TV Line