Sharon Raydor

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Sharon Raydor-Flynn
First appearance "Red Tape" (The Closer, season 5, episode 3)
June 22, 2009
Created by James Duff
Portrayed by Mary McDonnell
Information
Gender Female
Occupation Former LAPD Commander, former Captain of Major Crimes
Former Head of the FID
Spouse(s) Jackson Raydor
(ex-husband, before 1992-2014)[1]
Andy Flynn
(husband, 2017)
Children Emily Raydor (daughter)
Ricky Raydor (son)
Rusty Beck (adoptive son)
Nicole Flynn (stepdaughter)
Unnamed stepson

Commander Sharon O'Dwyer Raydor-Flynn was a fictional character on the police procedural drama The Closer, and the protagonist of its spinoff, Major Crimes. She was portrayed by Mary McDonnell.

Biography and family[edit]

Sharon was estranged from her husband Jack (Tom Berenger), an attorney who moved to Las Vegas to gamble; by season three of Major Crimes, the two are divorced.[2][3] They have two grown children, Richard William "Ricky" and Emily Raydor. In "Down the Drain", Sharon adopts Rusty Beck (the star witness against serial rapist/murderer Phillip Stroh).[3]

As of season 4, she is in a romantic relationship with Andy Flynn (a lieutenant from her division). At the end of "Dead Drop", the two were engaged and they marry in "Sanctuary City, Part 5".

In season 6, Sharon develops cardiomyopathy and her condition worsens over the course of the season. In "Conspiracy Theory, Part 4," Sharon's heart seizes when she yells at a murder suspect, resulting in her collapse and subsequent death when she can't be revived. In "By Any Means, Part 1," Sharon is given a full LAPD funeral and her family watches videos Sharon recorded for them before her death.

Service[edit]

Commander Raydor originally joined the police force as a way to put her husband through law school, with the intention that he would reciprocate. Those plans fell through, however, once she got pregnant and had kids, and then she and Jack separated. She came to realize as a police officer that she enjoyed enforcing the law a lot more than practicing it.[4]

A few months out of the police academy, then-patrol officer Raydor was involved in an officer-involved shooting. She attended mandatory counseling sessions afterwards, and although she thought she didn't want counseling, it turned out to be a good thing.[5] However, this incident did not result in her killing the suspect as she is stated not to have killed anyone until Dwight Darnell in Major Crimes "White Lies, Part 1".

In her first appearance, it is mentioned that a few years before Chief Johnson joined the force, then-Sergeant Raydor of Internal Affairs forced Lt. Provenza and his partner George Andrews (Beau Bridges) to attend sensitivity training.[6]

Force Investigation Division[edit]

As the Commanding Officer of the LAPD's Force Investigation Division, Captain Raydor is charged with investigation of officer-involved use of force and bound by federal oversight, which brings her into conflict with Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson of the Major Crimes Division, and the two soon develop an adversarial relationship.[6] Over time, they have gradually come to respect each other, and Raydor is instrumental in Brenda's candidacy for Chief of Police.[7][8] In one episode, Sharon states that she personally wrote most of the rules that the division used in its investigations.

In Season 7 of The Closer, Raydor is charged with auditing the Major Crimes Division in the wake of a civil suit filed against Chief Johnson and the LAPD by Turell Baylor's family.[9]

Major Crimes Division[edit]

After Chief Johnson's departure at the end of The Closer, Captain Raydor is named her successor as Commanding Officer of the Major Crimes Division, to the initial disappointment of Lt. Provenza.[10] Due to the LAPD's freeze on promotions (ostensibly), however, she is not promoted to Commander as she was promised by Chief Will Pope.[11]

Although a competent officer and administrator, the transition from Internal Affairs to Major Crimes left Sharon struggling to close the department's highest-profile cases, while simultaneously trying to earn the trust and loyalty of the Major Crimes squad. Unlike Chief Johnson, Sharon's approach to Major Crimes is not to arrest the defendant on the highest possible charge, but to get the perpetrator to plead out and go to jail, without the possibility of appeal. While this is Taylor's new policy, Sharon agrees with it as she wants to put the criminals away and keep them there.

However, Sharon has proved shrewd at the deal-making process and is good at getting a good sentence for the criminals or tricking them into confessing. In one instance, Sharon convinces DDA Rios to make a deal with a murderer on a burglary charge while not bringing up the murder and leave the rest up to her. Rios was reluctant as the man would only get four years in prison, but went along with Sharon's idea. After the man signed his deal, Sharon revealed that he had just confessed to stealing the murder weapon in one of his burglaries and that the murder scene matched his MO, entrapping him. The man panicked and confessed, claiming panic in the crime despite his lawyer's protests though no one believed him due to the brutality of the crime.

