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.