The L Word wiki
The L Word wiki

Sexuality is fluid. Whether you're gay, or you're straight, or you're bisexual, you just go with the flow.

Shane, "Let's Do It"

Shane McCutcheon is a main character on The L Word and its sequel, The L Word: Generation Q. She is portrayed by Katherine Moennig and debuts in the series premiere.

Shane's androgynous good looks, devil-may-care attitude and numerous sexual exploits have earned her a reputation as the resident lothario and heartbreaker. Formerly a streetwise drifter who lived from day to day, Shane lacks self-belief and ambition at first,[13] but eventually turns things around to become a successful hairstylist and business owner.

Shane has a very cynical outlook on life due to her broken upbringing, and keeps her heart closely guarded to protect herself from the inevitable heartache and pain that she believes relationships bring.[14] Over time, she learns to open her heart to a select few, including Carmen de la Pica Morales and Quiara Thompson, but struggles with commitment.[15] She also finds herself thrust into a position of responsibility for the first time in her life, when her little brother Shay McCutcheon is entrusted into her care.[16] Above all, Shane is always there to support her friends without judgment.


Shane was born in Austin, Texas, and grew up in the foster care system after being abandoned by her father, Gabriel, and her mother, both of whom were drug addicts. Shane has known she is a lesbian since she was 8; she has been sexually active since she was 14 and had already slept with around 1,000 women by her early 20s.[17] Shane never finished high school[18] and was turning tricks on the streets of Los Angeles with her friend Clive, before cleaning up her act and becoming an assistant hairdresser. She was brought into Alice's social circle after Alice had her hair cut at the salon Shane worked at, and soon formed lasting friendships with Alice and Bette.

In The L Word season 1, Shane's sexual exploits catch up with her when she is harassed by her former fling Lacey. Shane's past also haunts her in the form of Clive who has returned to his old ways; Shane tries to help him but refuses to be sucked back into that life. Meanwhile, Shane finally opens her heart when she falls for the married Hollywood socialite Cherie, and the two begin an affair. Cherie's plan to help Shane open her own salon comes to an abrupt end when Cherie's husband and daughter find out about the affair. Shane is left heartbroken when Cherie refuses to give up her lavish lifestyle to be with a nobody like Shane.

Shane and Jenny become roommates in season 2, and form a close bond as Shane helps Jenny deal with her childhood trauma. Shane is also attracted to Carmen but refuses to open up to her, having become even more guarded with her heart after Cherie; Shane pushes Carmen to be with Jenny instead. At the same time, the demanding head of a film studio, Veronica, takes Shane under her wing as her new assistant. Veronica sees the potential in Shane and pushes her hard, however, Shane does not share Veronica's belief in her and quits. Shane's deepening feelings for Carmen are eventually revealed and, with Jenny's blessing, they begin dating.

In season 3, Shane meets Carmen's large but tight-knit family and is quickly taken to them, having never had a family of her own. However, Shane falls back to her old ways and cheats on Carmen with Cherie; Carmen is hurt but they stick it out together. Shane also becomes the exclusive hairdresser for a skateboard shop called Wax. Dana's death prompts Shane to propose to Carmen and as the wedding approaches, Shane is reunited with her father Gabriel and her young half-brother Shay. The night before her wedding, Shane catches Gabriel cheating on his wife; Gabriel insists that he and Shane are alike and that they can never be faithful. Taking Gabriel's words to heart, Shane leaves Carmen at the altar.

Having ditched her own wedding, Shane starts off season 4 spiraling out of control; she goes on a cocaine binge with Cherie and gets into a car accident. She finally makes it back home only to find that Shay has been abandoned at her doorstep. Shane is reluctant to take on the responsibility at first but comes to care deeply for her brother, even taking a gig as an underwear model to pay for Shay's hospital bill when he gets injured. She meets Paige, the mother of Shay's classmate, at a PTA meeting and develops a taste for domestic life as they begin dating. However, Gabriel returns out of the blue and takes Shay back. Shane is distraught to lose her brother, but moves forward with Paige and contemplates settling down in suburbia with her and her son.

Shane eventually left Los Angeles after The L Word, but after ten years of opening and then selling her lucrative salons, she moves back to the city at the start of Generation Q season 1.


Early life and family[]

8-year-old Shane with her first crush.

