According to Sharon in “Risk Assessment”, she initially planned to go to law school and become a lawyer. However, she took a job as a police officer to pay her husband's way through law school first and he was supposed to return the favor. After having two children and Jack leaving, her dreams of going to law school ended but by then, Sharon knew she liked the law a lot more than she liked lawyers. She also liked the idea of saving people from bad things more as well.
In her first appearance, she worked at the Force Investigation Division (FID), a division of the LAPD's Professional Standards Bureau which scrutinizes LAPD officer-involved shootings and other uses of force. She investigated Sgt. Gabriel after he was involved in a shooting with a homicide suspect.
At the start of Major Crimes, she has been transferred to the Major Crimes Division to be its new commanding officer, after the retirement of Deputy Chief Johnson. At first, this caused some ill feelings in the more "veteran" members of the division, especially Lt. Provenza and Lt. Flynn.
As the commanding officer of the Major Crimes Division, her supervising officer is Assistant Chief Taylor, who along with Chief Pope had promised her a promotion to Commander, which turned out to be a lie due to a budget freeze which prevented all new promotions, except apparently to Assistant Chief, as she points out to Taylor.
Sharon as the MCD's commanding officer is very different from Brenda Leigh Johnson. Where Brenda was a very hands-on leader and investigator because of her background in the state department and the CIA, Sharon is more administrative in nature, trusting that her detectives can handle standard day-to-day operations without constant oversight. This can be seen in the fact that while Brenda responded to every crime the MCD was called to, Sharon only responds to crimes that are particularly gruesome or higher profile than usual.
When she first transferred to the division, she had a rocky relationship with her second-in-command Lt. Provenza. Provenza did not like her because of her background in FID and because he wanted control of the Major Crimes Division himself. As noted above, the change in leadership style allowed Sharon and Provenza to reach something of an understanding, which meant that when the division is deployed on the field without Sharon, Provenza can be seen in a supervisory role and being in command of the division, something that he always wanted. Even when Sharon is present at a crime scene, she still defers to Provenza's expertise much of the time, causing them to develop a good working relationship.
During the time between “Hindsight, Part 1” and “Hindsight, Part 5”, Sharon is stated to be up for a new job as Chief of Security for the NFL. Sharon keeps having to put the interview off due to the investigation and presumably chooses not to take the job or not to take the interview as she retains her job in the Major Crimes Division afterwards.
In “White Lies, Part 1”, serial killer Dwight Darnell opens fire in a courtroom, killing several people, including Assistant Chief Taylor. During the incident, Sharon shoots Darnell who later dies of his wounds. Sharon is left disturbed by the shooting as she feels no remorse for taking his life. This also leaves her without a boss, something she has not experienced and has not prepared for. Although Fritz Howard is assigned as the Acting Assistant Chief of Operations, the void above her does not go un-noticed as new people are lining up to fill that spot.
While Sharon repeatedly expresses no desire to take the job, both Deputy Chief Winnie Davis and Commander Leo Mason see her as a contender for the role. Davis causes problems for Sharon as a result, expressing vocal dislike for her and dissent for how Sharon runs Major Crimes and how much of the LAPD's resources it uses, while Mason expresses a desire for Sharon to take the position.
In “Intersection”, Sharon has begun actively seeking the job, telling Provenza that it is due to the threat of Winnie Davis getting promoted that she is seeking to become Assistant Chief.
In “Shockwave, Part 2”, after the arrest of Cristian Ortiz, it is revealed that Leo Mason was promoted to Assistant Chief and he promotes Sharon to the rank of Commander, the promotion she had been promised and long-denied when she was made head of Major Crimes. Mason and the now-Commander Raydor sit down to discuss how to change Major Crimes "into something better". Mason also noted that this promotion was because he does not want to give officers more responsibility without the authority to go with it, as whatever he has planned for the MCD's future, it may make Sharon's work a little bit more difficult.
