Posted: 05/29/2008


In Plain Sight


by Annie Vinton

Premieres June 2nd on USA.

Film Monthly Home
Wayne Case
Steve Anderson
The Rant
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
The Indies
Film Noir
Coming Soon
Now Playing
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Interviews TV

USA’s new series In Plain Sight will prove to be a satisfactory diversion from the television network summer schedules packed with repeats.

The opening of the show is reminiscent of other crime dramas, with the tense first few minutes playing out a scene identifying the protagonist and antagonist for that show. However, this is where the similarities end and the differences begin. In Plain Sight balances the depth of its storylines exploring the complexities of its new ancillary characters each week while intertwining the dichotomy of the personal and professional life of lead character Mary Shannon.

Mary Shannon is introduced within the first few minutes of the program. She is a U.S. Marshal assigned to Albuquerque, New Mexico and her job, along with her cleverly named sidekick Marshall Mann, is to find safe haven for those entering the Federal Witness Protection Program as part of the WITSEC. It quickly becomes evident that she has a tough exterior as she’s comfortable with feisty confrontations demonstrated by her interactions with criminals, judges and co-workers. We also learn of her soft interior as she goes above the call of action with the unfortunate souls she’s relocating becoming a mother, friend, sister, therapist and protector.

The other side of Mary is revealed when we’re introduced to her family and very attractive and sexy boyfriend. They’re all unaware of the real nature of her job and because of this they’re unable understand why her work is so important to her and why she needs to be other places at strange hours of the day. Mary in her personal life also wears many hats as a friend, sister, therapist, protector and most noticeably, enabler. In both lives, she forgets to nurture herself.

Mary’s sister and mother, both due to extenuating circumstances have landed on her doorstep and when they’re introduced it’s clear they’ve overstayed their welcome.

Her mother, Jinx, is most comfortable with a drink in one hand and a low life man in the other; and her sister Brandi is a wayward soul trying to find her calling, struggling between good and evil. In the meantime, the two of them keep one another company poolside. The viewer should expect to see more of Jinx and Mary as they both have options to better their lives or dive deeper into despair. Jinx will try her luck at becoming a cosmetic saleswoman and Brandi will struggle with the decision to partner with her ex-con boyfriend in NJ who’s left a suitcase full of meth in her care or to find a legitimate job.

Mary’s boyfriend Raphael appears to be the most stable character of them all. He’s a minor league ball player and although Mary sees him more as an on and off again fling, he has deeper feelings and does his best to unpeel her layers to get to get inside her heart and head. Surprisingly, he is the voice of reason and link between these three diverse women.

The show’s characters are real, flawed people navigating their way through the days with witty one liners and humor with the support of those around them, no matter what their plight in life is. The legal lingo and logistics play backdrop to the poignancy and real life stories taking place.

In Plain Sight is worth a first sight for all.

The premiere is this Sunday, June 2nd on USA at 10pm ET.

Annie Vinton is a freelance writer and film critic living in NYC. You can read more about her and her writing at her blog here.

Got a problem? E-mail us at