Mary McDonnell on 'The Closer' spin-off: 'It would be foolish ... to try to recreate such an iconic character' -- EXCLUSIVE


Image Credit: Karen Neal/TNT

The Closer spin-off may have been referred to as the worst-kept secret in entertainment this morning at the TNT/TBS Upfront presentation, but the lack of surprise has done nothing to quell fans excitement about the official announcement of Major Crimes. In fact, the show’s star (and Closer’s Capt. Raydor) Mary McDonnell says fans have much to look forward to about the yet-to-be-written project. “It will be similar to The Closer in its gravitas, humor, and its tone. It’s the major crimes world, but exactly how the evolution occurs, we’re not sure,” she told EW exclusively backstage at the event. “I know it’s going to be looking at the concept of justice through a different lens.”

The show will kick off in summer 2012, the week immediately following the series finale of The Closer, she said, to make the transition “seamless.” But why didn’t the show simply continue with a new boss under the current moniker? “I think they rebranded it because after Kyra [Sedgwick] decided to leave — which I completely respect — [they knew] you can’t replace that iconic role. It would be foolish, in my opinion, to try to recreate such an iconic character. It would be like replacing Lucille Ball. I really believe she has that kind of connection to fans,” she explained.

On stage at the event, Sedgwick was moved to tears while talking about her show signing off. “It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye and think that in the not too distant future, the director will yell cut for the last time,” she said, adding that the finale chapters would leave fans “surprised, entertained, and satisfied.”

“The franchise is so exciting,” McDonnell said. “The rest of the guys [on the show] are so present but we don’t know a lot about them. So the idea of that department and me continuing and exploring some of them seemed to be the best way to continue this relationship with the fans.”

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Read more:
TBS and TNT unveil ‘Closer’ spin-off
Power outage at TNT-TBS presentation

Comments (60 total) Add your comment
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  • Bella

    I was hoping the spinoff would be Flynn and – darn it I can’t remember Bailey’s character’s name – anyway, I was hoping it would feature them. I’m not sold on Captain Raydor’s character, as I didn’t like her much. However, if the rest of the cast is back, I’ll give it a chance.

    • Babs


    • Pat

      I agree about Raydor, but even with the rest of the team I still won’t be watching, I disliked her too much for the others to compensate. I will be sorry not to see the rest of the cast again, I wish that they had chosen someone else.

    • dana

      Smart reaction! We should give it a chance! I definitely will!

  • joe


  • derek

    I guess with Kyra leaving, Fritz is gone to? I guess it depends on how they write her out. Fritz is my favorite on the entire show!

    • cregis

      Best looking man on tv. Raydor’s character has got to change or else she can’t be the main star and we must keep Provenza and Flynn, would also like Sanchez to stay. I think though Fritz will be transferred and Brenda will go with him reluctantly.

      • SueN

        He is the best looking man on TV. And a talented actor. I will hate to see him go.

    • Virginia

      I love Fritzy! I respect Kyra’s decision and wish her well. I don’t want to see Mary McDonnell as the lead. Her character can only be tolerated in small doses. I would love to see Provenza and Flynn, Gabriel, Tao, Sanchez, Buzz, the Commander and the Captain all stay. We never get enough of them. I loved finally seeing Tao’s family.

    • Ann in AZ

      I’m hoping Fritz will be becoming a daddy, and that’s why Brenda is no longer Deputy Chief. Raydor won me over when she convinced Brenda to get a lawyer and then to apply for the Chief job. She actually started sounding like a real human and showed concern for Brenda as a person that time that she almost got shot by a prisoner. Also, I think she understood how fearless Brenda was, and became an admirer of Brenda because of it.

  • anon

    Spinoff? No thanks. The way Mary McDonnell delivers her lines in kind of a cloying, laconic style is extremely annoying. Zero charisma. I couldn’t take an entire episode of her.

    • anon

      couldn’t have said it better!

  • Trina

    Love Captain Raydor! With her own show, maybe she’ll upgrade from her note pad to carrying around an Ipad. LOL!

  • DL

    I’m with Trina. I love me my Captain Raydor! I think she’s somewhat misunderstood because of her relationship with Brenda. Both of them are tough, no-nonsense women who are used to having to smack down anyone who challenges them in order to show they are strong enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all of the men in their profession. It’s not surprising that there’s been conflict between the two of them, but I think the writers will probably bring them together as we get closer to the transition. Raydor is just similar enough to Brenda to carry on The Closer tradition, yet different enough to bring something new and stand on her own two feet with her own show.

    • lkk

      I couldn’t have said it better!!!

    • rose

      DL was right, captain Raynor is great and she has her own way same as Brenda, She”s the right one for the part. love her.

  • Tulip

    Sedgwick leaving The Closer means the end of The Closer. Has there ever been anyone like her on TV? Well yes, Mary McDonnell in Battlestar Galactica. McDonnell is smart enough to know there is no replacing Sedgwick and a good enough actor to create something of her own. Sad to see Kyra go. Thrilled to know McDonnell will be on regularly. How lucky we TV fans are. Thanks TNT!

  • Marie

    It is so great to see some really good, really experienced actresses in TV roles that are appropriate for their ages. Sedgwick, McDonnell, Dana Delany, Connie Britton (among others) all play strong women in positions and professions that would require some age, some schooling, some experience. To see actresses like these, in their 40’s and 50’s, playing these roles instead of the show trying to shove some 24 year old into a role completely unsuited to them is just nice to see.

  • Cheery

    Stands with a Fist!

    • Laurie

      My first thought.

  • Nancy Dunn

    I love all the characters except Raydor. Mary needs to ditch the monotone and slow way of speaking. I even prefer Commander Taylor to her!

  • Jay

    Way to go, Marie! Agreed. ( Nice to see Joanna Cassidy getting a good gig too. But as Dana Delany’s mother?! They have an 11 year age difference! )

  • ks

    I’ll give it a shot, I like Mary McDonnell

  • Lynn

    Noooooooooo! Definately my least favorite character on The Closer! What were they thinking?

  • dana

    What do we know about Sharon Raydor? Not much! So how can she be the least favorite character of someone?
    I understand if fans of Brenda/K. Sedwick are sad and disappointed that she won`t be there anymore, but she is not leaving because of M. McDonnell …so why have some people to get so ugly in their comments???
    I always like the show and I adore the work of M. McDonnell. If the writing is good than I have no doubt that the new show will get very enjoyable.

  • res

    I only started watching the show because of Mary McDonnell. Thanks TNT!

    • Kathy Egbert

      The tension between Raynor and Brenda was beautifully done…gave the show a whole new level or human dynamics. I love both characters and hate to see Closer end. Brenda needs to be in control and fights to keep Raynor out of her world, not realizing Raynor is trying to help her.

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