If you were shocked by the ending of last night’s 2nd episode of Major Crimes, then you had plenty of company – I included. I was so clueless I didn’t even know that this was to be the successful police procedural’s final season.
Call me crazy but I didn’t see it coming, until last night’s episode. I assumed (wrongly) that Sharon’s health condition was merely a complication that she would either beat in the end or force her into retirement. Color me surprised and very sad and a little bit mad.
In this article from Variety actress Mary McDonnell shares insights into the decision to kill her character in the show, as well as the shock of realizing the show would not be optioned for a 7th season. I found her to be very gracious about having her character killed off and perhaps a little too understanding.
My hat is off to the producers/writers for taking what was essentially a very unlikable character (Raydor) and turning her into not just relatable and likable but a real hero. A character who didn’t have to pretend to be a man, or tote a gun, or wear hip boots to prove how tough and resourceful she was. McDonnell portrayed her character as a real woman working in a largely male world, and who though tough as nails when needed, never lost touch with her softer intuitive side. And in fact, used that to get to the truth of the matter countless times. Somebody needs to give this woman an Emmy or some other award because I can’t imagine anyone having it done it better. And though I was a huge fan of The Closer and Kyra Sedgewick, McDonnell stole my heart where female heroes are concerned.
Even now when I think of those final scenes in last night’s episode I feel sad and the urge to cry. Not just for the character but for the show itself. TNT, what is the matter with you? You end a highly rated show, yet keep on mindless crap that nobody wants to watch? (I digress, this is fodder for another post though.)
But now here’s the gripe I have – I understand that the writer wanted to end the show on his own terms – and kudos to him for doing that. However, by and large viewers don’t want you to kill off their heroes. They just don’t. You can mortally injure them, you can give them terrible challenges and losses, you can even expose their dark underbellies but KILLING them is really not what we want. We haven’t tuned in for multiple seasons to have the final season killing someone who has become a near and dear friend to us. It doesn’t give us closure that she took care of business before she died. It doesn’t make us feel satisfied that she ended her life on her own terms. It just makes us sad. And frankly, it seemed a little selfish that in order for you to end the show on your own terms that you felt you had to go for the worst possible character to kill off. Yes, I’m sure the shock value was hefty and there are probably hundreds of articles/posts about this because of it. But it doesn’t endear you to the fans. Based on what I saw last night, there are many who are so upset that they aren’t going to watch the remaining four episodes of what can only be described as a topnotch show.
In a perfect world, we’ll learn next week that the whole death scene was merely a bad dream that Rusty had and Sharon will be there waking him and assuring him she is not going anywhere. And then they will spend the last four episodes finding Stroh and kicking his evil ass. Sadly, even I know that won’t happen.
So I’ll just say this. Thank you Mary McDonnell, for creating a living breathing normal woman as our hero. Thank you for showing us that there is strength in a soft voice and dedicated determination. Thank you for showing young women that you can be a woman and be a hero without having to look, talk, or act like a man. Thank you for showing us that in the end, that character is what makes a hero, not gender, car chases, or action scenes.