First Looks: USA's ‘In Plain Sight'

Categories: Watching TV

Written By

May 22nd, 2008

Mary McCormack as Mary Shannon on USA\'s \'In Plain Sight\'To get straight to the point: I really enjoyed this show. Now here's the long version...

I got my first ever advance review copy DVD and while I don't fancy myself to be the next Tom Shales or the next Aaron Barnhart when it comes to assessing good television, I know what I like and what I don't like. Here on the Internet that seems to be the only qualification necessary! It was nice to get an advance review copy of USA's In Plain Sight (rough cuts of the pilot, plus two episodes), but I won't feel like I've made it until I get to watch the LOST finale before everyone else. Like the rest of you, I have to wait until next Thursday. Kinda sucks.

Aaron Barnhart may be my favorite television critic EVER He told me, "You must watch HBO's The Wire." I took his advice and watched it, ultimately all five seasons of it. If not my favorite show ever, it's right up there. The Wire is a good lead-in for me as far as USA's In Plain Sight goes, because The Wire and In Plain Sight have a couple of things in common, good characters and the use of humor to take the edge off of what can be the hard, cold realities of real life.

The Wire in my estimation portrayed with a fair bit of accuracy what can happen in inner city po-lice departments. I am definitely not getting the vibe that In Plain Sight is an accurate depiction of how real life US Marshals who work the Witness Protection Program act, but I don't care. I enjoyed the heck out of the pilot and the first episode. I have one episode left, but I'm saving it up since I'm already two episodes ahead (note the pilot will run an hour and sixteen minutes on TV).

USA Network has been running the slogan "Characters Welcome" and this show fits that bill in spades. I LOVE the Mary Shannon character (played by Mary McCormack). LOVE her. On the one hand she's a bad-ass, gun toting US Marshal - that'd probably work for me by itself. But she reminds me of one of my favorite TV characters, Dr. Gregory House.

She's personally kind of a mess, but sees the rest of the world extremely clearly. She doesn't have a vicodin fix, and she has a gun instead of a cane. She is definitely much more enjoyable for me to look at than Dr. House. And there's something for everyone, for those of you who couldn't get enough of Cristián de la Fuente on Dancing with the Stars, you can see him in the role of Mary's on again, off again lover, Raphael Ramirez (in various states of undress).

I also very much enjoyed the characters of her partner Marshall Mann (Frederick Weller) and Mary's mother Jinx (Lesley Ann Warren). I enjoy the other characters too, but every show always has a character that winds up annoying me (EVERY show) and on this one it will likely be Mary's little sister Brandi (Nichole Hiltz). But my enjoyment of the other characters, especially Mary's is way more than enough to offset that, at least so far.

I liked the show, and it's not just the halo of getting the advance copy DVD. It's not like they sent me a ton of schwag, or any schwag at all for that matter. I didn't even get a stinking t-shirt or a fake marshal's badge. I did enjoy the characters though, and especially during the pilot laughed out loud several times.

If you enjoy fun characters dealing with sticky circumstances and like to laugh, I highly recommend checking out the pilot which premieres on USA network at 10pm on Sunday June 1, 2008. Here's a bit more on some of the characters:

Character Played By Notes
Mary Shannon Mary McCormack Badass hot gun-toting mess - loved her!
Marshall Mann Frederick Weller A 5th Generation US marshall named Marshall - funny!
Stan McQueen Paul Ben-Victor The nuerotic balding boss who Mary gets the best of
Jinx Shannon Lesley Ann Warren Lazy zany mom who's mooching off of Mary. Funny as hell and Warren is still gorgeous!
Brandi Shannon Nichole Hiltz Mary's self-destructive younger sibling -- very hot, but kind of annoying
Rapheal Ramirez Cristian de la Fuente Mary's booty call
Bobby D. Todd Williams Local po-lice, Robert Derhowitz - it's a long story
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