Mary McDonnell Previews Major Crimes' Mother of a Clash: 'Enough Is Enough!'

Major Crimes Season 3 Summer Finale Preview

This Monday at 9/8c, TNT’s Major Crimes serves up a finale so dense with drama, it just might give you a heart attack. (Sorry, Fritz.Too soon?) For as the MCD’s investigation into the disappearances of a string of young girls leads to a turf battle with the S.O.B., Rusty’s mom pops back up like a bad penny, still struggling with the law and her sobriety.

TVLine invited Mary McDonnell, who during Season 5 of The Closer first portrayed Sharon Raydor, to reflect on the spin-off’s successful run, preview a mother of a showdown and ponder a meeting between Raydor and Battlestar‘s Laura Roslin.

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TVLINE | So here we are, two-and-a-half seasons in, and with a fourth season already ordered… How has Major Crimes thus far measured up to your original expectations?
My expectations were that it would have consistently diverse writing, and that it would not be your typical procedural — do you know what I’m saying? And that it would have enough fabric in the relationships, and enough connection to the crime, that A) you didn’t feel like you were doing the same thing every week, but B) you didn’t feel like they were completely disconnected. And in that sense, it completely met my hope, I would say, more than my expectations.

What has surpassed my expectations — and it wasn’t that I didn’t expect it, just that I never really thought about it – is the way that the ensemble has developed as a group. We’re so good together now. So, you really do come to work looking forward to whomever is in that scene. At the very beginning, we used to kind of slog through those big murder-room scenes, because that’s a lot of people and a lot of exposition at times, but you must serve the audience. And now we look forward to them, because we found our rhythm as a group. That’s been wonderful.

TVLINE | Yes, I remarked to [series creator] James Duff at the beginning of the season that after The Closer‘s seven seasons, you’d think we’d seen everything we needed to know about Flynn and Provenza, but over the past two years, we’ve gotten all these fun new colors to those guys.
Completely. Completely. And I might add about their performances, all of them that started off in the beginning of The Closer, is that there’s nothing tired about what they’re doing. They keep coming in with a kind of enthusiasm. It’s a highly unusual work situation in Hollywood to have a story go on this long, and have the actors and the crew continue to want to work there.
Major Crimes Season 3 Finale PreviewTVLINE | I was thinking we’ve probably got, like, a 60/40 split with Sharon’s storyline, as far as workplace versus family. Do you think the show’s reached the right balance?
I don’t know. I don’t see it “percentage-wise.” I do know that I feel the same way you were commenting, on how we’re finding out more and more about Flynn and Provenza. And I do feel like Sharon, especially in the last couple of episodes, is less cold of a human being than she used to be. In other words, I see Sharon handle things in her personal life as well and as efficiently as she would in her work life. I’m starting to see integration, and I don’t see them as a split.

TVLINE | Do you ever wish she was more hands-on with the crime solving, out in the field and waving her gun around a little more?
I don’t know about the “waving” a gun — I think that would be very dangerous! [Laughs] — but I do like it when she’s hands-on. I do like it when she takes control out there. I do think that that’s probably going to happen a little bit more as we continue.

TVLINE | We wouldn’t have gotten her reaction shot when Provenza popped that guy in the head from 30 feet away….
That’s right. We wouldn’t have gotten that, and we never would have seen Sharon use the beanbag gun that she used in The Closer — which is still one of my favorite moments.

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TVLINE | What can you teaseMajor Crimes Season 3 Finale Preview about Monday’s midseason finale? Does Rusty’s mother (played by Ever Carradine) have any tricks up her sleeve?
That is a big deal what goes on there, that’s all I can say. And Sharon is deeply involved.

TVLINE | How would you sum up Sharon Raydor’s current read on Sharon Beck?
“Enough is enough.” It’s that simple. I think that Sharon has tried very, very hard to both help this young man and guide him through this maze and not be too intrusive and also allow the potential for, you know, whatever [relationship] with his mother, because the hope would be that there would be a rehab situation and eventually some kind of healing. That’s what you’d want for anyone. But things are not going that way. Sharon Raydor has a bottom line, and that bottom line is reached in the finale. She’s not short-tempered, but when she gets pushed past her bottom line, she takes action very thoroughly. It was a lot of fun for me to see that come out there.

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TVLINE | Do you think Sharon Raydor and Battlestar Galactica’s Laura Roslin would hold each other in high regard if they met?
Yes, I do. I don’t necessarily think they’d “recognize” each other, because just as women they’re very different, but if they knew of each other in a leadership capacity, yes, I think they would.

TVLINE | They’re both impressive women of substance, but in distinct ways.
What I like is like that you get to play these parts, you can find out what’s different, you can find out what’s collective, the same, and what I’m finding is there’s a common thread in these roles…I’ve played a couple of them now, where women of my generation are in positions of power. They all have different backgrounds, they all got there differently, and they all have sort of different emotional temperaments, but there have been systematic, collective choices made along the way in order to survive the male paradigm, and that creates a similar response to crisis. I’ve done a lot of research on this, and I see it over and over again. So I love that part of Sharon Raydor and Laura Roslin’s conjunction. I love that.

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  1. mspenn1013 says:

    She just referenced one of my all time favorite ‘The Closer’ moments-the bean bag gun. I must have rewatched that scene 5 times before watching the rest of the episode.

    This season has been so strong and well written. I really hope someone smacks the crap out of Rusty’s bio mom.

  2. ilona says:

    Oh this interview is everything! Thank you so much Matt! Great question and she always gives interesting insides. Sharon Raydor and Laura Roslin are very well written and perforemed characters!
    Shame there is no question about Shandy :P but I’m really ok even if there were any!

