Mary McDonnell talks <strong><em>Major Crimes</em></strong> Season 2

Mary McDonnell talks Major Crimes Season 2, which debuts Monday, June 10 at 9 PM ET on TNT

TNT's hit series The Closer aired its final episode last year after seven hit seasons, but a majority of the cast reprised their roles for the spin-off Major Crimes. Mary McDonnell joined the cast of the final season, to set up this new series as Captain Sharon Rayder, who has a much different approach to her department than Kyra Sedgwick's Brenda Johnson. This season, Captain Raydor has a new district attorney to contend with in Emma Rios (Nadine Velazquez), who doesn't approve of Raydor taking in Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin), the homeless teen who is a key witness in an ongoing case. I recently had the chance to speak with Mary McDonnell about Season 2, which premieres Monday, June 10 at 9 PM ET with "Final Cut". Here's what she had to say.

I saw the premiere and it was an interesting take on a Hollywood story.

Mary McDonnell: Yes, the Hollywood drama, right? (Laughs) It was very funny, actually.

I was curious how much further we get into Sharon's relationship with Rusty and how that evolves? The premiere sets up an interesting dynamic for the rest of the season, with him about to testify, and I know you have a longer order. How much does that play out throughout the rest of the season?

Mary McDonnell: Well, I'm not really sure about the logistics of how the case will play out, but the case is a very big part of our season. We're sort of figuring out a way to maintain the lifestyle and the safety of this child, until that trial can take place. It's part of the dilemma for Sharon Rayder, the cop archetype and the mother archetype, and where they cross. It's a very big part, it's a central issue in our season.

It's nice to see you have someone else to tangle with this year with Nadine Velazquez coming board as Emma.

Mary McDonnell: Yes, it's marvelous, and she's marvelous. It's really fun for Sharon because, on the one hand, this is the exact type of young woman that Sharon would promote and support, because she's bright and talented and Sharon is very supportive of women in the L.A.P.D. All of that is great, and this particular woman presents of a few issues, stylistically, and then there's the Rusty component of how she may or may not deal with that. It becomes very complicated, very quickly, and I love that.

Do you see Emma will maybe keep Raydor in check at all? You see that she respects her, but does Raydor start to see validity in her points, especially in terms of Rusty?

Mary McDonnell: I think that Emma, right from the get-go, presents Sharon with a dilemma, because her points are well-made, and they need to be observed by Sharon. Sharon has to figure out her choice between right and right. Both of those points are right for this child, so, how does Sharon work her way through that, and then she looks at how the rest of the division relates to this character in the upcoming situations that they'll be in. All of that complexity is in Season 2.

There was also a great part about Provenza (G.W. Bailey) potentially hanging it up. He seems to be in a very different place this season. Is there anything you can tease about Provenza in these next few episodes?

Mary McDonnell: All I can say to you is that, from Sharon Rayder's point of view this season, he's such an excellent cop, and finding a way to rekindle his passion towards what he does, or finding a way to preserve his position, it all seems to me to be part of the fabric of the relationship between the two of them, is a deepening respect. I found that wonderful. I think, in our culture right now, we need to see more stories about the elders of our civilization, and how they're actually doing fantastic jobs. That's part of what I've been loving about what's happening so far, in Season 2, watching this man, who had this level of cynicism that would indicate that he can't keep going with this, that he can't not keep going. It's a beautiful thing to witness.

Are there any pivotal guest stars this season, that you're really excited for fans to see?

Mary McDonnell: I'm really excited for fans to see Sharon Rayder's husband, as played by Tom Berenger. It's very exciting. This is a completely unorthodox marriage. They have been separated for decades, but they won't divorce, so let's figure that one out.

That's kind of like the opposite of Kurt (Russell) and Goldie (Hawn) then.

Mary McDonnell: Yes, perhaps, but maybe for the same reason. I don't really know that much about Kurt and Goldie, but here's a couple that separated awhile ago but didn't get divorced, and he comes back into the story. We're learning so much about Sharon Rayder, in a very unorthodox manner, on one hand, and on the other hand, we're learning about a love gone awry. We're learning about many things, and there are many things to look forward to.

Great. That's my time. Thank you so much, Mary. It was great talking to you.

Mary McDonnell: Thank you so much, Brian.

You can watch Mary McDonnell as Sharon Rayder in Season 2 of Major Crimes, debuting Monday, June 10 at 9 PM ET with "Final Cut" on TNT.

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