Shane McCutcheon is a fictional character on the Showtime television network series The L Word, shown nationally in the United States. She is played by the American actress Katherine Moennig, who is a cousin of Gwyneth Paltrow. Shane is a hairdresser and lives in Los Angeles, California, and mostly hangs out in West Hollywood.
Shane claims to have slept with over a thousand people, sometimes abuses hard drugs and is impulsive. Shane repeatedly destroys relationships when they are going well (Moennig has called Shane 'a self-sabotager'). An example of this is when she becomes involved with the wife of an influential Hollywood business investor named Cherie Jaffe, who takes a chance on bankrolling a salon for her. The investor thinks she has also slept with his daughter but this turns out to be a fantasy on the part of the daughter. In the third season, Shane cheats on her then-girlfriend Carmen when Cherie makes a reappearance, and in the fifth, sleeps with another woman while househunting with Paige.
In spite of her faults, Shane is an extremely caring person and is always there for her friends in a crisis. She was the only person to walk off the set of Les Girls when Jenny lost control of the movie.
Shane frequently gets in situations where other people use her for their own ends, sexual and otherwise. Obnoxious Hollywood producer Veronica Bloom hires her to do her dirty work, such as coaxing reluctant potential clients into signing their life-rights over so that she can turn their life story into a movie. Molly Kroll treated her as a "trick" after they slept together.
Shane was born in Austin, Texas. Her mother, who was a drug addict, put her into foster care when she was only nine years old. She never knew her father. Shane has known she was a lesbian since she was very young, remarking that her very first crush was when she was 8, on a girl she met in the playground. She dropped out of high school and was as a sex worker on Santa Monica Boulevard. She pretended to be a boy in order to service gay men, but would never go farther than give her clients handjobs. She later said that she could have been killed if one of them had found out she was female. She quit when one of her customers paid for her to get into hairdressing school.
In The L Word companion book, it was revealed that Shane was homeless for at least six months, and slept in her truck. Shane struggled with hard drugs, and still slips back into using in times of depression. Shane is introduced as being uninterested in relationships, and claims to have slept with between 950 and 1200 people.
Shane is living in a one-bedroom apartment with three militant lesbians at the beginning of season one. She is working as a hairdresser at Lather, a trendy salon that services many Hollywood personalities. Shane is being stalked by one of her ex-lovers, Lacey (Tammy Lynn Michaels) who is bitter that Shane will not commit to a relationship with her. After several confrontations with Lacey, including the stalker's distributing flyers all over gay bars "exposing" Shane's promiscuity, Shane is able to settle the conflict by talking with Lacey about her fear of abandonment.
Shane later runs into Clive, a friend she once turned tricks with. He is in need of a place to stay. Shane reluctantly agrees, but kicks him out when she discovers he has been stealing from her and her roommates. One of Clive's high-profile johns, Harry Samchuck, sends his business partner's wife to Shane's salon as an opportunity for Shane to network with Hollywood clients. Shane begins to make a name for herself as a hairdresser. She meets Cherie Jaffe (Rosanna Arquette), a married woman with whom she begins an affair and eventually develops deeper feelings for. Cherie convinces her husband Steve to invest in Shane's own salon, but this plan falls through when Cherie's daughter Clea falls in love with Shane. Steve believes Shane is sleeping with his daughter, and tells Shane he will have her killed if she ever goes near his family again. Cherie tells Shane that even if she loved her, she can't leave her high-class lifestyle.
Shane moves in with her friend Jenny Schecter. They find a third roommate, Mark Wayland, whom Shane befriends until Jenny discovers he has been secretly taping them for an exploitative documentary on lesbians. Shane is now a hairdresser for a TV studio, where she hooks up with production assistant Carmen de la Pica Morales. She tells Carmen that she's not interested in relationships, though Carmen continues to pursue her, convinced that she can win Shane over.
She is hired by the obnoxious Hollywood producer Veronica Bloom, who makes Shane use her empathy to manipulate others, such as convincing a woman to sign away the movie rights to her life. Shane quickly becomes fed up with using people and quits. Meanwhile, Carmen has hooked up with Jenny in a bid to stay close to Shane and make her jealous. Shane claims to be fine with the situation. It soon becomes clear that Shane has deeper feelings for Carmen but is afraid to get close to another person so soon after being dumped by Cherie. In the season finale, Shane tells Carmen "I love you," the first time in the show she has said these words.
By the start of season three, which takes place six months after season two, Carmen has moved in with Shane. Carmen introduces Shane to her family as a "friend." They take a liking to Shane and she becomes very attached to them, having never had a family of her own. Shane and Carmen's relationship becomes very close, as they get matching tattoos which Carmen's grandmother notices are tattoos of matrimony. When Carmen's mom tries to hook Shane up with a family friend, Carmen comes out to her family, causing them to disown her.