    Enough-Is-Enough will be a pay back for Ever-So-Lonely-Heart from last week!

    thank you again!

  3. Angel Burns says:

    LOVE, LOVE THE LOVELY MARY MCDONNELL!!! Any interviews/articles with/about HER…I’M THERE!!!

  4. Pat says:

    Thank you,for this interview of Mary McDonnell. I am an avid fan of this show and I really love her character,Sharon. I do hope that the season finale, resolves Rusty staying with Sharon and his mother gets the boot once and for all.

  5. ChicagoDan says:

    Raydor was kind of a pain/cold on The Closer and I was skeptical how this would work as the lead. However, MC did a great job in opening up the strengths and humanity of Sharon, especially with the addition of Rusty. The fact that they have done such a great job, particularly in S3 of highlighting the whole ensemble and not just focusing on Raydor has been great. Unlike R&I, the actual crimes and stories surrounding them are interesting.

  6. kblack56 says:

    Every time she does an interview, I feel like I learn a bit more about how a woman should grasp this stage of life and do something worthwhile with it. Sharon has had more single-minded drive and Laura had more of being forged through tragic events, but both characters would have no problem recognizing the power in the other. Two very different characterizations by one extremely accomplished actor and amazing, insightful woman.

  7. amicam says:

    Sounds like things are going DOWN in that finale and I can’t wait. Thanks for the extra scoop!!

  8. Kevin says:

    I was not sure I could go on watching after Kyra left and the showed morphed into MC. But tuned in because I loved the ensemble (still do!). But I should not have worried; Mary’s style is different but that is as it should be and have grown to really like her character. Same with Graham Partick Martin–wasn’t thrilled with his character the first few episodes but he really grew on me. I am only sad that Monday means the end of new episodes till …what? December?

  9. DL says:

    She’s so phenomenal, and spoke so intelligently in this interview.
    I loved The Closer and Kyra Sedgwick, and I always saw Major Crimes as scratching that itch in The Closer’s absence. But over time, I think I’ve actually come to love MC and the Raydor character even more than Chief Johnson. Unbelievable how she was able to come in and accept the baton pass with such panache. So sad the midseason finale is already here. Can’t wait for the rest!

  10. Babi says:

    GREAT interview, thank you. Mary is just THE BEST, I love her, big big fan… and Major Crimes is the best show ever!!!

  11. epluribusunum21 says:

    Love this!!! Mary is phenomenal.

    Love the Roslin/Raydor questions! Icing on the cake. I adore both characters and enjoyed hearing her thoughts about them.

  12. Bebe says:

    Happy this interviewed addressed something that I’ve thought was lacking in MC…Sharon at the crime scene! Brenda was always involved at the crime scene at the beginning of each ep of The Closer…Sharon’s always back at the office!

    Loving MC, but the writers should give McDonnell a powerhouse episode with her at the focus like they did for Brenda (ie. Maternal Instincts from Season 5 of The Closer, Cherry Bomb in Season 4).

  13. sally says:

    SOOOOO tired of the Rusty storyline. There’s nothing there except when his mother comes back and that is way past expiration date! Let’s hope he moves on the college soon – out of state!

  14. arial2 says:

    Hope the finale lives up to the rest of the season, not that I’m worried. Great writers, actors. I, too, love the Roslin/Raydor “conjunction.” Two very strong, smart leaders.

  15. TD says:

    There’s an upside to Sharon not being at the crime scenes–Provenza is in charge! I’ve loved how this has given the character more screen time and room to develop.

  16. S says:

    Wonderful interview, thank u so much! I’m so looking forward to the summer finale, but I’m not looking forward to the hiatus AT ALL!

  17. jm says:

    Love her so much. She is so different from Brenda´s character, but both are so great…
    Let´s not forget that this is a emmy nominated character… i wish they will nominated her again.

    Some days before, there were asking about names for Dr. Morales. If the want to find some “epic” names from him, they could go with the list of Spanish Kings during Low Middle Ages… we have people like Ataulfo, Sigerico, Turismundo, Amalarico,Leovigildo, Gesaleico, Witerico, Recesvinto, Wamba, but my favourite is Chindasvinto as funny,(i do like Rodrigo tough)

  18. Whatevah says:

    I love this show.

  19. Mary McDonnell is just plain amazing, love everything she does, great article!

  20. preopticarea says:

    Reblogged this on Preoptic Area and commented:
    As always a wonderful meaningful interview, where Mary explain in a lot of depth her work as an actress and her thoughts on women empowerment through her acting.

  21. Laura C says:

    Love this show as much as The Closer. Yes, I liked and miss Brenda/Kyra, but Sharon has taken the helm quite nicely. It helped that TC softened her character a bit the last season– gave viewers hope that Sharon had more sides to her than the hard one portrayed. As a “mom” to Rusty, she tries to balance that with work. I LOVE that they’ve had Fritz on but am
    afraid they are going to kill off his character with his being in a medical crisis. I will really miss him, wish his short-lived show,King & Maxwell would have made it longer. I love Flynn & Provenza and the rest of the cast–great show, hope it’s renewed for next season.

  22. Ruby says:

    I like this show, EXCEPT for McDonnell. Her face is frozen in one expression and her voice is monotone and mumbling, like watching paint dry.

  23. Susie Glover says:

    This has become my favorite television show of all time. All of the characters have their own unique personality. Do get a little tired of Rusty and his whining… Kinda hope Fritz stays, but will follow him as well. I really liked Closer, but this is better use of all the talent on the show. Can’t wait for next season!