The Closer's Dark Twist: Mary McDonnell Dishes on What's Next and Brenda/Raydor Bonding

TNT’s The Closer (Mondays at 9/8c) closed its seventh season opener with a jaw-dropper, capping an already intense hour by having Chief Delk (played by Courtney B. Vance) suddenly gasp, twitch and collapse to the squad room floor. While devastating in its own right, the downed officer also came on the heels of an announced LAPD reorg which promised to send Pope packing and put Taylor again in charge of Brenda’s division.

So, is said overhauled hierarchy now up in the air? “It’s safe to say it’s gone kablooey,” Mary McDonnell, who just last week netted an Emmy nomination for playing wave-maker Capt. Sharon Raydor, confirms for TVLine.

Raydor, though, is not one to be left flustered by this most unexpected wrinkle in the LAPD shuffle. “No,” McDonnell reports, “she can snap to any situation.”

Closure for The Closer: Will Brenda’s Boys Have a Home on the Spin-Off?

With her right-hand man, Delk, out of the mix, Raydor will remain as squarely as ever in Brenda’s grill, especially as Internal Affairs expands its investigation into a pattern of behavior which earned the Deputy Chief and the LAPD as a whole a major lawsuit.

McDonnell, though, does not see Raydor as Brenda’s adversary – not by a stretch.

“Here’s the thing about Raydor that’s emerging and is so amazing: When she talks about her commit to the LAPD, she means it,” professes the actress. “She is perceived from the inside as the enemy, because she’s Internal Affairs and they’re always the people we don’t like. But she also has a strong, protective passion for the LAPD, and the more she gets to know Brenda, she [realizes] she does not want to see anything bad happen to her. She’s the best detective we’ve got!”

The curious dichotomy that Raydor represents – ball-busting, yet one wanting to have your back, if merited – delights McDonnell, who looks forward to seeing her character’s layers further peeled away as The Closer‘s final, 20-episode season unspools. (A spin-off titled Major Crimes and revolving around Raydor will premiere sometime thereafter, in summer/fall 2012.)

“Right from the very get-go, when I started to interact with [series crator] James Duff and I realized the way his minds works and the openness and ‘daring’ that he had with Raydor, I knew the potential for her to be quite special was there,” McDonnell shares. “But I think that it was probably at the beginning of last year, when they did the arc of five [episodes], where they started to give her such an interesting way of communicating ideas. When I realized that she would go out on a limb as a woman in power, that’s when I went, ‘This is a blast!’ She could be truly, truly interesting, and flawed, and wonderful.”

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20 Comments
  1. xav says:

    I miss Mary McDonnell’s old face.

  2. Bruno says:

    What “seventh season finale”? The season just premiered!

  3. nitemar says:

    Matt: Yes, the new season just started when Chief Delk collapsed last week. There should be more unpacking to do this time, I guess.. :)

  4. Katie says:

    Though I like the current show and characters, I will not watch the spinoff. There’s something very annoying about Raydor/McDonnell that does not justify a whole separate show.

    • A. Hicks says:

      I think both women are wonderful — 2 of my favorite actors — and I will definitely watch any and all spinoffs of The Closer. :-D

  5. detectiveshowaddict says:

    I am totally surprised Delk was killed off. I agree. I will probably not watch the spin-off. I don’t see McDonnell carrying an entire show. Her character was not that important/strong in the first place. Although I loved her in Dancing with Wolves….Tatonka!

  6. Linda says:

    I just don’t understand why it’s called “Series Premier”, when it should have been called “Series Finale”. That way most of us would be prepared to have a good bye party for the gang…good thing I have a dvr where I can save the shows, until I can ask each of my five daughters for each series,,,as a gift for Christmas, Mother’s Day and Birthday oh yeah and Grandparents day!

    Just so sad…but I know Kyra wants to spend time with Kevin in their empty nest…

    That’s my story and I am sticking to it!!

  7. SJwashere says:

    I only watch the show for Mary, she is an amazing actress I just wish the writing on this show was as good as Battlestar Galactica. I like her interaction with Brenda, hopefully Brenda will wake up and realize that Pope is the bad guy.

  8. HollywoodHud says:

    The Closer is a great show! The actors are all wonderful!
    Mary McDonnell is a quirky and very capable actor who most definitely can carry an entire drama on television. I’ll be watching!

  9. The King (not the Pope) says:

    Agree with most. Love The Closer, but not sure I’ll love the spinoff. I love the group of detectives at Major Crimes – hope they keep at least some around. Flynn & Provenza totally rock together. Can’t wait to see how it ends…

  10. Judy Linebaugh Mathenia says:

    I think that the Closer is a great show with a great cast…Excited about Major Crimes with such good writers &producers it will be great if they keep the same ensemble…Lets give them a chance…

  11. Janice Slay says:

    I love the Closer and will watch the spin-off. I think that Mary McDonnell’s character will develop and be great. She is dedicated to the LAPD and a “by the books” person, but also sees the good in Brenda. I will watcgh “Major Crimes” when it premiers. If I can’t have the Closer, I’ll take Major Crimes! I love this cast!

    • Maddy says:

      Well said!! I never understood why she is amde out to be ‘the villain’, for following the rules; she really isn’t that unreasonable. If you don’t obide by the law, the case will never hold up in court. Without people like her, the LAPD would be a hot mess.

  12. michele says:

    I’ll be watching until THE CLOSER breaths it’s last breath. Then I will tune into the spinoff because Mary rocks. I really enjoy all of the characters she’s played.

  13. Maddy says:

    Mary McDonnell is the only reason I ever started watching The Closer, so I will definitely be watching the spin-off. She’s an incredibly talented actress and once she gets her own show, better scripts (pleassssse!) and more time on screen to prove just how talented she is, I’m sure Major Crimes will be succesful.

  14. john smyth says:

    Although I will miss a lot of that sassy insolance that Brenda brought to the series, I will continue watching the “Major Crimes” spinoff. If most of the squad is kept in tact, I believe James Duff can continue writing inspired scripts to keep all of us “Closer” die-hards satisfied. Of course, it will be different without Fritz and Brenda, and possibly the loss of Chief Pope(?), but if the MCS continues on with Capt. Raydor, it will be interesting to see the direction that Duff takes.

  15. Joan Ewings says:

    i just wonder why they killed off lieutenant delk. i like all of
    the old characters on the show. i love the show with kyra and
    her cronies…they are funny. one of these days the truth about
    why they killed delk will come to light. i have my own suspicions.
    things change but not always for the better. i don’t like raydor’s
    character.