In Plain Sight: More Mama Drama

In Plain Sight’s U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon played by Mary McCormack
In Plain Sight’s U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon played by Mary McCormack
(Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the past two episodes of USA Network’s In Plain Sight!)












Nichole Hiltz plays sister Brandi and Lesley Ann Warren plays mother Jinx Shannon
With sister Brandi and mother Jinx, it’s always something…until now.
We all love Mary Shannon, (Mary McCormack) the tough, caustic United States Marshal serving in the WITSEC (witness protection) program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During seasons one through three of In Plain Sight, without missing a beat as the best WITSEC Inspector ever, Mary managed to hold her topsy-turvy family together by relentlessly challenging their conduct but always helping them when they got into serious trouble. By the end of season three, Mary has helped her mother, Jinx, (Lesley Ann Warren)  and her sister, Brandi (Nichole Hiltz) mainstream their behavior until they seem, well, normal, which leaves Mary with no one to fix; no one who needs her care.

Several weeks ago, season four opened with an excellent show. Mary gets a bit distracted from her WITSEC duties because her sister, Brandi, is accused of grand theft auto. But, hey, we fans are used to a Brandi problem every few episodes, so we’re not surprised when, with the help of a WITSEC witness’s criminal expertise, Mary proves that Brandi is innocent. And in a major change, Mary’s partner Marshal Marshall Mann (Frederick Weller) finally quit mooning over Mary and seems happy dating a lively and pretty detective on the Albuquerque PD.

The next few episodes focus more on the witnesses than on Mary. There is a father/son problem; a Romeo and Juliet problem, and even a beauty pageant problem. Mary and Marshall, along with their boss, Stan McQueen, (Paul Ben-Victor) deal with every expected and unexpected problem with professional ease, lots of banter, and an occasional screw-up. Then, in episode five, Brandi, who has been super good until now, invites Mary’s ex-husband, Mark (Bryan Callen) for a visit. (Didn’t know Mary had an ex? Neither did I.) Mary and the ex have a grand old time, until she realizes he is the snake he has always been, and she tosses him before the final credits.

If you are having trouble accepting Temperance Brennan’s pregnancy on Bones, you may have a problem with this:

Episode six opens with Mary just back in Albuquerque from a six-week tour training new marshals. Mary, Marshall and Stan work hard to save two Amish witnesses. At the very end of the show, Mary tells Marshall that—KABOOM!—she is pregnant by her ex. Marshall says he’s already guessed she is pregnant by the look of her (with a meaningful nod to her chest) and asks what she’s going to do. So, we all waited a breathless week.

Mary McCormack as U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon
Mary McCormack as U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon: Protecting and relocating a baby?
This past Sunday night, episode seven was centered on a witness with a serious health problem and some family battles. But I was more concerned about Mary. I watched her dive and roll across a street to save a child from an oncoming car. I wanted to smack her when she got furious at Marshall for telling her she has to see a doctor and should take better care of herself. Her anger dissipates when she realizes that he is determined to help her through the pregnancy and she swears him to secrecy, but not before he reminds her that her job as an expectant mother is the same as her job as a WITSEC Inspector. She need only “protect and relocate.”

I can’t wait for next Sunday night.


For more discussion of your favorite crime shows, check out our TV Crime feature.

Terrie blogs at Women of Mystery.  One of her recent short stories can be found in the anthology Crimes By Moonlight, and “For Keepsies” can be read at Beat To A Pulp webzine.


  1. bungluna

    I never thought of Marshall as mooning over Mary. In fact, I’ve always liked this show in part because they had a personal and professional relationship that didn’t revolve around the dreaded ‘will-they-won’t-they’ tease that seems to infect almost every male/female pairing on tv. BTW, love this show.

  2. bitsy08

    I loved it when Marshall says to Mary – We’re going to have a baby. She says – We? He says – trust me, Mary. As your partner, if you’re going to have a baby, We’re going to have a baby. And yes, Marshall was mooning over Mary but I don’t know if this relationship with the Albequerque detective is going to last. It seems to me that she wants it more than he.

  3. Jennifer

    Man, I hate it when actresses playing childfree (or terminally single) characters get pregnant and then they have to do stuff like this in the plot. Argh. This is so wrong.

  4. Terrie Farley Moran

    @bugluna, I love this show, too. And while, as you say, the show doesn’t “revolve around the dreaded ‘will-they-won’t-they’ tease that seems to infect almost every male/female pairing on tv,” it always seemed clear to me that Marshall has a yen for Mary, but I agree, it doesn’t overpower their relationship. @bitsy08, that exchange between Marshall and Mary is one of the best! We’ll see what happens but I don’t see the detective as a lasting love interest either.

  5. Terrie Farley Moran

    @Jennifer, nature will not be denied. As early as the late 1940s in the show Mary Kay and Johnny, the star got pregnant and the pregnancy was incorporated into the show. a few years later in the 1950s when more Americans had televisions, Lucy Ball’s pregnancy on the I Love Lucy show was a much heralded event. The difference here as you rightly point out is that the current crop of tv moms-to-be are independent women not in formal relationships. Times have changed both on and off the small screen.

  6. Terrie Farley Moran

    Hi All, I found an article on which quotes Mary McCormack in speaking about Mary Shannon’s pregnancy. Here is what she had to say: [quote][quote][quote]”Jeff Wachtel, the president of the network, said, ‘It’s season four—it’s exactly when you want a show to have a big shakeup. It’s when a show’s character should be forced to change. Otherwise everyone gets bored.’ I think he was right. It’s a really nice opportunity to show what women go through. Women who are passionate about their work—how do you reconcile loving your work and loving your job and watching your body change and not knowing if it’s something you’re totally comfortable with? A lot of women I think can relate to that.” [/quote][/quote][/quote]

  7. Mary Saputo

    Lord, I can’t imagine Mary with a baby but I really look forward to how she’s going to relate. This should be really funny!

  8. Terrie Farley Moran

    @bitsy08, I am right there with you. I cannot imagine Mary interacting with a child. She barely relates to adults. Still, mother love is a marvelous thing. I hope the show has fun with the concept.

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