Welcome to Mary McDonnell Vault, your online resource dedicated to actress Mary McDonnell. You better know Mary for her role as Captain Sharon Raydor for the TNT crime series The Closer & Major Crimes. But she also did others like Battlestar Galactica, Independence Day, Donnie Darko, Dances with Wolves, Sneakers and many others. Site is comprehensive of a big photogallery with events, photoshoots, magazines, stills, a media archive dedicated to all fans fanarts on Mary, an extensive press library to collect all the articles and interviews on her and a video gallery section for recorded interviews, sneak peeks and trailers of her projects. We claim no rights to know her personally and it's absolutely respectful of her privacy and paparazzi-free!!!
Hi Reddit! Mary McDonnell here!
I have been many women in many different times. I’m currently Captain Sharon Raydor on Major Crimes, was the president of the universe on Battlestar Galactica, and a hard headed Stands With a Fist out on the prairie (to name a few).
With Season 4 of Major Crimes now in its second half, I’m here with show creator James Duff to answer your questions! So…. ask us anything!
Here I report the Reddit Chat Questions which were answered!
Why does Rusty seem so hesitant when it comes to Sharon and Andy’s relationship ? He seemed quite supportive of them last winter, and it’s obvious that Andy isn’t like the other guys his biological mother dated.
James: I would say that the pattern in which Rusty grew up included violence and abuse whenever another adult male was entered into his domestic situation. And the pattern creates issues. The pattern supersedes our intelligent observations because it’s not connected to the thinking part of the brain and he’s reacting to the pattern. He’s unconsciously unable not to react to the pattern. This is true in terms of his psychology. It’s an instinctive response, not a thoughtful one.
The truth is he does like Andy and he does want Sharon and Andy to be happy, but he has an instinctual issue that he can’t quite control.
Mary, You’ve been so kind and generous with fans lately and for that I want to thank you. What is your favorite part of interacting with us?
Mary: I think my favorite part of interacting with the fans is that I learn a lot about how our show is doing, but also I learn about what the fans are interested in and it’s kind of given me an insight that puts all the work into a different point of view.
Prior to these years, the last thing you ever did was communicate with fans. We were kept in a bubble.
I feel more interested in the relevance of the material that we are doing. You get instant feedback on it. I find it fun and stimulating.
Thank you, Ilona – we love you!
A question for both of you – Do you think Jack still loves Sharon? Or did his love for her die down many years ago and he’s just manipulated her all these years out of need to feed his addictions?
James: I think he loved Sharon very much, but didn’t know how to handle the responsibilities of a spouse and eventually his faults overwhelmed his virtues in the eyes of his wife.
Mary: My impression of their past is that these people fell very deeply in love. When Jack’s addictions became bigger than Jack, the love doesn’t die when you’re in love with someone who’s addicted, you just have to steer yourself out of dealing with it because you’re risking your life. You’re risking your soul.
James: And there couldn’t be so much anger if there wasn’t a lot of love.
Dear Mary and James, It seems like a lot of the stories you’ve both told are those of growing up and coming into one’s self. What advice do you have for young people- college age or so- who are still trying to figure that out?
James: The two things I would say, as a writer, who worked very hard for a very long time before I got to where I wanted to be is that persistence and discipline are the bulwark of any project and there is no substitute for pursuing your work with industry.
Mary: Lean into things that people tell you are too challenging. If you don’t play it safe, you’ll find a lot of joy.
James – With Rusty’s transfer to UCLA coming up. Could this be an opportunity to look at a possible move into a dorm for him? I love this character – and I would love to see what being on his own, with all that Sharon (and the others) have taught him would look like. Will we get to see how he takes those lessons and applies them as he steps into adulthood?
James: Sharon and Rusty are not going to stop living together. It’s very expensive to live in a dorm. I know because I paid for someone to live in a dorm at UCLA just last year. So, the benefits of living at home and going to college are too enormous to overlook.
However, you are going to see Rusty growing into adult relationships. And Sharon is going to be an ongoing part of his maturation process.
Mary: I love the compatibility of young adults with parental figures and there’s a whole new energy that could emerge in those years. You end up experiencing each other side by side instead of in a meshed independent way. I am looking forward to understanding Rusty as an adult from more of a distance than Sharon has been able to view him. They’re very compatible, Sharon and Rusty.
to Mary: What’s the most important lesson that you learned from Sharon Raydor?
Mary: She’s taught me an awful lot. But, she’s required me to kind of bump up against the part of Mary that gets explored through Sharon – she has a hard time letting go and sort of letting change occur. She’s taught me a lot about trusting forward movement and letting go of things that seem unsafe.
James: I think that’s exactly right because in her old job, Sharon has responsibilities that required her to order people around in a ‘I don’t care what you think about it way.’ Her new job is more of a listening role. She’s there to assemble the information and create a strategy.
Fortunately she developed a very thick skin.
