How Does Major Crimes Sharon Raydor Stack up to The Closer Brenda Leigh Johnson?
I’d venture to say “no” but for all the right reasons.
Buttoned-down Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) couldn’t be more different from spitfire Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) but they are identical in their passion for the mission, to protect the innocent and bring the guilty to justice.
Brenda Leigh Johnson
Leader of Major Crimes (formerly Priority Murder Squad) for seven seasons.
Quirky. Passionate.Highly intuitive.
Major sucrose junkie. Sneaks sugar hits from her stash of candies and Ding Dongs whenever things get too intense.
Can shift from complete scatterbrain to razor edged focus in mere fractions of a moment.
Persistent in the extreme. Once she gets a whiff of a case, she’ll track the guilty until he or she is brought to justice, no matter what it takes. This intensity (along with her willingness to bend the rules) impacts her professional and personal relationships, sometimes harshly. But it’s hard not to admire Brenda’s almost preternatural ability to zero in on the guilty and draw out a confession.
And all of this with ladylike Southern charm and impeccable manners. Whether her “Thank yew. Thank yew so much.” really means “Thank you” or “go do something physically improbably and obscene to yourself” is up to you to figure out.
New head of Major Crimes. Formerly of the Force Investigation Division.
First crossed paths with Brenda in Season 5 (Episode 3, Red Tape) when she investigated Sgt Gabriel’s (Corey Reynolds) shooting of an unarmed suspect.
Calm. Cool. Collected. Others often mistakenly assume she’s made of ice but, with a little patience, discover she is also kind, generous and a passionate defender of the defenseless.
Where Brenda is scattered, Sharon is orderly and methodical. She works a case like a puzzle (albeit one where the stakes are life and death), sizing up each piece and fitting it together until she can see the whole picture.
Shares Brenda’s thirst for justice but works within the system and makes the system work for her. No bending of rules…at least not so far.
She knows the system doesn’t always work but believes deeply in its necessity. Without the justice system, all we have left is vigilante justice.
Can we love Sharon the way we loved Brenda?
Where Brenda brought a fierce kinetic energy, Sharon brings a sense of stillness. Yet both characters are strong women, fascinating and complex. They bring out the depth of character in those around them. With Brenda, we watched her team come together and grew to love them. Through Sharon, we’ll see them continue to grow.
Sure, there’s no thrill quite like watching Brenda outwit a cocky murderer who almost always mistakes her ladylike manner for naiveté. But then we see that Sharon means to walk the killer right into a prison cell. Although their methodologies differ wildly, both are ferocious champions of justice.
Perhaps we, like Provenza (G.W. Bailey), resist Sharon at first. Maybe she’s just a rule obsessed stick-in-the-mud. And we miss Brenda’s charm. But then we catch a glimpse of Sharon’s heart and we can’t help but begin to fall for her.
I, for one, will miss Brenda but I can’t wait to see how Sharon develops. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to see Brenda again because I’d love to see them play off each other.
What do you think? Does Major Crimes hold up to The Closer? Is there a place in your heart for Sharon? Will the Major Crimes team fall apart without Brenda? What’s in store for Major Crimes and will we get to see Brenda again?
Be sure to Check out Tiffany A. White’s awesome posts on The Closer and Major Crimes. Tiffany’s always got the goods on great tv. Just watch out…she might just get you hooked on more tv than you can handle.
- Tele-Tuesday: Major Crimes’ New Look
- Why it’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Closing Cases with Southern Charm
- Tele-Tuesday: Knowing How to Close
In honor of Brenda Leigh, here’s a recipe for homemade Ding Dongs. Too good to hide in the desk.
Possibly Probably Related articles
- TV Wednesday: Major Crimes (canada.com)
- Missing The Closer … That’s a Major Crime (smallscreensilversurfer.wordpress.com)
- Major Crimes’ Mary McDonnell on Turning Capt. Raydor into the Hero (seattlepi.com)
- TNT Renews Major Crimes for Season 2 (tvline.com)
- Mary McDonnell Previews Major Crimes Finale, Shares Why Season 2 News Brought Such Relief (tvline.com)
- The Closer’s spinoff flips the script on Major Crimes (canada.com)