Shane is hired at Wax, an alternative hair salon in a skateboarding shop. Cherie shows up as one of her appointments. She tells Shane that she's now divorced from her husband, and offers to pick up where they left off. Carmen witnesses this happening and gets upset. Shane later sees Carmen flirting with some Def Jam employees who are investigating her DJing. Shane is hurt and reacts by sleeping with Cherie. Carmen finds out and confronts her. Shane says that Carmen can't understand that her life has made monogamy difficult for her, but she is willing to try for Carmen. Their relationship continues to be troubled though, as Carmen accuses Shane of avoiding sex to punish her for forcing her into monogamy, and later admits that she cheated on Shane with a woman named Robin in response to Shane's infidelity, though it is unclear if Carmen was telling the truth or merely wanted to see how Shane would react. After the death of Dana Fairbanks, a grief-stricken Shane asks Carmen to marry her. Carmen does not respond at first but eventually accepts.
Through an article in a magazine on Wax, Shane meets her father, Gabriel McCutcheon (Eric Roberts). He is married to a woman named Carla, and Shane gets to meet her half-brother named Shay. The season finale takes place on Shane and Carmen's wedding day, which is financed by Helena Peabody and takes place in Whistler, British Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal. Shane witnesses her father picking up another woman. He tells her "I'm not proud of this, it's just who I am. You know what I'm talking about," which scares Shane into thinking she will ruin Carmen's life by being unfaithful in marriage. She leaves Carmen at the altar.
The fourth season begins with Shane, severely depressed after her failed wedding, going on a drug binge with Cherie Jaffe. She attempts to get back in touch with Carmen to talk it over, but is shunned by two of Carmen's male cousins, who tell Shane that Carmen never wants to see her again. She arrives home to find Carla there, having fallen back into drug addiction now that Gabe has left her. She abandons Shay at Shane's house. Shane first does not want to take responsibility for Shay and tries to find his parents, but decides that she does not want to condemn him to a life in foster care like what happened to her. When Shay breaks his arm skateboarding, she takes a job modeling underwear for Hugo Boss AG in order to pay the health bills. She enrolls Shay in school, where he befriends a boy named Jared Sobel. Shane becomes close to Jared's mother, Paige, and eventually hooks up with her. Gabe returns to take Shay back, and though Shane tries to fight it, she realizes she is unlikely to win in court and lets Shay go home. The season ends with Shane proposing the possibility of buying a house with Paige and raising Jared with her, with Shane strongly implying that she wants to fight to get Shay back.
While touring an apartment with Paige, Shane is caught off guard by the realtor knowing so much about her and people Shane has known in the past. While Paige leaves to pick up her son from school, Shane and the realtor hook up in the apartment she was planning on renting. Paige walks in on this and later confronts Shane, explaining that she can deal with Shane sleeping with other girls. Shane responds by letting Paige know she shouldn't have to live with it, and although she does love Paige, she is not in love with her.
Later, Wax is burned to the ground, with hints that it may have been Paige who started the fire.
While working as a hairdresser at the wedding of Jenny's boss' daughter, Shane has sex with the bride's sisters and her mother. The ensuing jealousy and chaos prompts Shane to declare a moratorium on sex.
However, Shane soon returns to her old ways and has a three-way with Shebar nightclub owner Dawn Denbo and "my lover Cindy". She later has a tryst with Lover Cindi, without Denbo's knowledge or permission. Denbo crashes the party where the Shane and her friends meet their Les Girls actor counterparts, and vows the ruin the lives of Shane and all her friends. This escalates into a turf war between Denbo and Shane's group of Planet patrons.
Meanwhile, Shane deals with a "straight girl crush" from Molly Kroll, daughter of Phyllis Kroll. Shane and Molly eventually have sex, but soon afterwards, Shane overhears Molly and Phyllis talking about her. Molly refers to Shane as "a little bit uneducated", "easy and simple" and "maybe she's not the smartest person in the world". Shane attends the Subaru ride for breast cancer in honor of Dana, where Molly chases after her. Molly declares her love for Shane, but the relationship does not work out after all because Phyllis has a talk with Shane about Molly's future. Shane and Molly end the relationship. Shane states that Jenny is her best friend, but while Shane is distraught from the breakup with Molly, and Nikki being under stress from not seeing Jenny, they have sex on a balcony at the premiere of LezGirls. Jenny walks in on this and tells Shane that it is "the ultimate betrayal."
Shane claims to have slept with between 950 and 1200 people. In episode 4.01:Legend in the making reports on Alice's Chart indicate 963 connections. Because many of these people are nameless one-night stands, the re-creation of Shane's chart would be impossible. Here are the names listed in the series: