Major Crimes Sharon Dies

Major Crimes Recap: Mary McDonnell's 'Extraordinary' Arc Reaches Its End

Leading into Major Crimes‘ sixth and final season, series creator James Duff told TVLine, “I gave Mary [McDonnell] something extraordinary to play, because she wanted to do something special. She has been one of my partners throughout this process, so we decided on something interesting and different for her to play.”

Well, it doesn’t get much more “different” than the antepenultimate scene of the Dec. 19 episode, in which Commander Sharon Raydor — at the tail end of what was to be her final day at the office before taking an extended medical leave — suffered a coronary event that would prove fatal, as disclosed in the final moments by her doctor to family and friends. Collapsing in the midst of successfully extracting a confession from a serial killer, she would die doing what she loved. And with four episodes left to go in the TNT drama’s farewell season.

Building up to the shocking sendoff, Raydor mulled her treatment options after being felled by her heart condition in the first of this week’s two episodes. She could wait out a transplant, or get an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) implanted. Sharon thought the latter was just putting off the inevitable, while the former she viewed as being “competitive,” theoretically (though very probably not really) taking from a younger would-be recipient the heart they both need.

Foreseeing her fate, Raydor asked her priest to administer last rites while she was still up and active, so that could can die very much as she lived — as a Catholic. She also secured a camera from Buzz with which she apparently recorded in private a pair of videos. One for Andy, one for Rusty?

As an added kicker, amidst the greater drama above: longtime The Closer/Major Crimes franchise Phillip Stroh (played by Billy Burke) stealthily resurfaced toward episode’s end. Revealed as a customer at the restaurant where Gus works, he seemingly was deftly pumping Rusty’s beau for info as news of Raydor’s heart attack broke.

Visit our sister site Variety for a Q&A with series vet McDonnell, who details the “difficult” filming of Raydor’s collapse and how this tragic end for the character came to be.

What dd you think of McDonnell’s final episode?