She also uses various tactics and tricks to get people to confess such as pretending they have evidence they don't, giving a time-limit on deals while the rest of the squad supposedly finds the needed incriminating evidence, e.g. calling in the suspect's brother-in-law to be her lawyer, then placing him in a room with cameras with his brother (the true culprit) and letting them argue; in one particular case, hanging a privacy sign on the interrogation room door, telling the witness and his friend that they wouldn't be watching when they really were.

Sharon tends to also make unusual concessions for suspects to get them to agree to their deals, such as allowing one man to go to his daughter's wedding after he confesses before sending him to prison - though she requires the squad to go with him to make sure he doesn't try to escape.

Sharon has also proven herself to be very good at finding little clues that can lead to the killer, something others might overlook. In one case, while searching for a man who had murdered three people and kidnapped three more, Sharon noted that the victims' cat was a frequent runaway but was always found. She realized the owners had two GPS locator chips embedded in the cat: one from before they entered the witness protection program and one after. Using this shrewd insight, Tao was able to identify the victims and from there the killer, allowing the Major Crimes squad and the Special Operations Bureau to locate the man and rescue his three hostages. Provenza later gives her credit for this action, telling Sharon that they would still be looking for the man if she hadn't thought of what she did.

In "Hindsight", the five-part miniseries of Major Crimes Season 4, Captain Raydor is offered the position of Chief of Security for the National Football League, but ultimately turns it down.[12]

In "White Lies, Part 1", Sharon kills serial killer Dwight Darnell in a courtroom shootout that costs the life of Russell Taylor. She is disturbed by the incident due to the fact that she feels no remorse for taking a life for the first time, but comes to peace with her actions after Dwight's mother, Wildred Darnell forgives her.

In the second half of season 5, Sharon is a contender for the rank of Assistant Chief after the murder of Russell Taylor despite her repeated assertions that she has no desire for the position. In "Shockwave, Part 2", Commander Leo Mason is promoted to the job to Sharon's relief. To her shock, Mason promotes Sharon to the rank of Commander, a promotion she had given up hope of ever getting. The now-Commander Raydor then sat down with Mason to discuss turning Major Crimes into something better. Mason also implied that Sharon will now have a lot more responsibility in the department.

In "Sanctuary City, Part 1", despite being a Commander, Sharon is shown to maintain many of the same duties she executed as a Captain, including continuing to lead Major Crimes. However, she now works closely with Assistant Chief Mason and has access to a lot more resources such as "a lot of dogs" and the ability to send a request for wiretaps through the Narcotics Division to speed things up.

In "Sanctuary City, Part 3", Sharon displays increasing signs of illness before suddenly collapsing while yelling at two FBI agents. In "Sanctuary City, Part 4", Sharon is rushed to the hospital where she is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. While its in the early stages, Sharon's fears over dying and leaving Andy alone causes her to attempt to call off the wedding. However, Andy convinces her to go through with it anyway and they agree to postpone their honeymoon until she is doing better.

Awards and decorations[edit]

The following are the medals and service awards fictionally worn by Captain Raydor, as seen in "Repeat Offender".[13]

Pmuc.JPG LAPD Meritorious Unit Citation
Policemedal.JPG LAPD Police Medal for Heroism
Humanrelations.JPG LAPD Human Relations Medal
Lifesavingmedal.JPG LAPD Police Life-Saving Medal
PMSM.JPG LAPD Police Meritorious Service Medal

Relationships[edit]

Lieutenant Provenza[edit]

Raydor, who was disliked by the squad due to her time in Internal Affairs and her policy of deal-making, clashed with Provenza almost immediately. This is partly due to the fact that command of the Major Crimes squad had supposedly been promised to him before Raydor was hired. She has trouble at first due to barely outranking him, but she slowly manages to come to an understanding with Provenza that gives them a good working relationship - he is usually in charge out in the field, but she is in charge in the Murder Room.