In “Sanctuary City, Part 1”, Sharon is still recovering from a nasty case of the flu alongside Tao and Wes Nolan. While investigating the disappearance of the "St. Joseph's Three," Sharon is shown to retain command of Major Crimes at the rank of Commander, but have access to a broader set of resources than she had in the past. For example, Sharon is able to call in "a lot of dogs" for the search and have Assistant Chief Mason pass through a request for wiretapping warrants through the Narcotics Division to speed the process along. Sharon's new rank sees her working closely with Mason who monitors the investigation and gives her help, but lets Sharon lead. With Julio on bereavement leave following the death of his mother, Sharon has Buzz take an active role in the investigation and runs Buzz's equipment herself when Buzz conducts an interrogation for her. After one of the boys is found dead outside of St. Joseph of Nazareth's, a school that Ricky, Emily and Rusty all attended, Sharon gets visibly and audibly emotional.
During the investigation, Sharon learns of a fifth death connected to the past of Phillip Stroh. With the mounting evidence of Stroh's return, protection is ordered for Rusty, Emma Rios and Brenda Leigh Johnson with Sharon considering adding Linda Rothman to the list. Sharon is forced to inform Rusty of Stroh's possible return and he tells Sharon that he wants to become "more proficient" in protecting himself, but Sharon is interrupted by Andy before Rusty can explain his meaning to her. In “Sanctuary City, Part 2”, Rusty, with the help of Andy, convinces Sharon to help him get a concealed weapon's permit so that Rusty can carry a gun to defend himself if Stroh comes after him. Seeing the sense in Rusty's argument, Sharon agrees and begins training Rusty in using a gun. She is later able to get Rusty to agree to a protection detail as well using her medical condition.
At the end of “Sanctuary City, Part 3”, while Sharon was angrily shouting at the FBI to leave the Major Crimes squad room after they withheld crucial information from them, she collapsed and subsequently hit her head. The division speculated that maybe she was just dehydrated and would return shortly but that turned out to not be the case (“Sanctuary City, Part 4”).
Lt. Provenza was placed in temporary command of MCD while Sharon was undergoing tests at the hospital, which revealed that she has cardiomyopathy, a virus that is attacking the lining of her heart. While it could clear up on its own, it could also develop to something more serious which would require surgery and possibly a heart transplant. As a result of her diagnosis, Sharon expresses doubts about marrying Andy in case something happens to her. However, Andy is insistent on still getting married and standing by Sharon no matter what.
In “Sanctuary City, Part 5”, Sharon has to deal with the stress of her children visiting while trying to close the case of the St. Joseph's Three. Following the arrest of Doctor Alan Redmond, Sharon finally marries Andy at St. Joseph of Nazareth's. She is walked down the aisle by her son Ricky.
In “Conspiracy Theory, Part 3”, Sharon's cardiomyopathy is determined to be worse than feared and she is outfitted with a defibrillator-pacemaker and faces a possible heart transplant. At the end of the episode, Sharon collapses, though in “Conspiracy Theory, Part 4” she is confirmed to have survived due to the device implanted within her. Sharon faces the choice between a new device or a heart transplant, but chooses to forgo further treatment and live her life to the fullest after realizing that her own survival could ruin someone else's chances. To this end, Sharon privately records a couple of videos she leaves with Buzz and has her priest perform Last Rites.
Near the end of the episode, while getting a suspect to confess, Sharon gets extremely angry and yells, resulting in her heart seizing. Julio performs CPR and she is rushed to the hospital where she dies despite the doctors best efforts. Her doctor informs the grief-stricken Major Crimes team, Rusty, Andrea Hobbs, Leo Mason and Gus of her passing twenty minutes after her heart stopped for the last time and couldn't be restarted.
In “By Any Means, Part 1”, Sharon receives a full LAPD funeral at St. Joseph's of Nazareth. Her eulogy is given by Provenza who, along with everyone else, is left incredibly emotional by her death. Due to the threat of Stroh's return, Buzz provides Sharon's family with the videos she made early despite Sharon's instructions to wait until a week after her funeral. Sharon's family views her emotional goodbyes together with Ricky and Emily affirming that Rusty is still their brother even with Sharon gone. In a private message to Rusty, Sharon urges him to seek help with dealing with Stroh and not go after him on his own. Based off of her own experiences, Sharon urges Rusty to see Stroh as a person and not a monster which will leave Rusty more vulnerable to Stroh.
