‘IN PLAIN SIGHT,’ SEASON ONE (2008). Review of the first season of the USA Network TV dramedy with Mary McCormick. Text © Rissi JC


July 21, 2012 Rissi JC 6 Comments

Instead of backing off on how many television shows I keep up with¸ I seem to be adding to my queue of favorites. This one I decided to give a chance quite on a whim and though it isn’t the best I’ve seen, its premise is unique to most shows and it is good.

In Plain Sight, Season One (2008) TV Show Review

Like most people, Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) makes lists. Unlike most people, her day job consists of protecting people. As a U.S. Marshal, Mary takes her job very seriously and is willing to go to whatever lengths to protect their new identities. Today that is the least of her worries. For her birthday, her baby sister, Brandi (Nichole Hiltz) comes into town. Busy at work, Mary sends her boyfriend (Cristián de la Fuente) to pick her up, a decision that isn’t her most brilliant. Her attentions soon divert when the son of one of her witnesses is found murdered in the middle of the Albuquerque desert. Along with her partner – the funny guy with a running commentary, Marshal Mann (Frederick Weller), Mary investigates the boy’s murder. She finds that perhaps it isn’t as a result of what put him into witness protection.

When the evidence leads Mary to believe that young Frankie’s companion could be the real target, she has to balance keeping his parents from taking revenge. Not to mention keeping the local police from finding out about her witness. Back home, Mary struggles with motivating her alcoholic mother (Lesley Ann Warren) and living in the same house as her sister who has secrets of her own. And then there is her boyfriend. With the help of Marshal (yes, his name is Marshal and he’s a marshal!), Mary is going to need all the help she can to keep it together on this birthday!

As television shows go, this one is unique (about U.S. Marshals). In Plain Sight isn’t a bad show by any means but it’s also not up (yet) to the usual expectations. Still, this one is witty with wry humor without being bad comedy. Over half of the first season is mediocre. It trudges along in a more lethargic manner thanks to its setting instead of being the kind of cop drama that features foot or car chases nearly every episode. Instead this one takes being set in the desert quite seriously and uses its characters to propel forward the stories.

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Not since meeting Brenda Leigh Johnson have I met another character like this. Mary is the heroine we hate to love; she’s the Brenda of USA. If anything, Mary is even more closed-off to human interaction and connection than anyone else. Still, she’s as gutsy as the guys but compassionate with her witness’s. As usual we get to know the reason why personally she’s a mess.

Much of the writing and twists has been hashed out before making the stories less than unique but there are a few that stand apart. Taking a different approach, here there isn’t a running undercurrent storyline as every other television procedural. Brandi’s dilemma becomes a story thread but it doesn’t end on edge-of-your-set thrills. It’s a finale that basically consists of a lot of emotion and crying at the Shannon household; one minute there’s yelling and insults left and right, and the next they’re speaking in monotone voices with respect. It is an unconventional finale to be sure but one that – no matter how irritating, makes In Plain Sight, season one better for it.

Content: there is plenty of sexual innuendo throughout the multiple episode span as Mary has quite a mouth on her. Meeting her sister reveals not only an immodest dresser but a girl who lets men use her, then her mother is nothing more than a drunk who plays at working but never does anything stable. There are about two or three scenes that imply sex [one features a nude Mary and her boyfriend in an “after” shot lying together discussing it]. A man cheats on his girlfriend; Mary finds Marshal in the back of her car making out with an old flame. People are shot and killed and there’s profanity along with exclamations of Jesus. In Plain Sight, season one is TV-14.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Lianne July 21, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    I've been meaning to watch this show from some time, ever since I found out that Mary McCormack was the lead (she was wonderful in The West Wing). From the bits I've seen so far, I really love her interaction with Marshal (who's a marshal, lol) xD

  • Rissi July 21, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    This is really a "unique" one, Li. It isn't your usual cop drama. The pacing is sometimes slow and there is rarely any "shoot-outs" but that is what makes it work – Mary is not good in her personal relationships but she is wonderful with her witness.

    Yep, Mary and Marshal are hysterical together – he is really the only person who can make her see reason. Enjoy if you see it. :-)

  • Charity July 22, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    I'm afraid I didn't like this show — mostly because I really didn't like its heroine. I saw… maybe three episodes?

  • Morgan Nicole Ilg July 22, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    I don't watch tv!
    I love your blog!
    you have a great day!

  • Rissi July 23, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Charity – *gasp* You mean you actually didn't like Mary… I cannot imagine why not! ;-D

    She reminds me a great deal of Brenda BUT she isn't as compassionate at work. They both mess up their personal lives plenty but where it counts, Brenda knows how to be a good co-worker. This show has its virtues though and is far from "bad."

    Morgan Nicole – I don't watch shows on TV but do on DVD. It works better that way even though I must wait a year for the current seasons.

    Why, thank you! I appreciate that. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you stop in again. :-)


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