She’s the cool head of ‘Major Crimes’
June 11, 2013
Article taken from philly.com
“ONE OF the nice things about me,” Los Angeles Police Capt. Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) tells a new assistant D.A. in tonight’s season premiere of TNT’s “Major Crimes,” “is that when I’m really unhappy about something, people never have to ask.”
The line’s delivered in the beautifully modulated but very specific tone I’ve come to think of as Raydor’s mom voice.
And it’s as much a part of McDonnell’s character as the Southern accent that Kyra Sedgwick adopted was to Raydor’s predecessor, Brenda Leigh Johnson, in “The Closer.”
That voice probably didn’t show up there by accident.
“I think part of it is the character and part of it is James [Duff, who created both shows] responding to having witnessed it in me,” said McDonnell, laughing, when I asked about it in a recent phone interview.
“I remember one time, very early on, we were having a discussion, about the character, about the writing,” she said, emphasizing “discussion” in exactly the way, I point out to her, that I’m talking about when I say “mom voice.”
“That’s exactly right. That’s my point. There is an element – and moms do use it a lot. A mother archetype has a way of expressing itself sometimes and it’s undeniable in any room. And I think that’s part of what James is fascinated by and interested in, and what I understand both as a woman and as an actress and as a mother – and in some other characters I’ve been asked to play,” said McDonnell, who has a daughter and a son with actor husband Randle Mell.
“I think I can almost tell you what the Hillary Clinton sound might be, you know what I mean? You can go around and look at women in the world who are mothers and in power positions in any corporation and you can probably, after talking to them for a day or two, know what that tone of voice would sound like when they decided that moment is at hand,” she said. “It’s really cool, because I think men really hear it.”
Good thing, too, since men continue to dominate the ensemble on “Major Crimes” (though Nadine Velazquez joins the cast this season as that new assistant D.A., Emma Rios).
A year out from the transition from “The Closer” to “Major Crimes,” it’s easier to see the differences between the shows, even if many of the faces are the same.
Brenda was all about the confessions, but her successor seems interested in those only as part of the overall art of the deal.
“I think ‘The Closer’ morphing into ‘Major Crimes’ is a kind of contemporary look at the economic political system that any particular justice system is run by, according to their state,” McDonnell said. “And right now, in California, the truth is, the state is not in a good place, economically, and we kind of can’t afford justice.
“So the idea of getting a conviction, the idea of Death Row, the death penalty, the idea of the cost of getting the conviction – it’s so overwhelming to the justice system and the economics of this state right now that California . . . [is] having to rethink the way we go about creating justice,” she said. “And that’s part of what I absolutely adore about ‘Major Crimes,’ is its relevancy to the time that it is living in. That is exactly where we are. So, in that sense, the change is a product of the truth of our times, from one show to the next.”
‘King & Maxwell’
When something works on TNT, chances are we’ll see it again.
Take the ampersands. Please.
Tonight, “King & Maxwell” joins “Franklin & Bash” and “Rizzoli & Isles” on a cable network lineup that’s beginning to read like the lobby listings in a building full of law firms.
Like “Rizzoli & Isles,” loosely based on the best-selling thrillers by Tess Gerritsen, “King & Maxwell” features characters from another best-selling writer, David Baldacci.
Jon Tenney (“The Closer”) and Rebecca Romijn (“Ugly Betty”) star as Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, private investigators who used to be Secret Service agents before each committed a career-ending error. (In Hollywood, slightly tainted Secret Service agents are the stuff of which action heroes are made – and, no, they never leave the service over scandals involving hookers in Colombia.)
When I say that “King & Maxwell” opens with a car chase in which a guy in a beaver suit is driving a bus with Romijn’s character in hot pursuit, you’ll probably guess that this isn’t the hardest-edged of procedurals.
But Tenney and Romijn make fun partners, and the pilot by executive producer Shane Brennan (“NCIS”) follows an intriguing course that might have seemed far-fetched only a week ago, before we learned that truth might be stranger than “Person of Interest.”