In Plain Sight: Season 2
DVD | Box Set
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For Mary, living a double life is all in day’s work. Mary McCormack (The West Wing) returns as Mary Shannon, a U.S. Marshal with the highly secretive Federal Witness Protection Program (WITSEC), in Season Two of the suspenseful and quirky hit series In Plain Sight. For Mary, living a double life and getting shot at on a regular basis are all in day’s work. So are teaming up with her trusted partner, Marshall Mann (Frederick Weller), to protect Federal Witnesses who relocate to Albuquerque and juggling a complicated personal life. Gripping and refreshing, In Plain Sight co-stars Lesley Ann Warren (Desperate Housewives), Paul Ben-Victor (The Wire) and Nichole Hiltz (Bones), and features phenomenal guest stars that include Will McCormack (Brothers and Sisters), Martin Landau (Entourage), Laura Prepon (That '70s Show), Joshua Malina (The West Wing), Richard Schiff (The West Wing) and David Denman (The Office). Get lost In Plain Sight!
After closing its debut season on a harrowing note, the crime drama In Plain Sight returns for a sophomore season filled with the same clever scripting and sharp performances built around its unique blend of action and dysfunctional family dynamics. Mary McCormack is again the short-fused, acid-tongued glue that holds the program and its cast of eccentrics together; having recovered physically, if not entirely in an emotional sense, from the kidnapping that ended the show's first season, her Mary Shannon, U.S. Marshal with the Federal Witness Security Program, returns to the double rigors of her job and her contentious family. Neither side gives her much time to breathe in season 2; Mary's cases with loyal partner Marshall (Fred Weller) include a persistent rabbi (Richard Schiff, McCormack's former West Wing costar), a witness (David Denman of The Office) who refuses to testify until his missing son is found, an elderly mobster (Martin Landau) who wants to attend his son's funeral, and a pot salesman who cannot appear in court without copious amounts of his own product. Meanwhile, an FBI agent (Will McCormack, Mary's real-life brother) is hell-bent on bringing down her wayward sister Brandi (Nichole Hiltz) for drug trafficking and murder--Brandi was the original target of the men who kidnapped Mary and killed two federal agents in the first-season closer. Add to the mix Mary's mom (the terrific Lesley Ann Warren), who's struggling with recovery from drinking, plus relationship troubles with boyfriend Raph (Cristián de la Fuente) and new office manager Eleanor (Holly Maples, wife of series creator David Maples), who clashes with Mary at every turn, and the result is another collection of smartly written and frequently exciting episodes that, in many ways, surpasses the best of the first season, even in its closing cliffhanger. Said wrap-out was one of many controversies that swirled around the show in season 2; clashes with the network over the handling of the finale led to Maples and co-executive producer Paul Stupin--the show's guiding forces--leaving the program, which was then re-tooled to focus more on Mary's work and less on her family. It's an unfortunate decision that robs the show of much of its color, so fans should appreciate what they can of that combination here.
DVD extras on the three-disc set include commentary tracks for three episodes; Maples and Stupin are featured on "In My Humboldt Opinion," where they recap in detail their history of working on the show, as well as their appreciation for the cast. McCormack and Weller handle two episodes--"A Frond in Need" and "Who's Bugging Mary"--with a lighter touch that focuses on their performances. Deleted scenes for eight episodes are actually moments that could have fit well into their respective shows, rather than the extraneous material that usually ends up on the editing room floor, while the gag reel combines the usual flubs with some moments of genuine humor. --Paul Gaita
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The show follows the professional and personal life of Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack). Mary works for the Albuquerque branch of WITSEC, the US government witness protection program. Mary's partner at work is Marshall Mann (Fred Weller), and their boss is Stan McQueen (Paul Ben-Victor). On the personal front, Mary has her hands full with her alcoholic mother Jinx (Lesley Ann Warren) and her flaky sister Brandi (Nichole Hiltz). Also in the juggling act of Mary's life is her steady boyfriend Raphael (Cristian de la Fuente).
Most of the episodes revolve around some mystery happening to Mary's newest witness, with a secondary story about her personal life. Over the course of the season, she needs to get a witness to overcome his reliance on pot to testify in court, protect a witness trapped by a falling building, protect a man determined to prove he wasn't responsible for a bridge that collapsed, and protect a Latin America political activist who doesn't want to play by the rules. This leads to a major cliffhanger we've been waiting almost a year to see how will be resolved. (Okay, so we know how at least part of it will come together....)
One of my biggest complaints about the first season was Mary's home life. While not abandoning the stories they created for these characters, they have managed to turn things around. Jinx was only around about half the season because she voluntarily checked herself into rehab. While Brandi's attempts to make a major drug deal in the first season continue to have repercussions, she turns her life around as well. Things even out with Raphael, which makes me happy because I love his character. And these characters do much to balance out Mary. She is so confident at work, but dealing with those she loves proves she isn't nearly as put together as she would lead others to believe.
They also gave Mary a new foil at work. The department grows to a fourth person with the addition of Eleanor Prince (Holly Maples) as the administrative assistant. She doesn't take any of Mary's gruff like the men in the office do, but she is right there when Mary's needs help. She did much to soften Mary this season. Mary can be obnoxiously blunt, but having another character who gives as good as she gets puts Mary in her place at times.
While few of these stories are edge of your seat action, they are all compelling. Most of the time, the characters are only around for one episode, but they are still sympathetic enough that we truly do care about the outcome. The stories have as much human drama as action since these people have had to leave everything behind in an effort to stay alive.
Thanks in large part to Mary's wit, we do get some nice laughs along the way. This isn't a comedy, but it isn't as dark as it could be either thanks to a laugh or two per episode.
All of the characters are flawed in one way or another, and the actors do a good job of playing all the aspects of their characters. Even when they are annoying me, I can't fault how the actors are playing it. The guest stars always bring their characters to life, making it easy to care how their story will turn out after only a few minutes.
The DVD set contains all 15 episodes from the second season on three discs in full surround sound and wide screen. Extras include the almost standard gag reel, deleted scenes, and commentaries on a few select episodes.
In Plain Sight got stronger with season two. Instead of no longer watching the show, I am really looking forward to seeing what happens next to the characters as the show progresses.