By the end of the first season of Major Crimes, Provenza comes to grudgingly identify with Raydor's own frustrations. He at one point berates Rusty for inconsiderate comments that left her nearly in tears because even he could tell how much she cared for the boy despite his dislike of Sharon. Over time, Raydor comes to rely on Provenza heavily in cases and he grows to respect her; they eventually become good friends, mutually offering each other support in difficult situations. Provenza goes from calling Sharon "Captain" all the time to occasionally addressing her by her first name, particularly in situations where she needs reassurance. On one occasion, when Sanchez was wounded while taking down a dangerous suspect, Provenza recognized that the situation would greatly bother Sharon despite Sanchez's wound being minor. In this case, Provenza tells Sharon to take comfort in the fact that it was her unexpected insight that allowed them to locate a very dangerous criminal and rescue his three hostages alive, including two young children.

In "Intersection", the changes to their relationship are most evident when Sharon suggests that Provenza will take over Major Crimes for her if she gets promoted to Assistant Chief. Through the episode, Provenza is shown to be horrified by the thought of anyone else getting the Assistant Chief job and tells Sharon he is deeply grateful for her confidence in him. Showing her affection for Provenza, Sharon goes as far to hug him and call Provenza "Louie" for the first time rather than "Lieutenant."

In "Sanctuary City, Part 4", after Sharon's collapse, Provenza loses his temper over the idea that her yelling at two FBI agents beforehand contributed and is clearly one of the people most worried about Sharon.

In "Conspiracy Theory, Part 3", Provenza is deeply worried about Sharon's condition after learning the seriousness of it and becomes emotional while trying to convince Sharon to take a leave of absence. Following her death in "Conspiracy Theory, Part 4", Provenza has to sit down and be comforted by Camila Paige who takes his hand.

Lieutenant Andy Flynn[edit]

After taking control of the division, Sharon's biggest relationship change is with Lieutenant Andy Flynn. While like everyone else, he doesn't like her due to her time in Internal Affairs, he grows to respect her decisions as both a colleague and a friend.

Sharon convinces Andy to attend his daughter Nicole's wedding in Season 2; he originally avoided the event as he didn't want to walk his daughter down the aisle with her stepfather. This marked a change in their relationship - they started having dinners together, eventually going to the Nutcracker with Nicole's family. However, the two were not officially together and denied that they were anything more than friends for more than two years.

In "Acting Out", Nicole revealed that she thought they were in a relationship when they were not; Rusty pointed out how many "not dates" they went on and the two seemed stunned to realize Rusty was right. When Sharon asked him about it, he pointedly told her that they were "not dating" several times a month.

In season 4, the two went out for their first official date. They eventually reveal their relationship to Assistant Chief Taylor, telling him that they are "old-fashioned dating" with Flynn commenting that it was "so old fashioned [he's] surprised [they] don't have a chaperone".[14] When Flynn was facing dangerous surgery, he told Provenza that if he didn't survive, he wanted Provenza to tell Sharon that Flynn loved her. Sharon later had Flynn move in with them while he was recovering from his surgery though he moved out once he could live on his own again.

In season 5, Sharon and Flynn begin house hunting together. After the first disastrous attempt, they live together in Sharon's condo. Flynn later proposes to Sharon with Rusty's help, a proposal that she accepts. With the help of her children, both Sharon and Flynn are able to get annulments of their previous marriages in the eyes of the Catholic Church so that they can marry each other in the Catholic Church.

After being diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, Sharon considers calling off the wedding out of fear of dying and leaving Flynn alone. However, he is more determined than ever to marry her following the news and convinces Sharon to change her mind.

Rusty Beck[edit]

Shortly after taking over the Major Crimes Division, Sharon discovered that murder witness Rusty Beck needed a secure foster home that he wouldn't run away from and took him in herself. The two had a rocky start with Rusty insisting on sleeping on her couch and that he was only staying until they found his missing mother. However, after Sharon started to lay down the law when she got tired of his antics, the two came to an understanding that resulted in Rusty behaving more. Sharon also relies on the squad to help her with Rusty, particularly Buzz and Provenza. Sharon quickly grows fond of the boy and gets upset when his mother seems about to return to his life and purposefully stays out of the situation so she won't cause conflict and is reluctant about informing Rusty of the identification of his father who she is suspicious of. After her suspicions prove right and Rusty's father hits him after purposefully ignoring him and being late, Sharon, while initially very angry, takes rational steps to remove him from Rusty's life forever with the squad backing her up. She is able to force him to sign away his parental rights or face child abuse charges and Rusty remains with Sharon.

Following the situation with Rusty's father, Sharon and Rusty grow closer and she fights to keep from sending him into witness protection after he gets threatening letters. At the same time, Rusty hides most of the letters from her out of fear of her reaction and being forced to leave Sharon, as she gives him stability for the first time in his life. After the letters are revealed, Sharon accepts constraining restrictions to protect him and makes a deal with him to allow him to help catch the letter writer. Rusty agrees to her conditions because he has grown to love her too and she is now being threatened. After the writer, Wade Weller, is killed by Provenza, Rusty breaks down and admits he's gay to Sharon, thinking she'll reject him and he shouldn't stay with her. Instead Sharon, who'd suspected but never pressed Rusty for information he wasn't willing to give, accepts him for who he is and brings him home.

With Rusty turning eighteen, Sharon decides to adopt him for legal reasons, as well as the fact that she considers him her son. After initial surprise and hesitation, Rusty agrees to the idea and as a result, Sharon divorces her estranged husband Jack after being separated for over twenty years after he refuses to accept the adoption without money. During this time, she also has to deal with the return of Rusty's mother, Sharon Beck who ends up in a rehabilitation center but immediately goes back to drinking. Sharon later learns Sharon Beck had pressed Rusty to work on the streets to get her bail money and ensures she goes to jail for a year, in order to protect Rusty, that will be extended to seven if she misbehaves. Shortly afterwards, Sharon officially adopts Rusty, though he keeps his own last name. After some tension between Rusty and her biological son Ricky, Sharon's children accept Rusty into the family as well.

Sharon sends him to college for journalism and agrees to allow Rusty to live his life, despite her fears when Phillip Stroh escapes prison and she wants a restrictive protection detail for Rusty. She gets undercover officers to follow him around secretly for awhile afterwards, but after seeing the outcome of the case of an overprotective mother, she backs off and calls off the undercover officer. She later follows the advice of Judge Grove and stops looking over Rusty's shoulder as he works on his Identity blog and lets him work without her supervision.

After Rusty successfully identifies Alice as Mariana Wallace, Raydor informs her brother Gus of her death and helps coordinate things with dealing with the aftermath of her being identified. Raydor attends Mariana's funeral with the rest of the team, and comforts Rusty on his feelings of having a lack of closure on everything. When Rusty starts avoiding Gus over the fact that he's now doing a story on Mariana's killer, Sharon heavily berates him for how he's treating Gus like he's expendable. While Rusty attempts to make what he did right, his actions backfire as Sharon knew they would resulting in Gus being angry at him and Rusty having to testify in another murder trial. However, Sharon is shown to be proud of how Rusty ultimately repairs things, stating that she's glad Rusty asks her to have Gus over for Christmas when he has no one else and has been going through a very difficult time. She is also indicated to have pulled some strings to get Rusty into a better college as Judge Grove quotes something Rusty said to Sharon when he helps Rusty transfer from Santa Monica City College to UCLA. However, Judge Grove refuses to confirm if Sharon was behind his actions or not.

In the second half of season 4, Rusty starts calling Sharon "Mom" more often than not when before, even after the adoption, it was usually just "Sharon" except as a joke. In Hindsight, Part 3, when Sharon is talking about Rusty's biological mother, Rusty hugs her and tells Sharon "you're my mom", stunning her. Even Rusty's biological mother, Sharon Beck notes how good Sharon Raydor is to her son and tells him that Sharon Raydor is a much better mother to him than she ever was.

Death[edit]

After a short battle with her heart condition, towards the end of episode 9, during season 6 of Major Crimes, Commander Raydor collapsed while interrogating a suspect, and subsequently died in the hospital.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Drug Fiend". The Closer. Season 7. Episode 18. July 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "D.O.A.". Major Crimes. Season 2. Episode 5. July 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Down the Drain". Major Crimes. Season 3. Episode 11. November 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Risk Assessment". Major Crimes. Season 2. Episode 16. December 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Jailbait". Major Crimes. Season 2. Episode 13. December 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Red Tape". The Closer. Season 5. Episode 3. June 22, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Help Wanted". The Closer. Season 6. Episode 2. July 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Executive Order". The Closer. Season 6. Episode 10. September 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Unknown Trouble". The Closer. Season 7. Episode 1. July 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Reloaded". Major Crimes. Season 1. Episode 1. August 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Before and After". Major Crimes. Season 1. Episode 2. August 20, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Hindsight, Part 1". Major Crimes. Season 4. Episode 19. February 15, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Repeat Offender". The Closer. Season 7. Episode 2. July 18, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Hostage to Fortune". Major Crimes. Season 4. Episode 8. July 27, 2015.