Mary McDonnell's 'Major' New Gig
Mary McDonnell's 'Major' New Gig
There are a handful of actors whose presence alone transforms a television show into a Can't Miss TV Event! Such was the case when Mary McDonnell joined The Closer in 2009 for a three-episode arc. The response to her character, Captain Sharon Raydor, was so strong (both behind the scenes and in the real world), that producers wisely extended her time on the show -- and then crafted a spin-off explicitly for Mary to carry.
But as the award-winning actress stressed to me this morning, a show is only as strong as its ensemble, and Mary counts her blessings to have once again landed among a myriad of heavenly co-stars on Major Crimes.
TheInsider.com: When you signed on for The Closer, did you ever envision the character headlining her own show?
Mary McDonnell: No. Honestly, that's the truth. I was brought on to The Closer for three episodes as a great thing to do – Kyra [Sedgwick] and I would get to really go at it, and James Duff, the creator of The Closer was a great fan of Battlestar Galactica and Laura Roslin. Then, immediately they said, we would love it to be more, this is working like gangbusters, so we just started going like that. I would say, at the beginning of season seven, the idea of Major Crimes started to emerge. It was an evolving idea. It didn't happen right in the beginning but we were able to plan for it for a while.
Insider.com: Did any part of you hesitate to commit to another hourlong drama?
Mary: Not at all, I love the hour drama format. I found doing BSG that it was extremely gratifying. Mind you, BSG was an extraordinary situation so part of you thinks about what you would need to do it again. Obviously, you need a great writer. Someone you want to collaborate with. Someone you truly want to share ideas with and push the envelope with. And you need a great ensemble because I honestly believe the strength of the ensemble is truly the most essential element of the hour drama format. If the ensemble itself isn't living, breathing and bringing new things all the time, it will never be the creative experience you hope for. This was the job where all the elements were there for me. It was a no-brainer once I got inside of it.
Insider.com: What are you excited for fans of The Closer and Major Crimes to see as the first season wears on?
Mary: The beauty of Major Crimes is it remains tied to and forever emotionally connected to its predecessor because it's an on-going story. That is a very rare and beautiful thing to get to be a part of. But Major Crimes takes us in a direction that has a different kind of immediacy to it. It's a different look at the justice system, a different feel for the procedural, and you have more experience with some of the other characters that you loved on The Closer – it's shifting into more of a true ensemble. That is very gratifying to the fans because you didn't have to change your mind about anything because we're not trying to do the same thing. Those beautiful, personal storylines continue through the first 10 [episodes] and revelations are made. These characters and their relationships get deeper and more complex as we go along. We're still solving crimes and getting the bad guys, but it's a much different way of going about it.