Shane was born in Austin, Texas.[3] Both her mother[2] and her father, Gabriel McCutcheon, were drug addicts, and Gabriel gave his daughter the typically masculine name "Shane" simply because he loved the name.[19] Prior to The L Word, Shane had never met Gabriel[3] and grew up with her mother and her dog Remy.[12][20]

Shane has known she is gay since she was eight years old, when she had a crush on a girl named Tiffany Gardner who lived down the street.[1] When Shane was nine, her mother abandoned her and she was sent into the foster care system.[12][3][21] Despite this, Shane admits to still loving her mother very much.[12]

When she was ten, someone told Shane that her mother had returned to Austin; Shane then ran away from her foster family to go to Austin to find her mother.[2] While there, she lived in a church shelter[2] where, unbeknownst to her, Gabriel would come watch her at the church playground. According to Gabriel, young Shane always looked pissed off.[19]

Street prostitution[]

Shane never finished high school,[18] and has a criminal record from when she was young.[22] She lost her virginity at the age of 14 and has been very sexually active since.[17] At some point, she befriended Clive and they turned tricks together on Santa Monica Boulevard[23] for six months.[24] During this time, Shane was mistaken for a guy thanks to her androgynous looks,[24][17] and she was only willing to give handjobs no matter how much her gay male customers offered to pay.[24]

Eventually, one of Shane's male customers paid for her to attend hairdressing school.[23] Shane cleaned up her act after she got a job at a salon, and she and Clive promised each other that they would never return to that old life.[25]

Meeting Alice[]

Shane and friends at Bette and Tina's Y2K party.

Shane met Alice Pieszecki when Alice went to get her hair cut at the salon that Shane worked at. Shane washed Alice's hair and Alice asked her out for coffee afterwards, hoping to get some gossip about the celebrities who frequented the salon. Although Shane didn't have any gossip to share, she agreed to the free drink because she was starving and broke at the time.[26]

Through Alice, Shane was presumably introduced to Bette Porter and Tina Kennard, both of whom Alice was already friends with. Shane would later meet Dana Fairbanks at Bette and Tina's Y2K party at the turn of the millennium.[27]

Lead up to The L Word[]

At the start of The L Word, Shane is an assistant hairdresser.[28] She has slept with 950 to 1,200 women since she was 14,[17] and steers clear of any serious relationships.[29] She lives in a one-bedroom apartment with three other roommates.[25] Shane is also aware that she has a half-brother, though she has never met him and does not even know his name[19] at this point.[12]

Throughout the series[]

The L Word[]

In between[]

Generation Q[]

Season 1[]

Over ten years after Jenny's death, Shane moves to Los Angeles, where she is reunited with Bette and Alice. It is revealed in dialogue that she previously opened but sold hair salons in Paris and New York, and has bought a house in Los Angeles. She is also married to Quiara, but they are estranged. On Bette and Alice's insistence, Shane allows Sarah Finley, one of Alice's employees, to help assemble her new furniture. Finley does not charge Shane for the favour, and in return, Shane allows Finley to move in with her. After Bette's mayoral candidacy is threatened by one of her previous sex scandals, Shane gives Bette her support, and is initially against Bette appearing on Alice's talk show to explain her side of the story and win back the people's faith, but relents. In the process, Shane has a one-night stand with the flight attendant from her plane to Los Angeles. Later, after ignoring most of Quiara's messages, Shane is finally sent divorce papers. In her depression, she goes to a bar run by lesbian lovers, Lena and Tess. She buys it and turns it into a local gay bar, "Dana's", putting Tess and Lena in charge. Shane begins a romantic relationship with Lena, meaning Lena is cheating on Tess. When Tess finds out, she break up with Lena and is angry at Shane for cheating with her former girlfriend. Shane finally answers a text message from Quiara, her estranged wife. Shane later celebrates her 40th birthday but does not seem enthusiastic, especially when she finally signs the divorce papers. At the birthday party, however, Quiara attends, to Shane's shock. Though Quiara is aware that Shane has signed, she tells Shane that she is pregnant, and still wants to be with Shane even if it means that she will have sole responsibility of bringing up the child. Along with their friends, Shane attends Angelica's school play and notices that Angelica appears to have a crush on her friend, Jordi. She subsequently gives Angelica advice on how to admit her feelings, which results in Jordi returning them and the two of them sharing a kiss. Touched by the moment, Shane agrees to rekindle her relationship with Quiara, and kindly asks Finley to move out. Later on, Shane goes with Quiara to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time, but Shane later claims that she felt no emotion whatsoever, which frightens her, though Quiara assures her that it will be fine. However, Quiara later suffers a miscarriage and loses the baby. Though devastated for Quiara, Shane expresses surprise when Quiara does not grieve and casually states that she will get inseminated again as soon as possible, leading Shane to realize that Quiara only got inseminated to get her to resume their relationship out of obligation and guilt. Shane's reaction leads Quiara to believe that Shane was relieved at the baby's death. Realizing that Shane will never truly accept parenthood, Quiara leaves Shane for good and returns her wedding ring. In her depression, Shane adopts a homeless dog.

Physical appearance[]



Have you ever noticed that every time Shane walks into a room, someone leaves crying?

Bette, "Pilot"

Notable relationships[]

Episode appearances[]

The L Word, season 1
Episode Appearance Status
"Let's Do It"Appears
"Lies, Lies, Lies"Appears
"Losing It"Appears
"Listen Up"Appears
"Luck, Next Time"Appears
"Looking Back"Appears
"Locked Up"Appears
"Limb from Limb"Appears
The L Word, season 2
Episode Appearance Status
"Life, Loss, Leaving"Appears
"Lap Dance"Appears
"Loneliest Number"Appears
"Lynch Pin"Appears
"Lagrimas de Oro"Appears
"Late, Later, Latent"Appears
"Land Ahoy"Appears
"Loud & Proud"Appears
The L Word, season 3
Episode Appearance Status
"Labia Majora"Appears
"Lost Weekend"Appears
"Light My Fire"Appears
"Lone Star"Appears
"Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way"Appears
"Losing the Light"Appears
"Last Dance"Appears
"Left Hand of the Goddess"Appears
The L Word, season 4
Episode Appearance Status
"Legend in the Making"Appears
"Livin' La Vida Loca"Appears
"Lez Girls"Appears
"Luck Be a Lady"Appears
"Lesson Number One"Appears
"Lexington and Concord"Appears
"Lacy Lilting Lyrics"Appears
"Little Boy Blue"Appears
"Literary License to Kill"Appears
"Long Time Coming"Appears
The L Word, season 5
Episode Appearance Status
"LGB Tease"Appears
"Look Out, Here They Come!"Appears
"Lady of the Lake"Appears
"Let's Get This Party Started"Appears
"Lookin' at You, Kid"Appears
"Lights! Camera! Action!"Appears
"Lesbians Gone Wild"Appears
"Lay Down the Law"Appears
"Liquid Heat"Appears
"Lunar Cycle"Appears
"Loyal and True"Appears
The L Word, season 6
Episode Appearance Status
"Long Night's Journey Into Day"Appears
"Least Likely"Appears
"Leaving Los Angeles"Appears
"Litmus Test"Appears
"Lactose Intolerant"Appears
"Last Couple Standing"Appears
"Last Word"Appears
The L Word, Interrogation Tapes
Episode Appearance Status
Generation Q, season 1
Episode Appearance Status
"Let's Do It Again"Appears
"Less Is More"Appears
"Lost Love"Appears
"LA Times"Appears
"Loose Ends"Appears
"Lose It All"Appears
"Lapse in Judgement"Appears
Generation Q, season 2
Episode Appearance Status
"Late to the Party"Appears
"Lean on Me"Appears
"Luck Be a Lady"Appears
"Lake House"Appears
"Lobsters, Too"Appears
"Love Shack"Appears
"Launch Party"Appears
"Last Dance"Appears
"Last Call"Appears



Notes and trivia[]

  • Shane mentions and is shown doing hard drugs in The L Word, including cocaine[7] and oxycodone[24].


  1. 1.0 1.1 The L Word, 1x11: "Looking Back".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The L Word, 2x08: "Loyal".
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The L Word, 3x01: "Labia Majora".
  4. 4.0 4.1 Shane turned 40 in "LA Times" (GQ 1x04), while "Lean on Me" (GQ 2x02) is said to take place 17 years after "Limb from Limb" (TLW 1x13), thus making Shane 23/24 in TLW S1. In "Limb from Limb" (TLW 1x13), Cherie calls Shane a "25-year-old", but this was either retconned, or Cherie was just estimating/rounding off Shane's age.
  5. 5.0 5.1 The L Word, 1x01: "Pilot".
  6. The L Word, 2x06: "Lagrimas de Oro".
  7. 7.0 7.1 The L Word, 4x01: "Legend in the Making".
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 The L Word, 4x04: "Layup".
  9. The L Word, 4x05: "Lez Girls".
  10. The L Word, 6x03: "LMFAO".
  11. The L Word, 6x06: "Lactose Intolerant".
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 The L Word, 2x11: "Loud & Proud".
  13. The L Word, 2x09: "Late, Later, Latent".
  14. See "Loyal" (TLW 2x08) and "Late, Later, Latent" (TLW 2x09).
  15. See "Lifesize" (TLW 3x06), "Lifecycle" (TLW 5x10), and "Long Night's Journey Into Day" (TLW 6x01).
  16. The L Word, 4x07: "Lesson Number One".
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 The L Word, 1x12: "Locked Up".
  18. 18.0 18.1 The L Word, 3x09: "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way".
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 The L Word, 3x12: "Left Hand of the Goddess".
  20. In "Liberally" (TLW 1x10), Shane says she grew up without both her parents and only met her mother once, but this was presumably retconned.
  21. Generation Q, 2x04: "Lake House".
  22. The L Word, 4x09: "Lacy Lilting Lyrics".
  23. 23.0 23.1 The L Word, 2x05: "Labyrinth".
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 The L Word, 1x06: "Losing It".
  25. 25.0 25.1 The L Word, 1x05: "Lawfully".
  26. The L Word, Interrogation Tapes: "Shane".
  27. The L Word, 3x11: "Last Dance".
  28. The L Word, 1x13: "Limb from Limb".
  29. The L Word, 1x03: "Longing".

External links[]