Question for both of you: Can you tell us some more info about the five-parter without giving away too much? Totally excited about this 😀
James: A new crime involving heroin, other drugs, gangs, the lower response time to live fire incidents, and a missing Uzi link Major Crimes back to a series of murders from 12 years ago involving the death of a LAPD officer that was never solved. Rushing to make an arrest before a gang war can start, Sharon confronts the most complicated case of her career.
Finding out you have five more episodes before breaking, there was a mixture of cheers and tears in the writers room because we were all getting ready to take some time off!
Will we get to see one of Shandy’s dates?
James: You will see Shandy out together if we see another season. And you will also see Rusty out with someone too.
Hi Mary. Is there an adjustment on how you portray sharon raydor now that she is finally in a relationship with andy? 🙂
Mary: The adjustment is simply that she has had to expand the way she thinks about her response to daily life. In other words, before she opened her heart to Andy the job was the job. She has to sort of check herself to stay clear-minded about it. It is an adjustment, indeed. I don’t know that she is always aware of it, but I have noticed it.
Happy Guy Fawkes from London! My question is for both of you; what are your favourite art galleries and / or museums in the USA or around the world?
James: I love the Louvre, the Metropolitan in NY and the Getty in LA.
Mary: I love the Louvre, I love the Getty and I love the Museum of Natural History in New York.
James: I also love the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I love the Picasso museum in Paris.
Mary: The Rodin Museum in Paris.
James: AND the Cloisters in New York. AND Musée de Cluny in Paris.
Unfortunately neither Mary nor James have ever been to Florence :-(.
To James: Do you have some ritual to turn on your creative process of writting? How do you process all your ideas about the characters?
James: I can’t wait for my creative juices to start flowing. I write for a living. Inspiration is helpful, but I can’t afford to wait for it. For material I usually look for things I don’t like about myself, so I never run out of something to write about.
Hi both of you! Thanks for this. Will we see Emily and Ricky Raydor again this season?
James: Unfortunately, no because we don’t get all the way to Christmas this year on our Fall order. So we will look for them again next season.
Hi Mary! What is your favorite play that you have performed in?
Mary: I just absolutely adored an experience I had recently doing Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.
I think out of all the plays I have done… I was in a production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by David Chambers. There was a pool on stage and when the lovers were chasing each other through the forest, people were diving into the pool and disappearing. It was a highlight of my theatrical career!
Is there a legend that either of you would love to work with, that you haven’t had the chance to yet?
James: I have three names. Matt Damon, who I think is one of the most amazing actors working today. Eddie Redmayne, who is so perfect for so many different things. And Judi Dench. I would like to work with Judi just to meet her. There are so many people though!
Mary: I really want to work with Robert De Niro! I would love to work with his energy before I’m too old to do any of it :-).
Hi James – I was wondering if the experience you’ve had with the fans has changed between The Closer and Major Crimes, and in what ways?
James: The fans of Major Crimes are much closer to the show and much closer to us and much more involved in an immersive way than they were with The Closer. People have embraced the entirety of the show and that has made a huge difference in my own personal relationship with viewers. And Mary has such a centered view of where she stands inside all this that I feel like she offers the audience the kind of stability they wish they had in life. And that center I think has become a gravitational force for our show.
Mary: It’s really great going from the villain to the hero! People now like to see me :-).
Dear Mary and James, do you have any projects you would like to do when you aren’t filming Major Crimes?
James: Yes, I have a feature film adaptation of a play I would like to do. Not my own play, someone else’s play. We’re negotiating for the rights to do that right now!
Mary: I am in the process of developing a screenplay with two gentlemen I met through a wonderful film that I am beginning to help with at this point and hoping to produce.
Aside from Andy’s surgery, can you give us more insights on what will happen in the thanksgiving episode?
James: I think there’s a road rage incident that tests Sharon’s ability to see past the surface and understand the darker motives of the human heart. And consider all the things that could be said that are not said. And how that impacts her final scene with Andy in that episode.
Mary: Well you know it’s the tricky part for me is that I can never remember the episode until someone stimulates it like you’ve just done! I do remember that final scene and I do remember Sharon having that very human dilemma of not being able to complete something in the way she would like it to have been completed. It’s an imperfect world is what I remember feeling at the end of that episode.
James: The accident Flynn has thrusts Sharon and Andy into a closer proximity faster than they were prepared to be put there. And Sharon is trying to manage that by doing right by Andy and keeping the relationship on a steady pace and it’s a lot. To keep your heart and keep your distance at the same time is very complicated.
Mary: You read something that James wrote and I’ll often have the questions, “What is Sharon thinking? Should I call James and have him tell me?” James always knows if you ask him, but the more you trust the writing, the dramatization, it’s set up beautifully.
Often when the scene is over I go, “OH, that’s what this is about!”
Hi Mary! I just wanna say you are awesome! Thank you for doing this Q&A! My question is what is your everyday lippie/lipstick/lipbalm that you use? 🙂
Mary: Right now I’m using a very pale M.A.C. lipstick, and I’m rather fond of it.