Who Ya Gonna Call? The US Marshals!

It’s June, which can only mean two things. Well, three if you count Father’s Day. But I’m not here to discuss my woes with trying to figure out what my dad wants but won’t say he wants. No, what I’m here to talk about is In Plain Sight, which premiered last night. And of course the second thing, which I have to mention, is the fact that Law & Order: Criminal Intent will be back June 8th on the USA Network. But I really want to talk about In Plain Sight so I’ll save my L&O:CI squeeing until next week. (Yes, I totally squee over Law & Order. Deal with it.)

I’ve been seeing ads for In Plain Sight for a few months now and I must admit I’ve been intrigued. I’m a sucker for police procedurals, especially if they can straddle the line between drama and comedy. Law & Order: Criminal Intent is mostly drama, but Goren manages to lighten it up some. In the original Law & Order the character Lennie Brisco had a very dry sardonic wit that marked Jerry Orbach‘s years on the show and made him a fan favorite. On the lighter side Psych is almost all comedy, relying more on laughs than any heavy-hitting dramatic action. I’ve been wondering exactly where this newest show would fit in – or if it even would – among my favorite police and investigative shows. Last night the pilot finally aired on USA and today I was able to sit down and decide if it’s a show I’ll continue to follow or not.

The general idea of the show is that Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) is a US marshal assigned to the witness protection program along with her partner, Marshall Mann (that’s right, Marshal Marshall). It takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and follows Mary in her adventures protecting those people who’ve been put into the position of having to disappear.

Mary McCormack does a decent job as the tough deputy marshal Mary Shannon that is very good at what she does dealing with other people’s lives, but is not so good at dealing with her own life. Her inner monologues give you a glimpse into what is going on in her head and provides a surprisingly stark contrast to the persona she projects when she’s on the job. Which in itself makes the show all the more funny when you realize one of her co-workers has a crush on her and keeps buying her girly things for her birthday, prompting Marshall to remark “Do you even know Mary?”

Fred Weller as Marshall Mann is a good straight-man to McCormack’s somewhat neurotic, take-charge Mary. So far we haven’t gotten to really see them work together, but given some of the comments made in the show I think it’s a fair assumption that Marshall and Mary have been working together for at least long enough that Marshall knows what not to get Mary for any of the big gift-giving holidays (to include her birthday).

There were some laugh-out-loud moments in the pilot, but I think the show is still finding its feet and deciding exactly where it wants to plant them. There is no doubt this show is a comedy; it definitely has that vibe and I doubt it would be anywhere near as interesting if it was written as a straight cop drama. At this point it feels like the writers are trying to decide exactly how much comedy-to-drama mix to throw in. All in all I’d have to say it’s not a bad first effort and I will definitely continue to watch.

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