One of the things about traditional TV procedurals is that no matter how many horrible things happen to our heroes — no matter how many dismembered bodies they find, no matter how many killer get the jump on them — they’re back on the job the next week, either unchanged or doing a great job of pretending that nothing changed (at least until sweeps rolls around and we learn they’re nursing an addiction to painkillers or something).
That isn’t the case with USA’s “In Plain Sight,” which returns for its second season on Sunday night. In the waning episodes of the first season, Mary McCormack’s U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon was kidnapped and, in the process of escaping, had to take another life. Yes, that’s the sort of thing a one-dimensional character would shake off, but not Mary.
“I love that [series creator] David Maples didn”t do that,” McCormack tells reporters on a recent conference call. “I mean, TV shows still do that like season-to-season like the last season never happened. But I love that. I mean, I saw evidence of that even in the first season when [Fred Weller’s] Marshall… got shot. The next episode I was so relieved to see him show up in the sling because, you know, even though it was a small thing and I think he only wore it for one or two episodes I just thought oh good we”re going to do an adult show; that”s so great, so refreshing.”
So that means that as Season Two begins — with an episode titled “Gilted Lily” — Mary is still on administrative leave and that she’s still suffering from what USA describes as “her own brand of Post-Traumatic-Stress.”
“[I]t”s one of the nice things about David Maples is that he… refused to write things sort of two-dimensional,” McCormack says, again praising the series mastermind. “You know, there”s a lot of talk about Mary Shannon being a bad ass and, you know, and all that. And I of course love that part of her, I mean, I love that I get to sort of kick ass sometimes and, you know, carry a gun and stuff. But I love that David also refuses not to look at the flip side of what carrying a gun means and being a bad ass means. And, you know, it”s not bad ass to kill somebody, it sucks. And then it”s horrible for you probably for the rest of your life. And I just think it”s wonderful that he makes the show sort of adult enough to acknowledge that, you know?”
She adds, “She thinks initially that she”s doing really, really well and then it turns out she”s, you know, more human than she hoped.”
While “In Plain Sight” had its share of dramatic moments last season, what with the suitcases of crystal meth and the general family dysfunction, it also had a stream of superior guest stars who were, as often as not, funny and eccentric. Among the actors confirmed for guest spots in Season Two are Clarke Peters (“The Wire”), Kevin Rankin (“Friday Night Lights”), Liza Weil (“Gilmore Girls”), Sarah Drew (“Everwood”), Cynthia Watros (“Lost”) and Richard Schiff (“The West Wing”). Laura Prepon and Joshua Malina are also set for recurring roles.
Of course, “In Plain Sight” is still mostly about Mary and her various strained and complicated relationships. McCormack is quick to acknowledge that she has a lot in common with her character.
“[J]ust in her tone and her sensibility, her sense of humor is very similar I think to me and her to mine,” she says. “And also I don”t know, I think even just crazy little ways like the character being named Mary before, I mean, it wasn”t written for me at all, he just wrote it as a Mary. And she”s from New Jersey and I”m from New Jersey and there”s a million little things that just – I”m a tomboy, pretty much, I”m more comfortable in jeans and boots than, you know, so it”s just a very comfortable fit.”
Oh and yes, Mary/Marshall ‘shippers, the new season will have plenty more hints at romance, or at least one-sided romance.
“[T]he clues we”re getting is that there”s definitely a deep, deep intimacy, you know, between them and it”s mutual and it”s an affection which is mutual and respect which is mutual,” McCormack explains. “And that”s a lot of things to make a relationship. So it”s just sort of like they missed that moment or it didn”t seem like the right type for each other, and so now it”s become this other thing which is taboo; you never – you never sleep – or kiss your partner. I mean, you just don”t even – you don”t even think about them that way, you know, you don”t allow it so – or you try not to allow it. So, I don”t know, we”ll have to see where it goes. It”s definitely still a storyline this season that you see played with a lot, like toyed with a lot. And, you know, you see Fred”s reaction to my relationship with Raphael developing and that develops a lot and that becomes really fun to watch I think.”
“In Plain Sight” returns to USA on Sunday, April 19 at 10 p.m. ET.
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