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In Plain Sight: Who Shot Jay Arnstein

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 30th 2008 11:23AM
In Plain Sight: Who Shot Jay Arnstein(S01E05) It was the best of In Plain Sight, it was the less than best of In Plain Sight. For starters, the only carry-over from the previous episode was Marshall's arm in a sling. Hey, what about his nearly dying and Mary's emotional breakdown in the waiting room? The lack of follow-through was stunning.

Granted, this show isn't a serial, but I did expect at least a moment between Mary and Marshall that would connect back beyond her quip in the art gallery. It was too glib. Would it have killed them to have a moment? I can imagine a fight in the writer's room over this point and keeping it light and unemotional won.

I liked the case this week, although once again, is Witness Protection really this amenable? When art dealers with shady dealings Jay and Marcie are put into the program, Jay arranges for his mistress to also be WITSEC'ed. Are you kidding me?

Maybe this really happens all the time, but if so, why are my tax dollars paying for three people when only two are really in danger? It was funny, though, when Jay asked Mary to break up with Kay for him, taking his mistress out of the system so he could commit to his wife!

This is the first episode since the pilot to involve a mystery -- the title of the show, Who Shot Jay Arnstein? -- and it was great to see Mary investigating rather than just babysitting. I like her interaction with Bobby D. and the scene where they get caught in the gallery when it's torched was excellent. The snappy dialog, the danger element, it all worked. I loved that Mary couldn't unlock the fire door and after telling Bobby not to shoot out the lock, she does it anyway and it works.

Sherry Stringfield as Marcie was a plus. She's a familiar face -- ER, NYPD Blue -- and you automatically feel for her as the wronged wife. Also, she could have been the shooter because, after all, she's the guest star. But the thing about Sherry is she can play it soft and vulnerable, they let off a wicked line. When she realizes that Mary, whom she trusted as her handler and the person who helped her with Jay was in on the deception, she cuts Mary with a single word, "Liar."

The key to the plot was wood -- poplar versus cottonwood -- and it was cool that Marshall pointed it out. Like Monk or Columbo, Marshall is sneaky smart. The suspects, naturally, were fairly obvious, especially the artist. Why was he even at the gallery in the first place if he was banging Marcie and didn't want Jay to know? Then, on top of that, why did he make a scene by smoking and call attention to himself?

So once Mary puts two and two together, she trapped the killer. You didn't really think that was Jay in the hospital bed, did you? And don't you wonder about the killer coming up with a syringe filled with poison on short notice? How did she do that? Is there an all-night pharmacy that sells that item?

Maybe I'm over-critical, but the ending of the case felt rushed and too neat. Mary's voiceover was used to tie together all the loose ends more than to comment on the action. It should be more of the latter and less of the former. Still in all, I enjoyed the show.

One thing I will say for sure, In Plain Sight has earned a second season.

Other Points of Interest

-- Raph, or Chico as Brandi likes to call him, is back. His career with the Florida Marlins has hit a major roadblock now that he has a torn ACL. Mary sets him up in her living room until he can take care of himself. Mary's to busy to help, but in an ironic twist, Brandi becomes his caretaker. You mean she's not useless?

-- Marshall's prescription for Mary when she's pissed off -- pie. He then answers the phone, "House of Pie." Too bad they didn't say, "The Pie Hole," referring to Pushing Daisies.

-- Great voiceover line when Mary has to accept putting the mistress into the program, "Funny how mortgage payments and the desire not to eat cat food can get between a person and their principals."

-- "You're the glue that held us together," Marcie tells Mary. Mary's response, "Just call me Elmer."

-- Mary admits to Marcie that she felt bad about lying to her. Marcie's answer was choice: "Geez, I am so sorry. It never occurred to me that helping my husband cheat on me would make you feel bad. Wow, I must be a really selfish bitch!" Door slammed in Mary's face. Ouch.

-- Brandi finds the engagement ring in Raph's suitcase. Later, she wisely tells Mary that if she doesn't watch it, someone as great as Raph won't hang around. Was she showing an interest in him herself?

-- Mary looked really great in the little black dress. Bobby D tells her, "It's a good thing you're hot." Mary acts surprised like she doesn't know -- come on.

-- If Marcie and Jay were in the art business in New York and had to go into WITSEC because international art baddies are after them, why would WITSEC let them open another art gallery in New Mexico? Would that be a big flag?

-- It's about time a witness had the hots for Marshall. Kay was definitely intrigued with Marshall. He went all enigmatic on her, then explained entropy to her. Good Marshall stuff.

-- No Jinx this week. I didn't miss her. At least Brandi showed some humanity this week, but Mary's family is still the show's weak link.

-- Another weak link is Stan. This character is just a plot device. He just moves the story forward, that's it.

-- Liked the art class with the nude model, "What does he make an hour? Or does he charge by the foot?"
How many stars would you give this episode?
Four stars - the best7 (6.3%)
Three stars - very good75 (67.0%)
Two stars - so-so24 (21.4%)
One star - forgettable6 (5.4%)

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Mary is hot, hot, hot.

July 01 2008 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Am I the only one who is distracted by her upper lip? I keep staring at it; so much so that I miss most of the episode...

She was beautiful before Botox, does she actually think she looks better now? Sigh...

June 30 2008 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rick's comment

Her upper lip has caught my attention. However she is a hottie!

Now a question for anyone who knows. Did't she play Howard Stern's wife in the TV movie about his life?

July 01 2008 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hmm, after last week's emotional intensity, this week was a bit of a letdown. Although I had initially wanted some type of bedside continuation, considering how intense last week was and the type of people Mary & Marshall are, it wasn't necessary and I can see them getting on with their lives.

Brandi was a little annoying this week. When the writers tone down their personalities I can handle them i.e. J's bonding with R and Jinx's jewelry store breakdown. Since Monk & Sean of Psych are their own laughtracks, I can see the writers believing Mary's straight man requires comic relief, but her boss & Marshall are pretty entertaining. Plus, I Love Bobby D :)

On the hotness, I can see Mary not realizing it. Although she uses her sexuality for work & for Raph, amidst a family of girly girls she's clearly a guy's girl -

June 30 2008 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

Because Raph was involved, I watched the Brandi scenes this time. In that context, she was bearable. Having no Jinx around certainly helped a lot.

I probably should have re-watched the opening, but wasn't Jay Arnstein his original name? So why did the Feds allow him to use it again in New Mexico, besides having his own gallery? It said J. Arnstein Gallery on the walls - or was that his new WITSEC name and I missed what the original was?

It'll be easy to get rid of Jinx and Brandi when the time comes - have them go into the program somewhere else once Brandi's coke deal blows up in her face. and Jinx will probably blame Mary and go with her other daughter into hiding.

June 30 2008 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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