While comforting Andy, Rusty states that according to the doctor, in the end, Sharon's heart didn't seize or skip a beat, it just stopped and Sharon's final interrogation had nothing to do with her death. After learning of Sharon's death, Stroh's accomplice asks if Stroh had anything to do with Sharon dying. Stroh admits that he didn't, but he enjoys the news. Its revealed that Sharon had collected a great deal of things related to her children's lives that she kept in a storage unit that they retrieve and go through after her death. She also left her condo to Andy who has lifetime residency of it. Sharon's children make it clear to Rusty that even with Sharon gone, he is still their brother and they want to be a part of his life.
Following her death, Sharon is mentioned often throughout “By Any Means, Part 1”, “By Any Means, Part 2”, “By Any Means, Part 3” and “By Any Means, Part 4”, particularly in relation to the Stroh case. Keeping in mind Sharon's message to him to relate to Stroh as a person and often quoting her words, Rusty is able to help make several major breakthroughs in the case, including determining where Stroh has actually gone to flee the country.
At the end of the series, after Stroh's death at Rusty's hands, he chooses to become a prosecutor following a deal with Provenza. After hearing the news, Hobbs states that Sharon would be very proud of Rusty and he stares into Sharon's former office where a vase of flowers sits on her desk, wondering if that would indeed be true. At the end of the series, the Major Crimes team looks into Sharon's office at the flowers in an apparent act of remembrance for their missing leader.
Sharon is estranged from her husband Jack, an attorney who moved to Las Vegas to gamble.
They have a son, named Richard, and a daughter Emily. She was the legal guardian of Rusty Beck, a homicide witness in the Phillip Stroh case, one of Chief Johnson's last cases in Major Crimes. In “Down the Drain”, Sharon was officially divorced and officially adopted Rusty. In the eyes of the Catholic Church however, she and Jack were still married and she could not get remarried within the church as a result. However, in “Bad Blood”, after hearing of Sharon's engagement to Andy Flynn, Ricky and Emily are able to secure an annulment for her and force Jack to agree to it.
In “By Any Means, Part 1”, there is no sign of Jack at Sharon's funeral. However, her kids mention visiting with him while they are in town following Sharon's death. Nothing is mentioned about how Jack reacted to the news.
Sharon has developed a relationship with Lieutenant Andy Flynn over the course of Major Crimes, going with him as his date to his daughter's wedding and the Nutcracker among other things. When confronted by Flynn's daughter Nicole, both adamantly claim they are not dating though when Rusty points out how often they go out together into date-like environments, both are shown to be shocked by the revelation. Sharon asks Rusty about it afterwards and he tells her that she and Flynn are "not dating" several times a month.
In “Snitch”, Flynn decides to ask her on an actual date and Sharon accepts. In “Hostage to Fortune”, the two inform Assistant Chief Taylor of the change in their relationship, telling him they are "old school" dating. After Andy sold his house in Season 5, he has since moved in with Sharon and Rusty while they are looking for a bigger place to live in. In “Dead Drop”, Andy proposes to Sharon which she accepts (“Bad Blood”). Thanks to the efforts of her three children, Sharon and Andy are both able to get annulments from their first marriages, enabling them to marry within the Catholic Church.
When Sharon collapsed at the end of “Sanctuary City, Part 3”, Andy accompanied her to the hospital, where he was subsequently asked to leave the treatment room (along with Provenza and Rusty) when the doctor came to give Sharon her diagnosis. Later at the apartment, Sharon and Andy had a "heart-to-heart", where they discussed Sharon's diagnosis. While Sharon wanted to postpone their wedding claiming it wasn't fair for Andy, he did not share her thoughts stating that if they are not going to let Andy's heart get in the way of the marriage, they aren't going to let Sharon's heart do it either.
The only change Andy was willing to make was to skip the honeymoon, until they understand exactly what it is they're up against.
