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A Good Summer Show, Hiding ‘In Plain Sight’ June 22, 2008

Posted by Amy Yen in In Plain Sight, TV.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So, despite the fact that it was one of those shows that reached the level of over-hype with me that I vowed not to watch, the summer TV void has driven me to watch the first three episodes of USA’s In Plain Sight… aka that show about the witness protection program.

My impression of it so far—& judging from the response on the TWoP boards, I’m not alone—is that this show is too much about Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) when she’s neither a likable or interesting enough character to do that for. I mean, let’s face it, she’s no Brenda Leigh Johnson, a fellow female cop lead on a cable show. She’s equally good at her job, dysfunctional in her personal life & self-absorbed in that she thinks the entire United States criminal justice system should be at her beck & call when she needs something for her case…but she lacks Brenda’s quirky charm & to date, we’ve only really seen her in one mood: pissed off & irritable.

What is most frustrating is that, inexplicably, all the men in her life are infatuated with her. Her boss, her kinda-sorta BF, the police detective she walks all over & refuses to come clean with &—most annoying of all—her partner, Marshall (Frederick Weller), who is by far the most watchable character on the show.

They tell us Marshall is Mary’s best friend & she is his, that he’s “the one that gets her.” In the pilot, I kept waiting for a last scene where Marshall does end up getting Mary a birthday gift, which, of course, turns out to be the one gift she actually likes. But it never happened. When they made it a point to say that he isn’t Mary’s assistant, that he has cases & witnesses of his own, I thought it meant we’d see an episode on one of them, or at least one where he’s doing more than Mary’s grunt work. But 3 episodes in, we haven’t. In fact, all we have seen of Marshall is him fawning over Mary, like every other guy on this show. It’s a shame, since the show’s best moments, predictably, have been his. To me, what the pilot episode—& for that matter, what all of the first 3 episodes—lacked was the moment where you realize why it is he puts up with her, when she never thinks of him, or anyone but herself.

All in all, it’s a harmless summer show & I’ll probably keep watching, at least until Burn Notice & The Closer start up again. USA, we want more Marshall & less Mary. Get on that, please.

EDITED AFTER TONIGHT’S EPISODE: This was probably the best episode so far. They did a lot of what I’ve been asking for, particularly demonstrating how Marshall’s walking encyclopedia trait helps their team & having Marshall call Mary out on never thinking of anyone else. I was disappointed to hear her say she didn’t respect Marshall at the beginning of the episode. To me, it makes me lose a little more hope in the character. But I almost feel like Marshall’s realizing that he isn’t content with his role might signal a turn for the better for this character & this show. I’m feeling optimistic. And they’ve bought another week from me, at least.


1. Yelta - July 22, 2008

Right on, the show is not to bad I kind of like it but I am another one who can’t figure out why the male cast fawns over this woman, are they trying to make me think she’s sexy? Try again. I think that Nichole Hiltz should be in the lead, at least then I could understand the guys would want to bed her. I think the review by Amy Yen says it all.

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