In “Sanctuary City, Part 5”, Sharon marries Andy in a wedding at St. Joseph of Nazareth's walked down the aisle by her son Ricky. Sharon states that she has never been happier in her life. Though she dies shortly afterwards, Andy keeps up her wishes of protecting Rusty as he promised Sharon that he would do before her death. In a final message to Andy recorded with Buzz's camera shortly before she died, Sharon expresses her deep love for Andy and her regrets that they didn't have more time together.
- Her badge number as a Captain was 951753. As a Commander, her badge number is replaced by her rank insignia, one star. Interestingly, during her tenure as Commander, Sharon was never actually seen wearing her badge, it was only visible on a hospital table with the rest of her personal belongings after her second heart failure.
- When in uniform, Sharon wears four service stripes on her uniform. Each stripe represents five years of service in the LAPD, meaning she has served for 20-24 years. (Last seen in "Repeat Offender"; July, 2011.)
- At the time of her death in “Conspiracy Theory, Part 4”, Sharon had most likely served with the LAPD for 26-30 years.
- Her address is 4411 Los Feliz Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.
- Her phone number is 323-555-0112.
- Maiden name is O'Dwyer as revealed in “Down the Drain”.
- She seems to occasionally get insights into a case when talking to Rusty as shown in “Cheaters Never Prosper” and “Turn Down”.
- After the shooting in “White Lies, Part 1”, Sharon tells Flynn that she not only wrote the questions she will get asked by FID, but the answers too.
- Before Sharon killed Dwight Darnell in “White Lies, Part 1”, she had never taken a life before, as stated in “White Lies, Part 2”.
- Sharon shares a first name with her adopted son Rusty Beck's biological mother, Sharon Beck.
- Andy Flynn notes in “White Lies, Part 3” that despite spending most of her career in Internal Affairs and her adherence to the rules, Sharon can in fact be very sneaky with how she does things.
- In “White Lies, Part 3”, Sharon states that she has no interest in being Russell Taylor's replacement which was suggested to her by Lt. Provenza. Despite her repeated assertions to this fact, both Deputy Chief Winnie Davis and Commander Leo Mason see her as a contender for the position, causing friction with Davis.
- Despite the fact that she and Leo Mason are rivals for the position of Assistant Chief, he and Sharon are shown to have a friendly relationship as opposed to her fractious one with Winnie Davis. This relationship goes so far as the two sharing jokes about the process and Mason even giving Sharon tips on how to avoid his own mistakes. After his promotion to Assistant Chief, Mason goes so far as to promote Sharon as well and to show an obvious interest in working closely with her.
- In “Shockwave, Part 1”, Sharon states that commanding the Major Crimes Division is the happiest she's ever been in her professional life. In “Conspiracy Theory, Part 4”, she states that she spent some of the best years of her life commanding Major Crimes.
- Sharon's surprise promotion by Leo Mason to Commander in “Shockwave, Part 2” closely mirrors the surprise promotion of Commander Bill Adama to Rear Admiral by President Laura Roslin in the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. Mary McDonnell portrays both Sharon and President Roslin, who in that case, was giving the surprise promotion rather than receiving it.
- Following Sharon's death, Mary McDonnell is still credited in the opening credits of “By Any Means, Part 1” where Sharon appears in the form of her video messages. However, Mary is removed from the credits starting in “By Any Means, Part 2” where Sharon doesn't appear in any form.
|The Closer Characters|
|Brenda Leigh Johnson • Sharon Raydor • Fritz Howard • Will Pope • Russell Taylor • Louie Provenza • Andy Flynn • Michael Tao • David Gabriel • Julio Sanchez • Irene Daniels • Buzz Watson • Dr. Fernando Morales|
|Major Crimes Characters|
|Sharon Raydor • Louie Provenza • Andy Flynn • Michael Tao • Julio Sanchez • Amy Sykes • Wes Nolan • Camila Paige • Buzz Watson • Rusty Beck • Russell Taylor • Leo Mason • Fritz Howard • Dr. Fernando Morales • Andrea Hobbs • Kendall|